Frequently Asked Questions2018-05-10T03:33:27+00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

These are the most common questions we hear from people who want to know more about their bankruptcy options. If you have more questions and you want to discuss your current circumstances, give us a call or simply fill out one of the email contact forms on this website. You’ll hear from us promptly!


What does bankruptcy do to my credit?2017-12-13T21:47:54+00:00
In the end a bankruptcy can make your credit better. Even if all your payments have been made on time, you may owe so much money that a new credit application would be denied.
How do I pick a bankruptcy lawyer for my case?2017-12-13T21:47:30+00:00
When considering a Los Angeles bankruptcy lawyer or law firm to represent you, we suggest that you only consider a “Certified Bankruptcy Specialist.” In addition, we advise you to do a Google search on the lawyer or firm to see what pops up. Is the lawyer a recognized expert in the California bankruptcy field? Does the news media seek out the opinions of this lawyer? Also check a lawyer’s record on independent web sites like, and When you do a Google search on Bayer Wishman & Leotta, or one of our lawyers, we welcome you to check our record and compare the results to any other lawyer that you are considering. You can also take a look at the Testimonials on our site that we have collected from various independent websites where people post reviews.
What is a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist?2017-12-13T21:47:06+00:00
The State Bar of California only certifies a small number of personal and business bankruptcy attorneys. Certified attorneys must meet very high standards while demonstrating an exceptional level of excellence and commitment to the field of consumer bankruptcy. Certified specialists must also take and pass a separate bar examination dedicated to consumer bankruptcy. The attorneys at Bayer Wishman & Leotta are proud to be among a small number of Los Angeles bankruptcy attorneys certified as bankruptcy specialists. Our experience and expertise is put to work to help you.
Do I need and attorney to file bankruptcy?2017-12-13T21:42:56+00:00

No, however the legal system is a maze of very complex laws, rules, and regulations. It is very easy to make mistakes. A knowledgeable and experienced lawyer will make sure that your bankruptcy is filed quickly and correctly.
In addition, banks and credit card companies hire teams of aggressive lawyers to fight bankruptcy cases. An attorney representing you is in a better position to negotiate on your behalf.


Before considering bankruptcy, shouldn’t I first try to seek out some consumer credit counseling?2017-12-13T21:51:11+00:00
Credit Counseling agencies of Los Angeles offer debt consolidation plans that only help about 30% of the people who seek them out. Many such agencies claim to be non-profit, however many receive most of their funding in commissions called “fair share” plans paid to them by the credit industry. This is a clear conflict of interest.
Is it moral?2017-12-13T21:50:51+00:00
Morality is not for us to decide. With regard to your legal rights, Bankruptcy laws are the first and most important line of consumer defense. It is your right to have relief, and you should have an experienced attorney on your side to make it happen successfully.
Isn’t bankruptcy immoral, and just taking the easy way out?2017-12-13T21:50:28+00:00
Bankruptcy is a gut-wrenching experience that most people would rather avoid if they could. It is not easy. And it is not immoral. Bankruptcy is the law of this land, not a gimmick or loophole. Bankruptcy is a law enacted by the U.S. Congress called Title 11, U.S. Code (Bankruptcy Code), pursuant to the U.S. Constitution (Article 1, Section 8). Although there are those that may sneer at this, the fact is, bankruptcy is the law provided to the American People to deal with situations where a person finds that they owe more money than they can afford to repay.

Is it wrong to claim bankruptcy? It is no worse and no better than claiming all of the deductions and exemptions on your tax return that you are entitled to claim. You are not required to claim them, you are ENTITLED to. Likewise, you are ENTITLED to claim bankruptcy if you owe more money than you can reasonably afford to repay.

Can a paralegal or a legal document service represent me?2017-12-13T21:50:09+00:00
In California, legal document preparers and paralegals cannot represent you. They cannot even give you legal advice. Further, they cannot represent you in court. Only an attorney can do those things for you. People go to them because they feel that it is cheaper than hiring a lawyer. Bankruptcy cases are very complicated and it takes the full attention of an experienced attorney to get the very best outcome for you.
Can I negotiate with my creditors?2017-12-13T21:49:49+00:00
Yes, but your creditors do not make it easy. Most creditors will not negotiate with you unless the account is already very delinquent. They usually want the settlement money “up front”…no payment plans; and after you pay out all the money, it does not restore your credit.
Would a debt consolidation company be better?2017-12-13T21:49:29+00:00
It really depends on your situation – and on the consolidation company. Frequently, debt consolidation plans are phony deals that enrich the company at your expense. At the end of the day, your credit will be just as bad as or worse than if you had filed bankruptcy and you will still be in debt. There is only one way to have good credit and keep good credit…you must always pay according to the original terms and never owe more than you can afford to pay back.
How much does it cost?2017-12-13T21:49:08+00:00
There is a court filing fee of about $300 that must be paid to the Federal Court ($306 for a Chapter 7; $281 for a Chapter 13). Attorney fees vary, depending on what your case requires the lawyer to do. We have payment plans available for most cases, and we will work with you to come up with a fee and a payment plan that you will be comfortable with. We are Certified Bankruptcy Specialists and you may find that our fees are about the same that you would pay to inexperienced and less qualified lawyers. So why not hire the best?
Will I be able to finance a new car after bankruptcy?2017-12-13T21:48:49+00:00
If your income qualifies you for a car loan, you will most likely be able to finance a new car. However, you will probably be charged a higher rate of interest.
Will I ever be able to buy a house?2017-12-13T21:48:28+00:00
Most mortgage companies tell us that after 2 years, bankruptcy doesn’t hurt your chances of buying a home, so long as you are otherwise qualified.

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    For the last 33 years, Leon Bayer and Jeff Wishman of Bayer Wishman & Leotta have specialised exclusively in helping clients with debt problems.

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