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Bankruptcy FAQ

Why Consider Bankruptcy in Los Angeles?


  • You are not making a dent into the balance of your credit cards and cannot afford bigger payments without leaving too little to pay for your basic needs
  • You tried to modify your mortgage but couldn’t and your house will be sold at a foreclosure sale
  • You are contemplating divorce and you have too much debt
  • Filing bankruptcy after divorce may turn some debts non-dischargeable
  • You are recently divorced and alimony or child support doesn’t leave you enough after paying your credit card debt
  • You have more than one loan secured by your home (for example: 80/20 loans or an equity line), but your house is worth a lot less now
  • Since your adjustable rate mortgage increased your monthly payment, you cannot stay current on your credit card debts without risking losing your home
  • You are “robbing Peter to pay Paul”
  • You are considering borrowing against or withdrawing your retirement savings to pay your debt – Don’t waste your hard-earned retirement money it until you consult your bankruptcy attorney
  • Your tax debt is too much to handle and you filed all your income taxes on time or when extensions required it
  • Your wages are being garnished
  • Creditors are filing lawsuits against you
  • You have large hospital debt


When should a business consider Chapter 11 bankruptcy?


  • If recent events interrupted your cash flows and made it difficult to pay back your unsecured debts, but your business model is basically sound and your cash flows will support your business in the future if you only could pay back your unsecured debt over time instead of immediately
  • We have represented Chapter 11 debtors ranging from individuals with several rental properties to businesses generating hundreds of millions in annual revenue


Should I be afraid that my Bankruptcy will not be approved?


  • If you prepare your petition honestly and do not try to take advantage of the system, your attorney can usually tell you before you file whether or not you will discharge all of your debt or will have to pay back some of it
  • A the Orantes Law Firm, we do not judge anybody, we simply prepare your petition honestly and diligently and advocate for you to get you a fresh start in your financial life


Is filing for bankruptcy more difficult now?


  • Although the credit card companies and other creditors convinced Congress to change the bankruptcy laws in 2005, people who were able to file before, can still file. They simply have to satisfy the additional hurdles imposed by the Bush Congress
  • We will guide you through the requirements and make the process seem effortless


Can the Bankruptcy Court modify my home loan?


  • At this time, the answer is no. In April, 2009, Republican Senators, backed by the banking industry, defeated a bill to allow bankruptcy judges to modify home loans
  • Nevertheless, if you have more than one mortgage secured by your home or you have a mortgage and one or more equity lines, you can get a virtual modification. That is, we may be able to eliminate your junior loans if we can establish that the value of your home is less than what you owe on the senior loan(s)
  • Come see us to analyze your situation
  • Don’t wait until the values of homes swing back up. A truism about real estate is that it will always go up in price, the only question is whether you will be alive to see the increase. Recently, signs of recovering from our current economic crisis indicate that many of us will see our property’s values increase. Don’t wait until it is too late


You can file without your spouse

  • If only one spouse owes most or all of the debt, only that spouse can choose to file a petition
  • In certain cases, it may be advantageous to file a Chapter 13 case only for one spouse


Is consolidation or Bankruptcy right for you?


  • Debt consolidation is an alternative to bankruptcy for some people
  • Not everybody can afford the large monthly payments or the harassment that may continue after you sign up for debt consolidation
  • On the other hand, a bankruptcy discharge is backed by an order of the bankruptcy court – which is a federal court and therefore supreme over state courts
  • You should explore both alternatives before making a decision


Do you lose your car in bankruptcy?


  • States have laws that allow most people in bankruptcy to keep all their assets, including their cars
  • If your car is worth less than you owe, it is even easier to keep your car


Do you lose your house in bankruptcy?


  • If you are on time with your obligations on your home, just filing for bankruptcy will not cause you to lose your home
  • If you are late on your mortgage payments and/or property taxes, a Chapter 13 petition may help you save your home
  • As previously explained, you may even be able to get rid of junior loans on your home, which may help you save considerable money


Will Bankruptcy ruin your credit score forever?


  • Not usually – quite the contrary is frequently true
  • Most of the time, your credit score recovers after you get your bankruptcy discharge if you know what to do
  • Getting your discharge usually takes about 4 ½ months after filing a Chapter 7 and upon completion of your plan in a Chapter 13 case
  • Why? Because (1) you owe a lot less than before; and, (2) because you cannot file bankruptcy and wipe out your creditors again for several years, something of which the banks are very aware when looking for customers


Will my employer fire me if he finds out I filed bankruptcy?


  • In fact, federal law forbids your current employer form discriminating against you when you file bankruptcy


Will I be unable to get federally-backed student loans if I file bankruptcy?


  • Like in housing, federal law forbids discrimination against you when getting federal student loans after you file bankruptcy


Anybody can fill out a bankruptcy petition for me


  • Well, as beneficial as a bankruptcy may be for you, the petition process may be complicated if you hire people without the required experience, knowledge and commitment to helping you obtain your discharge


Don’t forget – you usually get what you pay for. It is better to hire a firm that will make the process smoother and make it seem simple than hire a paralegal or inexperienced attorney who may make mistakes in your position and turn the process unfriendly.


Will you have to repay all your debts in a chapter 13 case?


  • At the least, you can freeze the amount of unsecured debts and keep interest from increasing your debt balance
  • Most people need only pay their disposable income to forgive up to $336,900.00 (currently) in unsecured debt
  • For example, if your monthly disposable income is $200, paying $200 per month discharges up to $336,900 in unsecured debt
  • Disposable income is what you have left over after you pay your reasonable living expenses
  • Chapter 13 can help you keep your home or your car if you have fallen behind on your loans but can now afford to make the payments on time
  • Chapter 13 can also discharge more types of taxes than chapter 7 (or 11)


We are not accidental bankruptcy attorneys


  • Mr. Orantes studied bankruptcy law at the UCLA School of Law and clerked for bankruptcy judges after graduation
  • Mr. Orantes enjoys the math involved in bankruptcy – he received a Bachelor’s Degree in Accountancy and took finance courses and advanced calculus in college
  • Mr. Orantes has a thorough electronic law library to answer questions that may arise in your cases


Mr. Orantes can also litigate against anybody?


  • He has deposed tens or hundreds of people
  • He has conducted every phase of litigation cases and even tried jury cases
  • Mr. Orantes can usually tell you ahead of time how likely you are to win your case and is usually right
  • Even though Mr. Orantes enjoys a good challenge, he will always put your best interests first

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