Welcome to the Law Office of Craig E. Dwyer, representing both debtors and creditors in Chapter 7, 11 and 13 Bankruptcy Cases in San Diego, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties since 1977.
I have previously served as a Chapter 7 Trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of California. I understand that filing for bankruptcy is an important decision and one that is to be considered very carefully.
Many times a bankruptcy may not be necessary, if it is possible to be avoided by debt settlement and negotiations. I am also well versed in such matters and would strive to avoid a bankruptcy proceeding, if possible. Sometimes bankruptcy is the only way to proceed and you should feel secure with the attorney that would be representing you. I am in a unique situation in that I represent both debtors and creditors and can evaluate a case from both sides.
To stop your worries and obtain a fresh financial start, the next step is up to you. For a free office consultation with Craig E. Dwyer, please contact me via this website, call my office at 858-268-9909 or email my office at firstname.lastname@example.org
Craig E. Dwyer, Esq.
8745 Aero Drive, Suite 301
San Diego, CA 92123
Craig has been a resident of San Diego since 1954. He graduated from Patrick Henry High School where he was a member of the first graduating class in 1970. Craig earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from San Diego State University in 1974. He graduated from Western State University Law School and passed the California Bar Examinati
Craig has been a resident of San Diego since 1954. He graduated from Patrick Henry High School where he was a member of the first graduating class in 1970. Craig earned a Bachelor's degree in Economics from San Diego State University in 1974. He graduated from Western State University Law School and passed the California Bar Examination in June of 1977. He enjoys practicing law and spending time with his family in San Diego.
A Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as a "straight" bankruptcy. It is designed for individuals or corporations who cannot pay their debts. It discharges most of your debts. The most common debts discharged in a Chapter 7 are credit card bills, finance company loans, medical/hospital bills, automobile repossession debts, foreclosure debts and judgments from lawsuits. There are some debts that cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 cases, such as child/spousal support obligations, student loans, most taxes, court fines and restitution orders, debts for damages caused while driving under the influences of alcohol or drugs and fraudulent debts. Certain taxes can be discharged in bankruptcy however, the standards for discharge are quite complex and require a review by my office.
Upon the filing of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, the Court issues an Automatic Stay, which prohibits all creditors from contacting you or proceeding with any collection action against you, including foreclosures, levies and wage garnishments. Any such actions that may have already begun prior to the filing of your case are immediately halted.
The Chapter 7 process takes about three to four months. There is usually only one required hearing about a month after your case is filed. This hearing is conducted by a court appointed trustee and usually lasts about five minutes. Approximately 60 days after your hearing, the Court will mail the Discharge directly to you. Shortly thereafter, your case will be closed by the court.
A Chapter 11 Bankruptcy proceeding is often referred to as a Reorganization Bankruptcy. It allows a corporation, partnership or even an individual to continue conducting business without the concern of having bank accounts attached, assets seized or a foreclosure conducted on property. As in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases, the Court issues an automatic stay order upon the filing of the case. Once the case is filed, the filing party becomes known as a "Debtor in Possession" and is allowed to pursue proposing a repayment plan to it's creditors.
During the course of the proceeding, the Debtor in Possession is required to file monthly operating reports with the Court which are subject to review by creditors, as well as the United States Trustee. Some of the information contained in the operating reports pertains to the amount of money that was earned, as well as money that was paid out, how much was paid out, who it was paid to and for what reason.
The Debtor in Possession is also required to file a Disclosure Statement and Plan of Reorganization with the Court The Disclosure Statement is background information about the Debtor which can provide information as to what led up to the Bankruptcy filing and how the Debtor intends to proceed in the future. The Plan of Reorganization provides information as to how much the Debtor intends to pay it's creditors and for how long of a period. The Disclosure Statement and Plan of Reorganization are served on the creditors with ballots to determine if a creditor would approve or oppose the repayment plan. Ballots are returned to the Debtor who then provides the results of the balloting to the Court at a Confirmation Hearing. With the requisite number of ballots approving the Plan, it can be confirmed and the Debtor thereafter would begin making payments to creditors according to the terms set forth in the Plan.
