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BANKRUPTCY & REORGANIZATION 2018-09-11T12:30:29+00:00

BANKRUPTCY & REORGANIZATION

ANAND LAW is a “debt relief agency” as that term is defined under section 101 of the United States Bankruptcy Code (title 11 of the United States Code). We help individuals and small businesses file for bankruptcy protection and reorganize under Chapters 7, 11, and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

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An Adversary Proceeding (“AP”) is a full federal lawsuit, that is connected to a bankruptcy case, and in other ways similar to a normal lawsuit with discovery, motions and trial.   A Motion may be brought to request certain relief, and in other instances an AP is required.  Rule 7001 Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (“FRBP”) lists several categories which require an AP and can’t be brought by motion, and then there are exceptions to these categories.  Anand Law handles APs on behalf of  both Plaintiffs and Defendants, including but not limited to, suits related to fraud/misrepresentation, violations of lending laws, wrongful foreclosure, breach of fiduciary duty, and willful and malicious injury. 
Yes.  In general, in a Chapter 11, you can remove fully unsecured liens from properties that are not your primary residence.  Also, generally, you can ‘cram down’ undersecured liens from properties that are not your primary residence.  ‘Cramming down’ refers to reducing the amount of the lien to the market value (i.e. removing the portion of the lien that is unsecured).  Liens that may be removed or crammed down include mortgage, HELOC (home equity line of credit), HOA (Homeowners’ Association), and judgment.
Yes.  In general, in a Chapter 13, you can remove fully unsecured liens from your primary residence .  Unsecured liens that may be removed include mortgage, HELOC (home equity line of credit), HOA (Homeowners’ Association), and judgment.
Yes.  However, Court approval may be required, disclosure to the Court is always required, and depending on a variety of factors, any money earned may need to be paid to creditors.
Rule 3007 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (“FRBP”) requires an objection to be “filed and served at least 30 days before any scheduled hearing on the objection or any deadline for the claimant to request a hearing.” In addition to the FRBP, the Local Rules must also be complied with.  The Local Bankruptcy Rules (LBR) also require 30 days notice.  See LBR 3007-1(b).  Each Judge also has their own so-called “Local Local Rules,” and compliance with these is also required.

An objection may be filed as a Motion or an Adversary Proceeding (“AP”), but compliance with other rules is required, and in certain instances an AP is required.  One such instance is “a proceeding to determine the validity, priority, or extent of a lien or other interest in property” (see FRBP 7001(2)).  

‘Cramming down’ refers to reducing the amount of the lien to the market value (i.e. removing the portion of the lien that is unsecured).  Liens that may be crammed down include mortgage, HELOC (home equity line of credit), HOA (Homeowners’ Association), and judgment.

This depends on a variety of factors, including what your score currently is, what chapter you file for, and if you successfully complete your bankruptcy.  While filing for bankruptcy may lower a credit score, it will not necessarily do so. In fact, if you already have a low credit score, filing can actually increase your score, especially after successful completion of a Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy plan in which you pay off some of your debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can also, in certain instances, increase a low credit score, after successful discharge.  It is also important to know that you can always re-build your credit after bankruptcy, and ANAND LAW can guide you on how to do so.

In order to understand the unpredictability of how bankruptcy may affect your credit score, it is helpful to understand how credit scores are calculated.

CALCULATION OF YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Credit bureaus (also known as “credit reporting agencies”) act an intermediary between consumers, businesses and lenders.  The credit bureaus collect data from various sources, and then use this data to create your credit score.  The bureaus use third-party companies, each who employ their own methodology, to calculate these scores.

THE MAJOR CREDIT BUREAUS AND SCORING AGENCIES

There are dozens of credit reporting agencies, but the three national agencies that a majority of lenders and businesses use are Experian, Equifax, and Transunion.  Similarly, there are many credit scoring companies, but the two most common are FICO and VantageScore.  Experian Equifax and Transunion came together to create VantageScore, and all continue to use them to generate credit scores.

The credit scores are based on how the various data collected interacts with each other.  There are approximately 220 million consumers that credit reports have been created for, and approximately 36 billion pieces of credit data utilized in credit reports every year to create the credit scores (source: VantageScore).

The exact methodology used is complicated and uncertain, but factors include: payment history with lenders, banks, and credit card companies; amounts owed; length of delinquencies; length of accounts in good standing; and, types of credit being used.  Scores from each bureau may differ for a variety of reasons, including the timing of the data provided.

IMPROVING YOUR CREDIT SCORE

Regardless of the credit bureau (e.g., Experian, Equifax, or Transunion), or the scoring agency (e.g., FICO or VantageScore), you can improve your credit score, no matter how bad it is, and no matter the reason for it being low (whether due to bad payment history, repossessions, judgments, liens, foreclosure, or other).  In general, you can improve your credit score by using credit (e.g., through a credit card, line of credit, or loan), and paying bank all use of that credit on time.  The longer you consistently pay on time, and the higher the amount of credit being used, the better your credit score will be.  You can re-establish your credit even after repossessions, judgments, liens, or foreclosure by maintaining a pattern of using credit and repaying the lender timely.  There are lenders willing to extend credit to nearly anyone, regardless of their score, and even lenders that extend credit to individuals in active bankruptcy proceedings.  However, it is important to note that, in general, the lower your credit score, the more it will cost to obtain the credit (i.e., the higher interest rate you will receive)–this makes it even more critical that you pay on time.  The bottom line is that it is not hopeless–with some patience and organization to manage your finances, you can re-establish and build your credit score.

If due to lower income or other unforeseen circumstances that can be documented, the plan can be amended. If the plan is less than 60 months, it can be extended to allow for missed payments to be made up.
Typically, debtors in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are able to keep property that is exempt, fully encumbered with debt, and property that has no value or cannot be sold.

Exempt property is property (up to a certain value) that a creditor cannot take. California has two sets of exemptions and the Bankruptcy Code also includes a set.

Fully encumbered property is property that has liens or mortgages which are equal or greater to the value of the property. The trustee does not want this property because they will not make any money after selling the property and paying off the liens. You may keep this property as long as you are current on payments. If not, the creditor will take the property.

The fact that you have filed a bankruptcy will not prevent you from getting credit. While you should expect getting credit to be more difficult and expensive, there are actually many lenders that target people recently discharged from a bankruptcy since they have no other debt, are ready to establish their credit and they can’t file for bankruptcy any time soon.