Bankruptcy

Mesa Bankruptcy Lawyer

30+ Years of Experience Handling 10,000+ Bankruptcy Cases

The Law Office of Phil Hineman, P.C. has been representing Arizona clients for more than 30 years, particularly in the Mesa area. He is a results-driven attorney who has the professional and accomplished experience you need to navigate your most complex legal matters, particularly those involving bankruptcy. In fact, Attorney Phil Hineman has handled over 10,000 bankruptcy cases throughout his career, including 2,000 Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings. Whether you seek to file for Chapter 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcy, or have questions about how filing for bankruptcy may affect risks of foreclosure or wage garnishment, Attorney Hineman can help you.

Put a BV Distinguished Mesa attorney on your bankruptcy case. Call (928) 224-3230 or contact the Law Office of Phil Hineman, P.C. online for a free consultation today.

The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process in Mesa

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the bankruptcy trustee will gather and sell the debtor's non-exempt assets and use these proceeds to pay creditors. Some of the debtor’s property may be subject to liens and mortgages that pledge the property to other creditors, so it is important to note that a Chapter 7 petition may risk the loss of property.

A Chapter 7 case begins when the debtor files a petition with the Mesa bankruptcy court where they live or where the business is located. The debtor must also file the following with the court:

  • schedules of assets and liabilities;
  • a list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims;
  • a schedule of current income and expenditures;
  • a copy of tax returns or transcripts filed during the case and in the recent year;
  • a statement of financial affairs; and
  • a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases.

Be aware that filing Chapter 7 will automatically halt most collection actions against the debtor or their property for a short period of time. As long as this “stay” is in effect, creditors may not initiate or resume lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments. Within 21-40 days after the petition is filed, the case trustee will hold a meeting of creditors, where the debtor must answer questions from creditors regarding their financial affairs and property.

Note that Mesa courts allow the debtor to convert a Chapter 7 case to a case under Chapter 11, 12, or 13 as long as the debtor is eligible under the new chapter and their case has not previously been converted to Chapter 7 from another chapter.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and Reorganization Plans

Chapter 11 bankruptcy cases, frequently referred to as “reorganization” bankruptcy, begin with the filing of a petition with the Mesa bankruptcy court. This petition may be voluntary (filed by the debtor) or involuntary (filed by certain creditors). A Chapter 13 debtor must file the same information with the court as that listed for Chapter 7 above. Additionally, if the debtor is an individual or married couple, they must also provide additional documents, including:

  • a certificate of credit counseling and a copy of any debt repayment plan developed through credit counseling;
  • evidence of payment from employers, if any, received 60 days before filing;
  • a statement of monthly net income and any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing; and
  • a record of any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts.

After filing a voluntary or involuntary petition, the debtor automatically becomes the "debtor in possession," who is a debtor that keeps possession and control of their assets while undergoing a debt reorganization plan. The individual will remain a “debtor in possession” until their plan of reorganization is confirmed, the case is dismissed or converted to Chapter 7, or a Chapter 11 trustee is appointed.

In most cases, a written disclosure statement and a plan of reorganization must be filed with the court. The disclosure statement should contain information on the debtor’s assets, liabilities, and business affairs so as to allow the creditor to make an informed judgment about the debtor's plan of reorganization. The court will examine the plan and confirm it in a final confirmation hearing.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases in Mesa, AZ

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or a “wage earner's plan,” enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. Under Chapter 13, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over 3-5 years. During this time, creditors may not start or resume collection efforts.

As opposed to Chapter 7, which poses a risk of losing the home, Chapter 13 offers individuals a chance to save their homes from foreclosure. With Chapter 13, it is possible to stop foreclosure proceedings and address delinquent mortgage payments over time. (The debtor may lose their home, though, if they fail to make these regular mortgage payments due after the Chapter 13 filing). In general, any individual is eligible for Chapter 13 relief, as long as their unsecured debts are less than $394,725 and secured debts less than $1,184,200. However, a corporation or partnership may not be a Chapter 13 debtor.

A debtor may begin their Chapter 13 case by filing a petition with the Mesa bankruptcy court and provide the information as required for Chapter 7 or 11 bankruptcy, listed above. The debtor must also file the additional required documents listed under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, including a copy of any repayment plan and evidence of payment from employers received 60 days prior to filing.

Much like the Chapter 7 process, in Chapter 13 an impartial trustee is appointed to administer the case. The trustee will evaluate the case and serve as a disbursing agent, helping to collect payments from the debtor and distributing them to creditors. Filing Chapter 13 will also automatically stay most collection actions against the debtor or their property for a short time, in which creditors may not take collection actions or pursue litigation against the debtors.

Between 21-50 days after the debtor files a petition, the trustee will hold a meeting of creditors to address problems with the repayment plan. After the meeting, the debtor, trustee, and creditors may attend a final court hearing to confirm the repayment plan.

Contact the Law Office of Phil Hineman, P.C. Today

If you seek to file for bankruptcy in Mesa, Arizona, do not hesitate to consult an experienced legal professional to guide you through the process. Attorney Phil Hineman has handled over 10,000 bankruptcy cases throughout his career and can help you determine your eligibility for Chapter 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcy (and whether these bankruptcy plans are in your best interests). Let an experienced bankruptcy attorney help you navigate your Mesa situation today.

Contact the Law Office of Phil Hineman, P.C. online or at (928) 224-3230 to get started today in a free consultation.

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    “My experience was very positive and I found him and his associates to be well-prepared and knowledgeable.”

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Phil Hineman has been providing bankruptcy, family law, and criminal law services for the community for over 25 years. Reach out to discuss your case today.