Royal Oak MI Office
Law Offices of Walter Metzen & Associates
Fax: (313) 962-4241
How To Get Here
To better serve our suburban clients, Law Offices of Walter Metzen & Associates also have an office in Royal Oak, Michigan. The Royal Oak office is conveniently located on northbound Woodward Avenue between 12 and 13 Mile roads. The office has a green awning with a brown brick store-front. There is a Chicken Shack on the corner with a large yellow sign that you cannot miss and makes for a good landmark when coming to my office for the first time. The office used to be an art gallery and framing shop and therefore is quite roomy inside and offers ample space to conduct business.
Unlike the Detroit office which is generally open for walk-ins, the Royal Oak office is by appointment only, usually in the morning around 9am or evening around 6 to 7pm. The address is 30448 Woodward and is located on the east side of the avenue. When looking for an additional office location, Royal Oak seemed to be a good location as most people in metro Detroit are familiar with Royal Oak due to the fact that it is the longtime home of the Detroit Zoo and is the hub of the summertime Woodward Dream Cruise in August of each year. Woodward Avenue is a well known highway known as “Detroit’s Main Street” and runs all the way from downtown Detroit to Pontiac. My Detroit office is located just a block away from Woodward and is near the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Michigan in which all cases for residents who live in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties as well as six other surrounding counties must be filed.
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To Schedule an Appointment
To make an appointment in the Royal Oak office, simply give the main office call at 313-962-4656 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It is a good idea to fill out my starter packet and organize bankruptcy related financial documents so that I can make a thorough evaluation as to whether bankruptcy is right for you, and if so, which chapter would be the best fit, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
What Documents to Bring
To properly evaluate your financial condition for bankruptcy purposes, I will need your last two years federal income tax returns, your last few months’ pay-stubs if you are working, titles to vehicles and real estate documents if you own real estate such as your house. Obviously, I’d also want you to bring all of your bills, credit card statements, mortgage statements, collection letters, etc. If needed, I can pull your credit report for a small fee that the company charges me, a single report is $30 and a joint report for a married couple is $40.
What Are Your Options?
At our first meeting, we will have a discussion about your current financial situation, what brought you to this point, and whether a personal bankruptcy filing can help you get over your present financial difficulties. Over the past 20+ years of representing consumer clients in federal bankruptcy proceedings, I have seen just about every possible debt related scenario and know that I will be able to quickly evaluate your case. To date, I have represented over 15,000 people in the metro Detroit area file a consumer bankruptcy case and either completely eliminate their debt with a Chapter 7 filing or offer a partial repayment plan with a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Approximately 75%, of the bankruptcy cases I file on behalf of my clients are Chapter 7 “Liquidation” cases. In fact, most consumer bankruptcy cases filed in the United States are Chapter 7 cases. While the word “liquidation” sounds awfully scary, only a tiny fraction of the more than one million consumer cases filed annually actually result in any sort of liquidation of assets. In the vast majority of cases that I file, there are no assets that my clients own that are not protected by the federal or State of Michigan exemption laws and therefore these are considered “no asset” cases in which there is no liquidation.
The Chapter 7 Trustee, who my clients and myself as attorney will appear before at the “meeting of creditors” will conduct an examination of the debtor(s) and in conjunction with the bankruptcy petition, statement of financial affairs and schedules, generally quickly determine that there are no assets above those protected by the exemption laws and file a no asset or no distribution report and the case will simply proceed to discharge.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Some people will not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To qualify, you basically have to show that your income for your household size is below the state median income according to the bankruptcy means test calculations. The means test calculations can be very complex and difficult for a non-bankruptcy attorney to calculate. Fortunately, during your initial consultation, I will perform a detailed means test to determine if Chapter 7 is available as an option.
If you are fortunate enough to enjoy a relative high or above median household income, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy also called a “reorganization” may be your best option. Chapter 13 is a powerful consumer bankruptcy filing in which you propose a plan whereby you put your various creditors into classifications according to the type of debt according to their status or priority in relation to other classes of debt and offer a repayment plan.
How Does the Bankruptcy Process Work?
I typically need to meet my clients a couple times before the filing of the bankruptcy case. The court will then notify the creditors of the filing by mail within a couple days. Some of the more common creditors such as large credit card companies will be notified by the bankruptcy court clerk of the filing by email as they subscribe to the courts ECF (electronic case filing) system and will find out about the bankruptcy filing within hours.
The court will set up the .341 Meeting of Creditors date and time and notify all parties. We attorneys generally call this hearing date the “bankruptcy court date” although this court date is held at the US Bankruptcy Court location in Detroit, it will not be before a bankruptcy judge, but will instead be conducted by the Chapter 7 or 13 Trustee assigned to the particular case.
The hearings in the Detroit Bankruptcy Court are held at 211 West Fort Street, Detroit, Michigan in room 315. Typically, Chapter 7 hearings are held on Wednesday and Thursday mornings and when the filings are high, the hearing times may spill into the afternoon. Room 315 can become quite busy on these days as there are often four Chapter 7 trustees conducting hearings in four different hearing rooms. Bankruptcy attorneys like me are quite busy scrambling to accommodate their court appearances as cases are sometimes scheduled in two different hearing rooms at the same time.
Thankfully, the trustees in our district are understanding and will accommodate the attorneys. The role of the bankruptcy trustee is to conduct an in person examination of the debtor or debtors in the case of a married couple. The case is typically called and the debtors along with their attorney walk up to the hearing table. The debtors are sworn in and state their name and address after which the trustee begins questioning the debtors regarding the state of their financial affairs paying particular attention to assets held presently or in the not so distant past. Protection of these assets is of utmost importance to people. The bankruptcy exemptions and their proper use can be daunting and quite complex which is why the services of an attorney like myself, who is board certified in consumer bankruptcy using the proper bankruptcy exemptions should be at your side.
I have personally appeared at over 10,000 bankruptcy hearings and have sat in at tens of thousands more. The attorney’s role does not end after the meeting of creditors. Very often, the bankruptcy trustee will want to see more documentation after the meeting and may wish to engage in discussions regarding the debtor’s property and the valuation that the debtor assigns to this property.
Occasionally the trustee’s will disagree with the exemptions chosen and might even file objections to these exemptions. Negotiating on behalf of a client with a trustee often occurs after the meeting of creditors. Proper representation by a lawyer specializing in consumer bankruptcy matters is essential and is an excellent investment both in monetary terms but also in peace of mind.
Contact Us Today
If you’re struggling with debt, contact us today to schedule a free consultation. We can evaluate your financial situation and goals and help you decide if bankruptcy is the best option for you. Filing a bankruptcy is a big decisions and we can help make sure you have the information you need to make the right choice.
Michigan Bankruptcy lawyer Walter Metzen provides legal assistance to Detroit and the surrounding area including Adrian, Ann Arbor, Battle Creek, Bay City, Belleville, Canton, Clinton Township, Dearborn, Dearborn Heights, East Lansing, Flint, Grand Blanc, Grand Rapids, Hamtramck, Highland Park, Holland, Howell, Jackson, Lansing, Lincoln Park, Livonia, Macomb, Mount Pleasant, Muskegon, Niles, Northville, Plymouth, Port Huron, Redford, Rochester, Roseville, Saginaw, Sterling Heights, Taylor, Traverse City, Trenton, Troy, Warren, Westland, Wyandotte, Ypsilanti.