Debt Settlement

There are other methods to handle your debt that are not Bankruptcy, such as debt settlement. Through debt settlement, we can help you negotiate with your creditors to accept some part of the debt that you owe instead of filing for Bankruptcy. Throughout Riverside and Orange Counties, the Law Office of Christopher Hewitt has been helping people negotiate debt settlements for decades. There can be a variety of reasons that clients of mine would choose debt settlement over Bankruptcy.

Alternative to Bankruptcy
Clients above the median income with only unsecured credit card debt, who do not require Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to retain non-exempt assets or rectify mortgage arrears, often refrain from committing to a 5-year plan set by a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan budget. Some clients can come up with 30-40% of what they owe to their unsecured creditors in a relatively short time(under two years), some even quicker. They have the advantage of working with an effective negotiator and California attorney who understands how to convince creditors that taking a lump sum of 30% is better than me filing for Bankruptcy or spending money to obtain a judgment through the courts.

Choosing debt relief will hurt your credit score. However, it will be far better than Bankruptcy for your credit score. Bankruptcy is a legal process that results in the discharge of unsecured debts or the establishment of a structured repayment plan. Debt settlement is a negotiation between you and your creditors without a formal legal process, but the goal is to agree with them about paying back some of the debt. The easiest way is to pay a portion of the date immediately instead of the total amount over the years. Debt settlement is commonly applied to unsecured debt like credit cards.

Haven’t Filed Tax Returns Yet
Clients who have yet to file their tax returns for several years and wish to avoid the immediate penalties associated with filing them may consider debt settlement as an alternative. Bankruptcy can't be filed without being current on your tax returns, leaving debtors in a position where they need to negotiate and, therefore, do debt settlement. Having an attorney on your side instead of a private company is very advantageous as your attorney understands how wage garnishments work, the percentage the levying officer can take, and how long it takes to obtain and enforce judgments. Your lawyer can also enforce FDCPA violations against collection companies that harass clients and file state court cases against them. These tactics can be used during negotiations when private debt settlement companies cannot do this.

Payday Loans
Some clients have low debts through small unsecured debts and payday loan companies where it needs to make sense to file Bankruptcy on those debts. It's easier for an attorney to work with payday loan lenders as many (primarily internet-based) operate illegally and charge interest rates violating state usury laws. Payday lenders know my ability to file for Bankruptcy at any point if we can't develop a workable solution.
Bankruptcy requires that you tell the truth about your financial situation under penalty of perjury. Debt settlement allows you to lie and do whatever is necessary to cover the debt under your terms. Not being under the threat of perjury is a significant advantage for specific clients who want to get out of debt but don't want to maintain strategic discretion.

Customer Experiences
Debt settlement is often better than filing for Bankruptcy in states with low-wage garnishment laws. For example, I have a New York client(New York only allows 10% for garnishments as opposed to 25% for some states). My client has a judgment against her from one creditor for 30k. She makes 100k a year so that she will pay 10% on that single judgment for three years. There are 120k other creditors who are going to be waiting in line for a long time to get paid, as only one judgment gets paid at a time. I told her to speak with a bankruptcy attorney in NYC before hiring me, as filing for Bankruptcy could be more advantageous. Her payment in a Chapter 13 plan would have been close to 2000 a month due to her high income and not owning a home with a high mortgage to offset her payment. I have been able to get 4 of her other creditors through strong negotiation to realize they aren't getting paid for years, and if her income drops, she's doing a Chapter 7, and they won't get a dime. All these creditors have settled for 20%, which we did as lump sum settlements. She will end up paying 40k on a debt of 150k. If she had done a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, she would have paid 140k. For some higher-income workers, debt settlement can make more sense.

Meet an Attorney
If you need a lawyer in Riverside who has filed thousands of bankruptcy cases and has settled just as many debt settlements, contact us now for a free consultation. When you call me, I always answer the call personally so we can get into a consultation. It will take me about 15-30 minutes to understand your situation and recommend your best course of action. If creditors call you non-stop and you wish me to try to negotiate down your debt before considering a more drastic option like Bankruptcy, I would be happy to do so. I'm afraid I have to disagree with the tactics used by certain creditors who push large amounts of debt onto people who clearly will never be able to afford it, only to find variable interest rates and other predatory methods being used.

If you choose to meet face to face, we have an office in San Clemente and another in Palm Desert, so I drive back and forth between them weekly. I have a meeting space in Riverside where we can meet if you are from Riverside, Corona, or Moreno Valley. I often drive through Temecula and Hemet on the way back, and I can always stop and meet you anywhere convenient.

Client Reviews
I highly recommend Christopher Hewitt. Chris was doing pretty good job on my case with full support from processing, scheduling and other questions. We are in desperate situation facing foreclosure and credit card debt at that time, he saved us. He has my highest recommendation with regard to his expertise. Rizal H K
We found the law office of Christopher Hewitt to be a pleasant relationship in our legal situation. The law office was always responsive and always treated my questions as important and answered very quickly. The law office always advised me and I got great advise on our situation. I would highly recommend this law office for your legal dilemma. John H
Ibegan a business relationship with the Law Office of Christopher Hewitt and dealt with Mr. Hewitt directly. I utilized his service in debt management and because of him i am debt free within 6 months!!! I cannot thank him enough for all the hard work he did and how effective he was with all my creditors. I definitely could not have been this successful with eradicating my debt if i had not employed Mr. Hewitt's services. I strongly recommend him and his Law Office to anyone looking for legal help. Thank you so much!!! Debra B.
The Law Office of Chris Hewitt was great at handling my debt settlement. I was able to speak directly with the attorney multiple times and he always knew what was going on with my accounts and gave me clear advise. I did not feel like he made any false promises and was very realistic about what the outcomes would be. At the end of the year I was able to pay off all my credit cards at less than 40% of what I owed at the time I hired him. I would highly recommend Chris Hewitt for any one who has debt issues and does not want to file for bankruptcy. Karen H.
Basically, if I could describe my experience with Chris Hewitt in three words they would be, professional, straight-forward, and helpful. Going into filing chapter 7 bankruptcy, I had no clue where to begin. Chris took me where I was at and guided me along a process that proved to be clearing financially and emotionally. Plus, I am quite certain nobody could have done it for a better price. I would recommend his service to anybody. Thank you. Dylan H.