The attorneys of Royer Caramanis provide effective, efficient and responsive counsel to their clients in navigating the bankruptcy process and making educated decisions about what is the best legal course for their financial future. Bankruptcy is a procedure created by federal law that helps honest but unfortunate debtors get a fresh start on their financial lives. The two most common kinds of consumer bankruptcies are “Chapter 7″ and “Chapter 13″ bankruptcies. Our firm represents both debtors and creditors in consumer bankruptcy cases.
CHAPTER 7 BANKRUPTCY
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most of a debtor’s unsecured debts, such as credit cards, medical bills, and payday loans, are wiped away by the court in an “order of discharge.” The debtor can also often reduce the interest rate on his or her secured loans, such as vehicle or furniture loans, or get out of those loans entirely by returning the secured property to the creditor. In exchange, the Chapter 7 Trustee has the right to take any property owned by the debtor that is not protected by legal “exemptions,” liquidate that property, and distribute the proceeds to the creditors. In Virginia, there are a number of legal exemptions that may be available to protect a debtor’s property. For example, there is a “homestead exemption” which protects property of the debtor’s choice up to a certain value, and there are other exemptions for things like home furnishings, vehicles, wedding rings, family bibles, and pets. Many people are able to protect all of their assets with exemptions, in what is called a “no asset bankruptcy”. A typical Chapter 7 takes about three months from filing to closing.
CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is different from a Chapter 7 in that the debtor can generally keep all of his or her property, but must make monthly payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee over a period of 3 to 5 years, which are then distributed to creditors. In a Chapter 13, the debtor may be able to catch up on payments on his or her house or car in order to prevent a foreclosure or repossession. After the debtor has faithfully made payments for the 3 to 5 year period determined by his or her “reorganization plan,” the bankruptcy is closed, and any remaining debts that have not been paid by the trustee are generally wiped away by the discharge order.
Some debtors with relatively high household incomes are required to file a Chapter 13. Others choose to file a Chapter 13 because it enables them to keep certain assets that they might lose in a Chapter 7, to discharge debts that wouldn’t be dischargeable in a Chapter 7, or to “strip off” a second mortgage and turn it into unsecured debt.
POSSIBLE BENEFITS OF FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY
If you think a bankruptcy may help you, contact Royer Caramanis today to schedule an appointment for a free consultation, and we will meet with you to evaluate your financial situation and help determine whether a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13, or some other solution is right for you.
We routinely represent clients in a broad range of real estate matters and offer a full service real estate practice. Our business and banking experience helps us ensure that we provide effective, efficient and responsive counsel for real estate matters ranging from the purchase and sale of residential real estate to complex real estate loan workouts involving multiple business entities and complicated title issues. From a purchase to the sale of property, our attorneys help clients manage every title, financing or negotiation scenario. Some areas of our real estate practice include:
• Representation of builders and developers in the acquisition, financing, development, construction and sale of residential and commercial real estate projects.
• Representation of purchasers of large industrial, commercial or multifamily properties.
• Zoning and Planning/Land Use.
• Creation and representation of homeowner’s associations.
• Handling foreclosures, loan workouts and mechanic’s lien issues.
• All aspects of commercial and residential leasing, including lease negotiations, drafting, enforcement.
• Deeds, promissory notes, deeds of trust.
• Title issues, easements, rights of way.
• Representation of telecommunications companies in all leasing, title and zoning matters.
Our real estate expertise goes beyond our offices and extends to the courtroom and local government board room as well. Our attorneys have experience obtaining all manner of zoning approvals and determinations including subdivisions, special use permits, variances, rezonings, zoning text amendments, comprehensive plan amendments, architectural review approvals and more, from Planning Commissions, Boards of Supervisors and City Councils throughout the Commonwealth. We also have experience in litigating to resolve title disputes and in representing both governmental agencies and private property owners in eminent domain proceedings to determine just compensation. The attorneys at Royer, Caramanis & McDonough, PLC are prepared to assist you with all of your real estate, land use and development needs.
Royer Caramanis provides full service legal representation for its business clients. Our attorneys assist clients ranging from individual entrepreneurs to international companies with major transitional events for their companies as well as their day-to-day legal transactions needs in between. Our efforts to be efficient, effective and responsive are particularly appreciated by our business clients who frequently are in a position where “time is money.”
Whether you’re in the formation stage and need a strong legal foundation on which to build your business, your business is growing or changing with an ownership or asset transaction, or you need contractor or employee agreements and advice, Royer Caramanis provides legal representation that balances risk mitigation with the realities of the modern marketplace. Services to our business clients include:
• Entity Selection and Formation (including non-profits)
• Trademark and Copyright Registration and Protection
• Registered agent and annual maintenance
• Asset Purchase Agreements, Mergers and Acquisitions
• Investor, Employment, Independent Contractor, Non-Compete and Non-Disclosure Agreements
• Commercial Leases and Purchase Contracts
• Ownership Redemption and Transfer Agreements
• General Counsel Services
• Representation of Property Owners Associations and Common Interest Communities
• Contract Drafting and Negotiation
• Business Litigation
Royer Caramanis represents banks and borrowers in all aspects of financing transactions including the following:
• secured and unsecured lines of credit
• revolving loan and term loan credit facilities
• asset-based lending
• development, construction and permanent financing for real estate projects
• loan modifications and refinancing
• loan restructuring and workouts
• short sales
• deeds in lieu of foreclosure and foreclosure
Our firm’s substantial real estate and business practices, and the fact that our banking lawyers possess expertise in all traditional transactional areas, combine to make for effective, efficient and responsive counsel when it comes to all of the moving parts associated with banking matters. Additionally, our attorneys regularly serve as trustees for foreclosures across the Commonwealth of Virginia. The attorneys at Royer Caramanis are prepared to assist with all of your banking needs.
