Frequently Asked Questions

Correct, reliable and up-to-date information is essential if you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy.

All we need you to bring is your recent and accurate pay stub along with your list of creditors with amounts.

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy exempts most assets allowing over 90% of our clients to keep everything and lose nothing. In Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation you keep all assets you choose as debts are paid "as if in full".

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy allows 1 discharge every 8 years. Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation lets you file as often as needed, if filed in good faith and 70% of unsecured debts were paid in a previously discharged Chapter 13.

No, but because California is a community property state, your debts are usually your spouses debts. Creditors may pursue your spouse (or ex-spouse) for the entire community debt.

http://annualcreditreport.com can provide you with the credit information you are looking for.

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation remains on your credit report for 10 years. By not filing, credit may show negatives for 7 years from the time you become current. By filing, negative reporting stops immediately. This allows you to begin re-establishing credit faster by keeping house, auto or other payments current. Also, you may obtain a "secured" credit card to help re-establish.

While in Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation you must obtain court permission to sell or refinance. After discharge, you may immediately assume a sellers loan or, after two (2) years, qualify for a new home loan with some re-established credit and other normal credit characteristics.

Because your home is a secured debt, Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy can only temporarily stop foreclosure until your case is discharged or your creditor lifts the "automatic stay". Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation completely stops foreclosure if back payments are kept current in the payment plan and regular payments are kept current after filing.

No. Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy will eliminate most all unsecured debts but not secured debts such as your home or car. To retain secured assets, payments must be made or modified. In Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation you pay all or only a portion of your debts.

You must list all creditors at filing except creditors with zero balance. Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy allows you to pay a desired creditor directly if you choose through reaffirmation. Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation has restrictions on who you pay, how much, and when.

If the lien was not incurred to purchase the asset, was not consensual, and impairs an exemption, it may be removed by lien avoidance techniques.

If mandated by the "Means Test" or If there is enough money left over after monthly living expenses the court may require full or partial payment to your creditors in Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation. Other reasons are listed on the webpage entitled "Which Chapter is For You".

All consumer co-singer are protected under Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation but not under Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy.

No, unless you owe your employer money or stop making timely Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation payments.

Not all the time. All financial institutions have different requirements. If you bank with a credit union, it is likely your bank account will be affected.

Both Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation may cancel unwanted contracts if you discontinue the service and/or return the merchandise.

Yes. We make most creditors stop garnishing wages when your case is filed. This doesn't apply to current child support payments.

Yes, immediately upon filing.

No, not until you receive a discharge. In Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation you must get court permission to incur debt over $250, except in emergencies.

Generally only one trustee hearing appearance is required 30 to 45 days after filing. This is normally a short hearing. Your creditors may be present to ask questions. Our attorney will be present to represent you.

Chapter 7 - Bankruptcy takes about 5 months, although your dischargeable debts are gone the day we file your case. Chapter 13 - Debt Consolidation takes 3 to 5 years to repay debts unless you decide to pay faster.

Yes. If you are behind on payments a bankruptcy will allow you to keep the vehicles and reorganize your payments.

A reaffirmation agreement is a new agreement to pay the debt. Oftentimes, clients like to do reaffirmations on vehicles, saving money by paying back what the vehicle is worth as opposed to what is owed.

The bankruptcy process is quite informal. You will be asked a series of yes or no questions verifying that the information you have provided is correct. It will take approximately 10 to 15 minutes for your hearing.

No. Married people can file without the other spouse.

Not as badly as you may think. Typically, by the time people are considering bankruptcy, they have fallen behind on their bills. The bankruptcy will allow you to discharge your debts, which will improve your debt to income ratio. This can improve your credit in the long term.

Sometimes. There are several qualifications to discharge taxes. Taxes would have to be at least 3 years old and filed in order to be discharged.

Co-signers would be obligated to pay the balance on the debts to which they were co-signed. If at a later date, you want to pay these yourself you can do that, however, your obligation to pay them is relieved.

Yes you can. Lawsuits and judgments from the credit cards or past due medical bills are dischargeable in a chapter 7 or a chapter 13.

Once retained, you can forward all of your creditor calls to our office. Some may still contact you, but we will let them know you are represented by counsel, and they should cease all contact with you.

I have had clients approved for vehicles within months of their discharge. There are several lenders who will approve home loans days after discharge.

10 years, though you will be able to get approval for credit soon after a discharge. I recommend this to re-build your credit.

With rare exceptions, student loans are non-dischargeable.

Student loans, certain types of taxes, debts for fraud are a few of the debts that are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Also debts incurred for intentional torts, such as assault and battery. This list is not exhaustive, but just a few examples.

Yes. It is one of the most popular reasons for filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. You can also stop a repossession or foreclosure through a bankruptcy.

I have stopped foreclosures within 1 hour of the consultation, though I do not recommend waiting until that time. In the case of foreclosures and garnishments, time is of the essence and it is important to come for your free consultation as soon as possible.

We do not pull a credit report. We recommend that you use annualcreditreport.com. They offer a free credit report from all 3 credit reporting agencies.

1. Certification of Credit Counseling http://www.consumerbankruptcycounseling.info
2. Copy of 2009 and 2010 Tax Return
3. Proof of prior 7 months of income
4. Credit Report (www.annualcreditreport.com)
5. ATM Receipts for the date of filing