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Rounds & Sutter LLP Rounds and Sutter
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Chapter 20 Bankruptcy Lawyers in Ventura

Sometimes, debtors have a variety of different types of debts in varying amounts, and even a single bankruptcy is not enough to provide true relief. In those circumstances, more complicated options such as a “Chapter 20” bankruptcy may be just what is needed to secure financial freedom.

The bankruptcy lawyers at Rounds & Sutter have spent decades helping California individuals and families deal with mounting debt. We’re ready and able to advise and represent individual debtors on their options to reduce or eliminate their debt, and if bankruptcy is the best option, we help clients successfully navigate the California bankruptcy procedures. If you are considering a second bankruptcy, we’ll help you qualify for the appropriate chapter and work toward ultimate financial independence.

If you are facing mountains of credit card debt, medical bills, or other consumer debt, a Chapter 20 bankruptcy option might be the best route to eliminate your debt. Call the compassionate and dedicated Southern California bankruptcy attorneys at Rounds & Sutter for advice, representation, and assistance with your individual debt.

What Is a “Chapter 20” Bankruptcy?

“Chapter 20” is not an actual chapter of bankruptcy listed in the federal Bankruptcy Code. Instead, we refer to a Chapter 20 bankruptcy when we discuss filing for Chapter 13 relief directly after filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Filing for both types of bankruptcy back-to-back can provide more relief for qualifying debtors whose debt cannot be cleared by one form of bankruptcy alone.

By utilizing a Chapter 20 approach, the debtor will have much of their unsecured debt wiped clean in the Chapter 7 discharge and will then develop a Chapter 13 repayment plan to deal with the remainder. The bankruptcies may be immediately one after the other or they may even proceed concurrently, depending on the circumstances. Chapter 20 is a complex option that requires in-depth legal know-how and a thorough understanding of finance and the Bankruptcy Code.

When Is a Chapter 20 Bankruptcy Helpful?

The Chapter 20 approach is more complex and in-depth than either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 alone. You must have a proper reason to apply for both forms of bankruptcy, lest you be accused of “bad faith” or “abuse” of the bankruptcy system by the court. That means that Chapter 20 should be reserved for appropriate circumstances.

At Rounds & Sutter, our experienced debt relief and bankruptcy attorneys will explore your financial situation and your options to find the form of debt relief best suited for your needs. Some of the considerations that may counsel in favor of a Chapter 20 approach include:

  • You have too much debt to qualify for Chapter 13. If you earn income and could repay much of your debt over time, then you may benefit from Chapter 13. There’s a limit to the maximum debt for a Chapter 13 filing, however. With a Chapter 20 approach, you’ll discharge much of your debt in the Chapter 7 filing, allowing you to qualify for Chapter 13 with your new cumulative debt load.
  • You need more time and free money to deal with secured and other non-dischargeable debt. Once your Chapter 13 bankruptcy begins, you’ll have additional time to pay off other debts not discharged under Chapter 7. If you would be able to tackle your mortgage, car loan, or tax debt with additional time and without your other unsecured debts weighing you down, a Chapter 20 approach may help. You’ll have a better chance at avoiding home foreclosure, for example.
  • Lien-stripping. Bankruptcy can be a method for “lien-stripping,” by which you get rid of secured lower-priority loans, such as a second mortgage. Chapter 13 allows for lien stripping, although some bankruptcy courts do not allow debtors to lien strip when filing a Chapter 20. Talk to your bankruptcy attorney to ensure you know what to expect when filing for your bankruptcy or bankruptcies.

Speak with a Seasoned Ventura Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are facing significant consumer debt and are considering bankruptcy, speak with the thorough and passionate Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers at Rounds & Sutter for a free consultation. Reach out to our offices in Ventura and Westlake Village, and start your journey toward a debt-free life.

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