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san diego bankruptcy attorneys

San diego bankruptcy law firm – Paul Staley

San Diego bankruptcy law firm – The first step is the call

When you make an appointment with the Law Office of Paul Staley, you’re making an appointment with Paul himself. Not a paralegal or legal assistant with a questionnaire and a clipboard. You’ll be meeting with the only one among San Diego bankruptcy attorneys who “wrote the book” on bankruptcy. Paul’s book “The Bankruptcy Lifeline: What Your Creditors Hope You Don’t Know” is available for download at Amazon.com.
A client considering bankruptcy need not wonder whether his or her case is a good one. Yet seventy percent of all Chapter 13 cases end in failure. Paul has what he refers to as a “zero failure rate.” He backs up his professional analysis with a common sense guarantee. Paul’s outlook is straightforward. The client gets a Discharge. Every client, every case. Or the client gets a refund. You’ll find that outlook goes to a radical extreme. And Paul says “It’s about time.” Paul has been in practice for over twenty-five years now. He’s never had to issue a refund for a failed case. Among San Diego bankruptcy attorneys, Paul Staley is the first to guarantee his clients’ results.

Choosing the Right Chapter Can Make All The Difference.

Paul is convinced that too many cases are filed under the wrong Chapter.  That, in turn, results in too many cases failing. About twenty-five percent of all bankruptcy cases filed are filed as Chapter 13s.  He has described Chapter 13 proceedings as “the three-to-five-year poverty plan.” That’s because the Chapter 13 trustee becomes a stand-in for the creditors.
He [the trustee] (yes, we still have no female Chapter 13 trustees) becomes the surrogate for creditors. And the Code demands that ALL of the debtor’s disposable income go toward paying the creditors. Oh, and the trustee’s administrative fee of ten percent. These guys don’t work for free. (Yes, they’re both “guys” as of this writing.) In Paul’s practice over the past twenty-one years, he has put fewer than one percent of his clients in Chapter 13s. That’s not to say he thinks no one belongs in Chapter 13.

Among San Diego bankruptcy law firms, Paul conducts the free consultation differently. Differently how?

1 – Different, firstly, because he conducts the free consultation in person rather than delegating it to a non-attorney. He believes he is uniquely qualified to do what’s most important during that meeting – effective legal thinking.  And legal thinking requires applying a complex Bankruptcy Code to your unique situation. He respects other San Diego bankruptcy attorneys’ choice to delegate that meeting. Often that’s done by having an “interviewer” conduct the “intake interview.” That means the interviewer is not an attorney but at a minimum (a) speaks English (or the client’s language) and (b) can use a calculator. Paul has a lot of experience doing damage control after plenty of cases initiated in high-volume “mills.” One such typical scenario looks like this. A different attorney crams a case through based on information that an interviewer either missed or misunderstood.

How else is my consultation with Paul different?

Different – secondly – in that Paul devotes a full hour to the initial interview, sometimes longer. Real talk: he’s found that it’s impossible to collect enough information, analyze it and give the client a certain opinion any faster than that. Clients who come to Paul from other San Diego bankruptcy law firms confirm that Paul’s is the San Diego Bankruptcy law firm which does this process best. He’s a believer in the old adage that “You can do it right or you can do it over.”
Paul does a complete Means Test work-up, digs deep into the client’s unique situation. He frequently, talks about “what if?” scenarios with the client. Paul makes sure that by the end of that first meeting, the client knows the best way forward.

Complete legal analysis.

When you make your appointment for your fresh start plan Paul will do a complete legal analysis of your financial situation. He will not cut corners. You will speak to a lawyer who has experience in bankruptcy law, not a paralegal.  Expect to spend about (or maybe we should say at least) an hour with Paul. In this meeting, Paul performs a complete means test not just an overview. You can ask questions about different solutions to your problems. This test is the only way to truly determine if you qualify for bankruptcy. A fair and reasonable price for this much time and expertise is about $300-$400. But Paul provides this comprehensive analysis at no charge. Why? Because it is truly the only way he can give you the real facts about your financial situation.

Complete confidentiality.