Wills, Trusts, & Estates
Royer Caramanis’s estate planning and administration practice focuses on the diverse needs of our clients, from guardianship provisions for small children to federal estate tax mitigation to charitable giving. Each client’s estate is different and dynamic, and fully addressing each client’s particular needs and contingencies is our priority. Our estate services include:
• Advance Medical Directives
• Premarital Agreements
• Powers of Attorney
• Real Estate Conveyances and Property Division Agreements
• Revocable Trust Agreements
• Qualified Terminable Interest Property (QTIP) Trusts
• Qualified Domestic Trusts (QDOTs)
• Irrevocable Life Insurance Trusts (ILITs)
• Estate and Trust Administration
• Trust Advisor Services
Royer Caramanis represents clients in a variety of civil litigation matters in all levels of state and Federal courts within the Commonwealth of Virginia. The majority of cases handled by our attorneys involve subject matter within the firm’s other areas of practice, including:
• Breach of Contract
• Clearing title to real estate
• Enforcement of Covenants and Restrictions
• Breach of fiduciary duties in the administration of an estate or trust or otherwise
• Eminent domain proceedings
It should be noted, however, that despite our firm’s experience and expertise litigating matters, it is our primary goal that our clients avoid a situation where litigation is necessary. For that reason, we encourage our individual and business clients to consult with us at the outset of a project or immediately as questions arise, rather than after a problem has become unavoidable. Part of our goal in providing efficient, effective and responsive representation is to be sure that your legal fees are well spent, and our experience dictates that smaller fees paid at the outset of a project tend to eliminate the larger fees of litigating disputes later on.
Our attorneys handle cases in General District Courts, Circuit Courts and the Supreme Court of Virginia, as well as in the United States District Courts for the Eastern and Western Districts of Virginia and the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. Always keeping in mind the best interests of our clients, we may also occasionally advise clients regarding their rights to handle small matters themselves in small claims court, if that is the most financially feasible option. Many cases can be filed in different courts, and the selection of which court provides you the best opportunity for success is a decision our attorneys will help make for you.
Within the context of litigation, we will take all steps necessary to provide our clients the best chance for success. This normally begins with an exploration of the possibility of reaching a negotiated and amicable settlement. The majority of our cases are successfully resolved in this manner, and the majority of our litigation clients are not seeking to start a fight, but rather to obtain swift justice. When a negotiated resolution is not possible, we further explore the advisability of mediation, arbitration or trial. Litigation is complex and often times unpredictable. We strive to provide our clients all the knowledge and counsel necessary for them to make educated choices regarding their disputes and to find the most efficient and effective way to resolve them. When the choice is made to go to trial, we represent our clients’ interests with the utmost passion, expertise and strength, making every attempt to achieve justice on their behalf.
Royer Caramanis routinely represents clients facing all types of state criminal charges, from the most minor traffic infractions to the most serious felonies. We handle misdemeanors and felonies both at trial and in appellate proceedings, both in the local courts and in surrounding counties. We have extensive experience with both bench and jury trials. Some types of criminal cases we handle include:
• Traffic infractions, including speeding, reckless driving, driving with a suspended license, and DUIs
• Misdemeanor and Felony offenses relating to assault, larceny, and “white collar” crimes
• Probation Violations
• Drug and Alcohol-Related Offenses
• Bond Determinations
We also assist clients with the expungement process, if they are eligible.
Our attorneys understand that those who are at the mercy of the criminal justice system face great uncertainty. Accordingly, we take great care in building the relationship that is necessary to navigate those hurdles and to provide effective, efficient and responsive counsel. From negotiating a plea agreement to conducting a jury trial, we have the knowledge and experience necessary to aggressively defend our clients and ensure that they receive the best opportunity for a positive outcome in their case.
Ernie Harper has been practicing law since 1994 and has focused on family law since 2007. Ernie’s philosophy favors negotiated settlement as the most appropriate and cost effective solution in most cases. Ernie favors a personal approach to assist clients in reaching their goals. He discusses and explores facts and goals as part of a thorough analysis of all issues. Experience dictates that is the best way to guide clients to negotiated resolution. In some cases, however, litigation is necessary, and Ernie then fights on his clients’ behalf in the courtroom.
Pre- and Post Nuptial Agreements
We help our clients to set the stage for successful marriages. A clear and irrefutable agreement between a couple as they enter into the marriage contract can be extremely helpful to a peaceful and happy life together.
Whether contested or not, divorce has many possible aspects, including: grounds for divorce, equitable distribution of property, child custody, child support, and spousal support. Ernie Harper counsels and advocates on behalf of his clients throughout this critical, complex and often emotional process.
The custody of minor children can arise as a component of a divorce case or as an action on its own. However it arises, custody can be a difficult and sensitive subject. We will help to secure the appropriate outcome and keep the best interest of the children as the priority.
Post Divorce Adjustments
The need for legal counsel and representation does not necessarily end with the entry of a Final Order of Divorce. We maintain relationships with our clients – sometimes for years – to ensure all matters are properly handled. This may include child custody and child support modifications, adjustments to spousal support, or distribution of retirement assets.