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Los Angeles Bankruptcy Dismissal Risk Factors

By Encino Bankruptcy Attorney on February 14, 2014

It was recently reported by celebrity news sites that former “Baywatch” star Nicole Eggert was filing for a Los Angeles bankruptcy – for the third time in less than a year.

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The most recent attempt reportedly followed two previous efforts that were dismissed by the bankruptcy court. While we aren’t privy to all the details of the prior rulings‚ we do know that Eggert had tried before to file for a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy. This time‚ she is filing for a Chapter 13 repayment plan.

Bankruptcy laws changed dramatically in 2005‚ making it more complex to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy‚ which allows filers to walk away virtually debt-free.

In order to qualify for a Chapter 7‚ you must pass the means test. This is a measure that weighs your debts‚ your expenses and your income. Generally‚ filers with higher incomes will have a tougher time filing for Chapter 7.

Failing the means test is perhaps the No. 1 reason why most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases are dismissed. The test will examine your disposable income for the last six months as compared to the median state income for similar households. If your income is below that state median‚ you will qualify automatically.

However‚ if your income is above the median‚ the court will weigh national and local living expense standards to determine whether you qualify. If you fail this test‚ your case will either be dismissed‚ or you could be given the option to convert your case to a Chapter 13 filing.

Another possible reason why a bankruptcy case could be dismissed would be if you failed to complete the mandatory credit counseling course. As part of the 2005 law‚ all debtors have to finish a credit counseling course before they file their case. This is usually not a major hardship‚ as it can be completed over the phone or online. Once you finish it‚ you will get a completion certificate‚ which must be filed with the court. If you try to file your case before you finish the course‚ your case will almost certainly be dismissed.

Some debtors have had their case dismissed for failing to pay all the court fees. In some ways‚ of course‚ this seems counterintuitive. The reason you are filing for bankruptcy protection is because you are broke. So it makes little sense that you would be penalized for non-payment of fees while trying to seek relief. However‚ unless you obtain a waiver‚ you have to pay these fees. If you don’t‚ your case could be dismissed.

Dismissal of a case could also be the result of failure to file all required forms and supporting documents. This happens a lot when people try to file a bankruptcy case on their own. Again‚ it’s understandable that you don’t have much money so you try to save what you can on attorney’s fees. But what many people find is that this ends up costing a great deal more in the long run.

Each bankruptcy filing requires the completion of a long set of forms‚ including not just your bankruptcy petition‚ but also schedules‚ financial documents‚ tax forms‚ judgments‚ liens‚ bank statements and many other records. If you don’t file all these forms correctly and on time‚ your case could be dismissed.

Finally‚ some cases are dismissed because of bankruptcy fraud. In these situations‚ the court has determined that you were not honest in the disclosure of your income‚ liabilities‚ assets and other information. This is a serious offense that could result not only in the dismissal of your claim‚ but possibly in a criminal investigation. It’s not a road you want to go down.

The best way to avoid these scenarios‚ which are ultimately a waste of your time and energy‚ is to hire an experienced legal firm to handle the case for you and advise you of all relevant options.

If you are contemplating bankruptcy in San Fernando Valley‚ contact Nader‚ Naraghi & Woodcock‚ APLC to schedule your free consultation. Call (800) 568-0707.

Additional Resources:
Ex-Baywatch babe Nicole Eggert files for bankruptcy… for the third time in less than a year‚ Jan. 31‚ 2014‚ Staff Report‚ The Daily Mail


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