Paul guarantees that when you come and speak to him about your financial situation, he provides receive complete confidentiality. What you say to him stays with him. There is no reason to be embarrassed or worried about any of your information ever leaving our San Diego bankruptcy law firm. If you do decide to go forward with filing bankruptcy (then financial information will become public record). More on just how “public” public really is we discuss elsewhere.
It’s time to call. Lower your blood pressure, ease your stress. Get some peace of mind. Stop wondering if picking up the phone means admitting failure. It doesn’t. You’ve done all you can on your own. It’s time to let someone with bigger shoulders than you help take that burden. Should you file bankruptcy or hold out? When you meet with Paul, you get clear, certain and thoughtful answers. Then you can make an informed decision about what to do next. Paul’s direct line is 619-235-4095. Call today to speak to Paul about meeting with him to discuss one of the most important next steps in your life.

Student loans and Credit Cards

Student tuitions that are charged by credit cards are dischargeable in bankruptcy 

If you have found yourself overwhelmed by your student loans you might wonder if you can discharge any student loan debt in bankruptcy.

There is some student debt that is dischargeable in bankruptcy

Student expenses like tuition and books charged on a credit card aren’t treated any differently than other kinds of expenses charged on a credit card .   If you are at a place where you are considering filing bankruptcy for your student loans. You will be well served to go into your records and see what exactly you charged on a credit card while you were in school . . Often the idea, of borrowing on a credit card to finance educational expenses is a “hindsight is 20/20” thing. When the  student borrower on a student loan has completed his / her education, finds himself in a bad financial bind and learns he could have made a different choice from the outset. 

But the uniformity of treatment of is both good news and bad news. As with any other debt incurred on a credit card, if it looks like the borrower never intended to pay it in the first place, the lender can fight back even in a bankruptcy. Any creditor can object to its claim to be discharged in bankruptcy. They do this by filing an “adversary proceeding.”  This doesn’t happen often, but it is  essentially a lawsuit filed within the bankruptcy proceeding itself.
You get the idea. It’s really common sense. If it looks like the borrower has acted reasonably in taking on debt, s/he will not likely face closer scrutiny if s/he later files bankruptcy.

 Should you charge your student loans on a credit card ?

These days, credit card interest rates are at historic lows. Money is practically free to the banks and they’re passing some of that happiness along to borrowers. It may make sense to many a borrower to finance his/her education on a credit card simply because the rate is so hard to match even under student loan programs.
If you think you might need bankruptcy and have student loans -go back in the records and review .What exactly did you charge by credit card.Then call us  to set up a meeting with Paul, he  will be glad to meet with you

Security clearance and Bankruptcy

Will I lose my security clearance if I file bankruptcy?  

Most of the people that I see in San Diego are people like you and me who have fallen upon bad times – not gamblers, shopaholic, or otherwise crazy spenders. They have jobs and many times they own homes. Things happened, they had unexpected things happen in their lives. They have security clearances. They are concerned: Will I lose my security clearance if I file bankruptcy?

  Security clearance and bankruptcy: San Diego is a military town with numerous government contractors

I see at least one client every month with a security clearance and who needs to qualify for bankruptcy protection. Looked at through the prism of your military / federal employer, eliminating your debts through bankruptcy may make you less, rather than more, of a security risk. The everyday pound and stress of bill collectors calling and not knowing what to do next are sometimes worse than just cutting out cancer and moving on.  The Law Office of Paul Staley is proud to represent members of the military, federal employees, and federal contractors who are facing financial difficulties and want to meet them head-on. One of my clients who has been referred to me for bankruptcy services by her employer – a federal contractor – and was instructed that if she DIDN’T file bankruptcy, her security clearance (and therefore her job) would be in serious jeopardy. The happy ending: she got rid of her debts, her security clearance was renewed and she still has her job! If you are considering filing bankruptcy to really put the past behind you, call (619) 235-4095. You will speak to Paul and he can help you come up with a solution on how to move forward.

UPDATE January 3, 2012. Here is what the United States Air Force Academy Legal Office says about bankruptcy: “The status of your security clearance can be affected, but it is not automatic. The outcome depends on the circumstances that led up to the bankruptcy and a number of other factors, such as your job performance and relationship with your chain of command. The security section will weigh whether the bankruptcy was caused primarily by an unexpected event, such as medical bills following a serious accident or illness, or by financial irresponsibility.