In certain instances, even if the Debtor failed to get the required number of ballots approving the Plan, the Court, under its powers, can still approve the Plan under what is known as "Cram Down." As long as the Debtor continues to pay on a confirmed Plan, it will be allowed to continue its normal operation of business. Should the Debtor fail to pay according to the terms of the Plan, the Court may convert the case to one under Chapter 7 and most likely the business operations would cease. The Court could also dismiss the case and the Debtor would be in the same position it was prior to the Chapter 11 case being filed.
In certain cases, based on the amount of debt, Debtors may qualify to file what is known as a Small Business Chapter 11 according to Sub Chapter V of the Bankruptcy Code. This is a relatively new law that allows a Small Business Debtor an opportunity to file for Chapter 11 reorganization with a streamlined, more efficient and cost effective method. Your potential Chapter 11 case would certainly be reviewed to see if it would qualify for filing under Sub Chapter V.
A Chapter 13 is a debt repayment plan that consolidates all of your monthly bills. You pay one monthly payment to a court appointed trustee. The trustee disburses payments to the creditors based on the provisions of your plan. Only individuals with regular income may file Chapter 13 cases. Chapter 13 Plans must commit all of your net disposable income for at least 3 years however, most plans run for 5 years.
Upon the filing of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, the court issues an Automatic Stay preventing creditors from harassing you or taking any actions against you such as wage garnishments, lawsuits, foreclosures and repossessions. A Chapter 13 Plan can consolidate all of your debts, including real estate arrearages, automobile payments, past-due taxes, student loans and past-due support obligations.
The monthly plan payment is determined by your income, your monthly living expenses and the amount of debt that is to be paid back within the five year plan. In many cases, if you cannot pay all of your debts, a plan can be proposed to repay your unsecured creditors less than the total amount owed.
Because there are so many factors related to income, living expenses and debt to be repaid, every case is different and should be carefully reviewed by a qualified attorney. Most taxes, child support and student loans must be paid in full during the 5 year plan period. Your plan payment must be at least as much as your monthly net disposable income, which is defined as the amount of money remaining after you pay all of your living expenses (excluding your debts).
About a week after your Chapter 13 case is filed, you will receive a notice informing you of the first meeting of creditors. All creditors receive the same notice with the date and time of the hearing however, most do not appear. The hearing takes place about six weeks after your case is filed by a court appointed trustee. The trustee wants to verify your ability to make plan payments. The purpose of the hearing is to allow creditors and the trustee to ask questions about your debts, assets, income and the proposed Chapter 13 Plan. Your first plan payment is due thirty days after your Plan is filed (prior to the hearing).
In some cases, a creditor will object to the Chapter 13 Plan. If a creditor does object, the case will then be set for a hearing before a Bankruptcy Judge to review your case. If your Chapter 13 Plan complies with the law and you have made all of your Plan payments, the judge will normally approve your plan despite the creditor objection. An attorney will be present with you at all hearings. When your Chapter 13 Plan has been approved, the trustee will begin paying the creditors the amounts called for in the plan. It is the responsibility of the creditors to file a claim and prove the amount owed to them. The trustee will only pay creditors who file claims within the time allowed. The debt to any unsecured creditor who fails to file a timely claim will be discharged, provided you complete the Chapter 13 plan.
At the conclusion of your Chapter 13 Plan (no more than 5 years after the petition was filed), the Court will issue a Discharge. With the Discharge, your debts are considered either paid or cancelled. Creditors in your plan are forbidden from collecting any more money from you.
A Will is a legal document that allows a person to direct how their property is to be distributed upon their death. It can also include a provision on who they would want to raise their minor children. It can also appoint the person that would be responsible for carrying out the decedent wishes.
A Trust is a form of holding title to certain property. A Living Trust is a form of estate planning that allows a person to control their assets while still alive although not actually held in their name. Living trusts are particularly useful for avoiding Probate Court proceedings.
A Probate is a legal proceeding wherein a Court supervises the transfer of property or assets to one's heirs or beneficiaries when that person dies. It may also involve the orderly process of paying the decedent's creditors and liabilities.
A Conservatorship is a legal proceeding where a person, family member, family friend or legal fiduciary is appointed by the Court to handle a person's financial and/or personal matters, when that person, for various reasons, is unable to do so.
All materials provided on this web site are for information purposes only. The materials do not constitute legal advice. Due to the complexity of bankruptcy and exemption laws, differing interpretations of statute and case law from various state and federal courts, you should obtain the services of a competent bankruptcy attorney before acting upon the materials contained on this web site or filing a bankruptcy petition.
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