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    What to Bring to Your First Meeting with a Bankruptcy Lawyer

    Last updated 10 months ago

    The bankruptcy process involves at least one appearance in court as well as a great deal of paperwork. For this reason, attaining counsel is essential to getting the most out of your debt discharge filing.

    When first meeting with a bankruptcy attorney, you will want to bring account statements that properly illustrate your financial situation. These include tax returns, pay stubs, garnishment papers, credit card statements, and bank account information. Without fully understanding your unique mix of secured and unsecured loans, a lawyer cannot devise a strategy that will net you the largest discharge possible.

    The Golden State Law Group is a San Diego-based law firm whose attorneys have been helping Californians of all income levels file for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy for more than three decades. If you are thinking about a debt discharge, call (858) 240-2480 to consult with a member of our staff. Depending on your situation, we can work out a favorable payment plan and begin your case with little money down.

    Rebuilding Your Credit Following Bankruptcy

    Last updated 10 months ago

    Many Americans are hesitant to file for bankruptcy because they fear the effect it may have on their credit score. However, many filers may actually see their scores rise as a result of a debt discharge. This video explains the steps you should take when you are looking to rebuild your credit.

    First, it is important to contact each credit-reporting agency by mail to receive your credit score and credit history. Next, go through the report to ensure that everything is completely accurate. If you notice any mistakes, alert the agencies and let them know right away. Finally, consider obtaining a secured credit card to begin building your post-discharge payment history.

    Are you an Escondido, Chula Vista, or San Diego resident in need of legal advice about bankruptcy? If so, call (858) 240-2480 to talk to a member of the experienced team at the Golden State Law Group. We have locations all over Southern California, so call us today to schedule a free case evaluation.

    Signs Your Creditors Are Violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

    Last updated 10 months ago

    If you owe money to credit card companies, you may face threatening phone calls from debt collection agencies trying to recover their money. Fortunately for consumers, Congress passed a law that protects individuals from harassment by collection agencies. This bill is known as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and it allows victims to sue aggressive companies. The following are a number of red flags that may indicate that your creditor is violating the law when attempting to collect debt.

    False Statements

    The collection agency is not allowed to misrepresent who they are or why they are calling. This includes lying about the amount of money you owe, pretending to be a law enforcement official, or impersonating an attorney. Any and all of these can give a debtor grounds to sue the debt collector for economic and emotional damages.

    Threats or Profanity

    Debt collectors are prohibited from threatening or cursing at individuals they call on the phone or speak to in person. Similarly, the companies cannot threaten violence or imprisonment for continued nonpayment of debt. These legal restraints are meant to curb harassment from aggressive collection agencies looking to receive money by any means necessary.

    Disclosing Your Debt to a Third Party

    Your debt is private information. A creditor or collection agent is prohibited from speaking about the amount you owe to your boss or relatives. If the resulting situation causes you to lose your job, you may have a legal claim against the collection agency for financial damages. Every debt situation is different, so it is essential to consult an experienced attorney in your area as soon as you believe that a creditor has overstepped the law.

    Each state has federal and local regulations that protect consumers from harassing creditors. If you live in San Diego and want to speak to a skilled attorney, look no further than Golden State Law Group. We offer free consultations to all first-time clients, so call (858) 240-2480 to learn how we can help you hold creditors accountable under all relevant laws.

    Answers to Common Questions About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

    Last updated 10 months ago

    Declaring bankruptcy is a big decision. Individuals who are looking to file for Chapter 7 may have a number of doubts about the process. Only a skilled bankruptcy attorney can help you determine whether your specific situation merits filing the requisite paperwork. However, here are some general answers to some of the most common questions about Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

    Can Anyone Qualify for Chapter 7?

    Not all households have the ability to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge. Congress has limited the eligible pool of applicants to individuals who earn less than the average amount of income in their state. This is known as the means test, and is meant to prohibit the top half of earners from declaring bankruptcy. In California, a family of two can earn no more than $63,030, while a family of four cannot exceed $75,656 if filing for Chapter 7 in 2013.

    Can My Creditors Come After Me After a Discharge?

    If you receive a Chapter 7 discharge, you creditors can no longer come after you for the debts you owed to them before the filing. However, some credit collection matters may be proceeding independent of the bankruptcy discharge through third party companies. In this case, a bankruptcy attorney can communicate with all outstanding collection agencies to ensure that the creditor phone calls stop once and for all.

    Can Chapter 7 Also Help Me Avoid Foreclosure?

    A mortgage is a secured loan, which means that it is backed by property. Chapter 7 covers unsecured loans such as credit cards and personal loans. Those lines of credit often carry higher interest rates because they are riskier investments for lenders. A Chapter 7 discharge cannot help you discharge a mortgage, but it will create an automatic stay that will halt all active foreclosure proceedings and buy you time to make up missed payments.

    If you qualify, Chapter 7 can solve many issues brought on by the sluggish economy and slow job growth. The skilled attorneys at Golden State Law Group have more than 35 years of experience helping Californians sort out their finances and discharge bad debt. We have offices in San Diego, Chula Vista, and Escondido; so call (858) 240-2480 to schedule a free case evaluation today.

    What Are Your Rights During the Foreclosure Process?

    Last updated 10 months ago

    Foreclosures are continuing to affect millions of Americans even as the economy begins picking up. Banks are no longer as negligent as they were five years ago, but it is important to remember that the lender cannot break its contact with a borrower in the event of a few missed payments. There are some key debtor rights during the foreclosure process that you should be aware of.

    Receive Notice from Your Lender

    The first and most important right is that debtors must be notified when they miss any payments and when the home begins foreclosure proceedings. Depending on your specific state laws, homeowners may also be entitled to extra protections and more notice when it comes to loan defaults. If your bank has not made you aware of the status of your loan, you may have a legal claim to fight back against the foreclosure process altogether.

    Pay Back Missed Payments

    Another right homeowners may forget that they have is the ability to remedy their missed payments. However, banks are required to let you make up mortgage payments during the months prior to foreclosure. Since many households fall behind on their bills as a result of layoffs or job transitions, the right to pay back the loan can help families keep their homes without beginning foreclosure.

    Invoke an Automatic Stay Through Bankruptcy

    A key right that borrowers often forget is the ability to freeze the foreclosure process when filing for bankruptcy. Households filing for Chapter 13 receive an automatic stay for the collection of any mortgages or foreclosure proceedings before the case goes in front of a judge. This can buy valuable time for struggling families looking to restructure their loans and lower their monthly payments through bankruptcy. 

    State and federal laws hold creditors to high standards during the foreclosure proceedings. If you believe that your bank is not acting in good faith, consult a local attorney as soon as possible. Households in need of California-specific advice should call (858) 240-2480 to reach the skilled legal team at the Golden State Law Group. We offer free no-obligation case evaluations, so call today.

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