The security section may also consider the recommendations and comments of your chain of command and co-workers. This is an issue that can be argued both ways, so as a practical matter your security clearance probably should not be a significant factor in making your decision about whether to file bankruptcy. The number of your unpaid debts, by itself, may jeopardize your clearance, even if you don’t file bankruptcy. In that sense, not filing for bankruptcy may make you more of a security risk due to the size of your outstanding debts. By the same token, using a government-approved means of dealing with your debts may actually be viewed as an indication of financial responsibility. Eliminating your debts through bankruptcy may make you less of a security risk. There is no hard and fast answer there, with one exception: It never hurts to have a good reputation with your co-workers and your chain of command.”  Get the facts, they make up your mind which way is going to work for you

bankruptcy means testing Bankruptcy Means Test for San Diego co.

What is the Bankruptcy Means Test?

The Bankruptcy Means Test is a 2005 addition to bankruptcy law. Created as a way of disqualifying petitions for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, the bankruptcy means test takes into consideration a lot of complex factors to force more people into Chapter 13 than Chapter 7. The creditors’ lobby loves the bankruptcy means test, because it means they get paid more, and more often than they used to.

If you are starting to do your research about bankruptcy then you should not do an online means test   They’re abysmal.  I have never ever seen one that came out correctly. Not a single one in nearly 10 years has been correctly done. Even getting close isn’isn’t good enough. This is not horseshoes or hand grenades.

San Diego County residents who file bankruptcy

First, the bankruptcy means analysis measures your income against median income in the area. If you earn below the median income, there is a better chance the Chapter 7 will work. Most people in San Diego who are thinking about bankruptcy or at least who I speak to earn more than the proposed income of the means test. However, if your income is higher than the median, the bankruptcy means test becomes much more challenging. Don’t try to figure it out on your own.

I take the time to go through the bankruptcy Means Examination with each person who sits down with me to do a Fresh Start Planning Session. For free. It takes me about an hour, and I do it every day, four times a day. An online bankruptcy means test calculator will not give you the answers you need If you’re online trying to do your own Means Test it is the first sign that you’re in enough trouble that you really need to talk to a good bankruptcy lawyer.

So go ahead, research online. Educate yourself. Then please save yourself and more important the stress and ask a bankruptcy lawyer to qualify you. The Bankruptcy Means Test is also supposed to help determine if you would be able to pay off your debts under Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. Using the bankruptcy means test, and a couple of other forms and formulae, the court will calculate your disposable income. This is done by mixing fixed expenses and estimates for variable other expenses. If it looks like you can pay off the debts within a three to five-year time frame, you’re in Chapter 13, not a 7. Call me to schedule your Fresh Start Planning Session. You’ll get the answers you need, all you have to do is ask.

bankruptcy advice Bankruptcy Advice:Thou Shalt Not

Thou Shalt Not: San Diego bankruptcy advice

*Thou Shalt Not: Delay in getting bankruptcy advice if you’re in financial trouble. Lawsuits can be filed and creditors can take advantage of how overwhelmed are most ordinary people when they’re sued. Inaction by you is good for them. Get yourself informed, pronto.

*Thou Shalt Not: Feel guilty about the predicament in which you now find yourself. It’s normal, natural to feel bad, like there is some moral defect in you that caused your economic implosion. This is more than just warm and fuzzy here: very often, debtors continued to go deeper and deeper in debt out of guilt and only making the situation worse.

Examples: Taking balance transfers on credit cards (you know the “victim”, the card to which you transfer a big balance, is not going to go quietly away);

Taking loans or outright withdrawals against retirement plan(s) to make mortgage payments, on homes which now turn out to be either losing value or at best not holding it. Those retirement loans have to be repaid. And retirement withdrawals are a double whammy: you pay taxes, and a 10% penalty right off the top. You may have just poured good money after bad money if it’s to hold onto a home. Especially if you’re already upside down in the home. Lots of people don’t realize that even in bankruptcy, you can usually keep all your retirement.

*Thou Shalt Not: Pay off personal loans to family members, close business associates, or friends.When you think you might have to file bankruptcy. These so-called “insider transactions” are “preferential transfers”, and they really irk the bankruptcy trustees. Such payments can be voided, and the relative, associate, or friend can be forced to hand over the money to the bankruptcy trustee.

*Thou Shalt Not: Take cash advances on credit cards and soon (like, within a year) expect they’ll routinely discharge in bankruptcy.

*Thou Shalt Not: Pay for elective/cosmetic surgery with a credit card, and anticipate the debt will be routinely discharged. If the creditor is paying attention, discharge of that debt could well be challenged.

*Thou Shalt Not: Travel for luxury, or buy luxury goods with a credit card, and anticipate that debt will be routinely discharged in bankruptcy.

*Thou Shalt Not: Use your credit cards for ANYTHING within ten weeks prior to filing bankruptcy (one can sometimes get away with paying for some dire necessities in reasonable amounts.)

*Thou Shalt Not: Say anything to anyone about your finances that is inconsistent with what you said, or will say, in your bankruptcy papers. Example 1: credit application overstates income, bankruptcy papers list accurate (read LESS) income. Result: if the discrepancy is discovered in the bankruptcy proceedings, big trouble. Example 2: you’re involved in litigation over something, most commonly in Family Court, regarding financial issues (support, etc.), and you list information, in writing, signed by you under penalty of perjury, that is inconsistent with the paper submitted or to be submitted to the Bankruptcy Court. People tend to be sort of casual at times, or less than thorough, about the information submitted in Bankruptcy Court. Sometimes they even…GASP! LIE!! I can’t explain why, but sloppiness and downright untruthfulness are common enough that one must be very vigilant to get the information right.

do i need to file bankruptcyDo you need bankruptcy ? How do you know when to file?

 

 First of all there are no easy answers , but you probably know that…. Are creditors constantly calling you? Does the thought of opening your mail  stress you out? Are you worried that utilities may be shut off or your car repossessed? Do you lie awake at night because you’re afraid of losing your home? Have you already dipped into savings or, worse, your retirement funds just to pay bills and buy groceries? These are all signs that you might be eligible to file bankruptcy  .

Now, probably more than at any other time in the last fifty years, people are having financial trouble because of events beyond their control, such as recession, layoffs and small business owners suffering acute drop-offs in sales. No one assumes anymore that the need to file bankruptcy is somehow a reflection of the moral character of the person filing. For centuries bankruptcy has been the ultimate relief valve for those in direst of straits. Americans seem pretty unanimous in continuing to believe that bankruptcy is a valid, valuable tool in our economy.  The choice of whether to seek bankruptcy relief is difficult and can be close to
heartbreaking. Many people experience shame and anxiety over filing bankruptcy.  they are sometimes afraid that filing bankruptcy makes them look irresponsible, or like people who don’t want to pay their bills. But the truth is that there is no shame in filing bankruptcy. Some people need bankruptcy, and bankruptcy  law exists to make sure that people having serious financial trouble can survive.

95% of the people who come to my office qualify to file bankruptcy. 

 This is what I have found in my over 20 years of practicing bankruptcy law. By the time a person gets to seeing a  bankruptcy lawyer face to face it is bad. No no wants to come and see a lawyer about being eligible for bankruptcy .

One of the first things you might have done to discover if you are eligible to file bankruptcy is  an online means test.  Big mistake (… really

It is virtually impossible for a middle class person in San Diego with a home and maybe a job  to go online and have any clue if they are eligible to file bankruptcy. There are no easy spreadsheets or lists to help you figure this out.  The process usually takes me about an hour to go over all the issues and questions to really understand are you eligible for bankruptcy. In my practice,we have had  many people who file Chapter 7 who were making a salary of $100,000.00 per year. You might ask, how is that possible?  

There are as many variables to the computation in who and how a person can file for bankruptcy, as choices of cereal at the local grocery store. How much do you owe? How close you are to retirement? Who lives with you? What is your house really worth in San Diego? Who knows that these days? It really does take a professional to figure this out.

One of my practices specialties is taking people who didn’t think they qualified for bankruptcy(or sometimes other lawyers who told it was not possible )and making that happen. Then they can move on with their lives. I am good with the difficult situations,that others can’t seem to figure out. So, if you think it is just not possible to file bankruptcy, or you make too much money or aren’t sure if you qualify. Come down to the office and let’s talk.

paul staley bankruptcy lawyer
The Law Office Of Paul Staley provides legal advice and representation for residents of San Diego County. The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this or associated pages, documents, comments, answers, emails, or other communications should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information on this website is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing of this information does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.
Paul Staley
Bankruptcy Attorney
1901 1st Ave., FLR 1 San Diego, CA 92101
Phone: +619 235 40 95
Email: pstaley@paulstaley.com

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