Bankruptcy FAQ’S

What type of bankruptcy should I file?

If you wish to eliminate all or part of your debt and start fresh, a Chapter 7 may be appropriate. If you wish to reorganize and repay all or part of your debts, a Chapter 13 may be appropriate. For a detailed explanation of both Chapters, you may contact our office and speak with an attorney.

What is Chapter 11 bankruptcy?

It is a reorganization Chapter, like Chapter 13. However, Chapter 11 cases do not have debt limits, are generally very expensive and are usually reserved for large businesses, large corporations or individuals with substantial assets.

What is a discharge debt?

A debt that has been eliminated or nullified by a bankruptcy.

Will I lose any of my assets if I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Very unlikely. Most of your assets can be protected when you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Approximately 99% of our Chapter 7 clients do not lose any assets.

Will I lose any of my assets if I file Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

No, in chapter 13 you repay all or part of your debts and keep all of your assets.

Do a husband and wife have to file bankruptcy together?

No, if you are married, you have the option of filing together, but it is not required.

May I discharge (eliminate) co-signed debts?

Yes.

Is my co-signer still responsible for my debt if I file bankruptcy?

Yes. However, if you wish, you may protect the co-signer by voluntarily paying the debt. You may also file Chapter 13 and obtain a stay to protect a co-signer if the debt is a consumer being paid in full.

Is an authorized user on my credit card responsible for my debt of I file bankruptcy?

No, an authorized user is not responsible for a debt on your credit card.

Is there a residency requirement for filing bankruptcy?

Yes, you must file in the state in which you have resided for the majority of the six months preceding the date of the filing.

How does filing bankruptcy affect my credit?

There is a negative impact, but generally not as adverse as people expect. This is because approximately 90% of our clients have bad credit or realize their credit will be bad soon. Consequently, filing bankruptcy means they move from a lot of debt and bad credit, to having bad credit, but being out of debt. Completing your bankruptcy will also put you in a position to start rebuilding your credit. Rebuilding your credit can nearly always be accomplished much quicker than taking years to pay off the debt.

I’ve been paying on my credit cards for years, but the balances remain almost the same. Why?

If you owe just $5,000.00 on a major credit card, at 18% interest, stop using your card entirely and never miss a minimum payment averaging $100.00 per month, it will take you approximately 39 years to pay off the debt. That’s 9 years longer than it would have to pay off a 30 year mortgage on a home.

How long does it take to rebuild my credit?

Generally, in about two or three years, you can rebuild reasonably decent or good credit.

Do I have to list all of my debts?

Yes. However, you can voluntarily pay any creditor if you want. For example, your car or your home.

Do I have to list a credit card with no balance?

No.

What are some things I can do to rebuild my credit?

Paying for a car, a home or even your rent can help. Also, obtaining cash secured credit cards, or retaining zero balanced credit cards will help as well. Borrowing against your own savings and repaying yourself is also an excellent way to rebuild your credit.

What is a secured debt?

A debt is secured when the creditor can take back specific property if you do not make the payments. Most debts that are secured are created when you sign loan papers giving a creditor a security interest in your property.

What are some example of secured debts?

Mortgages, home equity loans, automobile loans, boat loans where you have pledged personal property such as a paid-off motor vehicle as collateral, judicial liens, statutory liens and tax lines are example of secured debts.

What is an unsecured debt?

An unsecured debt is a debt for which you have not pledged any property as security for the loan and a creditor has not filed a lien against the property.

What are some examples of unsecured debt?

Credit card purchases, cash advances, department store credit card purchases, gasoline credit cards, medical bills, bank rent, utility bills, accounting fees, legal fees, child support, alimony, students loans, deficiencies for repossessed vehicles, foreclosed second mortgages, gym dues, and personal loans are all examples of unsecured debt.

Can I file bankruptcy f I am not an American Citizen?

Yes.

Will filing bankruptcy if I am not an American Citizen prevent me from becoming a citizen later?

No.

If I file bankruptcy will my employer be notified?

No. However, if your employer is one of your creditors a bankruptcy notice would be sent to the employer. Also, if you are in a reorganization Chapter 13 and stop your payments, your employer may be notified.

Will filing bankruptcy stop lawsuits and prevent judgments?

Yes.

Will filing bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?

Yes, immediately.

Can a bankruptcy discharge a judgment?

Yes.

Can I discharge debts that have been sold or assigned to a collection agency?

Yes.

If only one spouse files, will the other spouse still be responsible for community obligations?

Yes.

Could I be responsible for a community obligation that is only in my spouse’s name in California?

Yes, because California is a community property-community obligation state.

What factors determine if a husband and wife should file together?

Many factors must be evaluated by your lawyer before making this decision. To name a few, the length of the marriage, the separate assets of the individuals, the assets of the community, when the debts were incurred, the presence or absence of a prenuptial agreement, whether the parties are living together or have separated. Never make this decision without consulting an attorney.

Can I buy real estate after filling bankruptcy?

Yes, generally after about two years or less the bankruptcy has little effect on purchasing real estate particularly if you have taken steps to rebuild your credit.

Will filing bankruptcy stop the repossession of my car?

Yes.

If I file bankruptcy, can I discharge income tax?

Sometimes. This is a complex issue that requires the advice of an attorney.

Can I discharge debts incurred in a state other than where I presently reside?

Yes.

If I filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy before and received a discharge, when can I file again?

Eight years after the date of the previous filing.

Can I file Chapter 13 even if I received a discharge in Chapter 7 less than eight years ago?

Yes.

When can I stop creditor calls?

As soon as you retain our office. From that point the law requires that your creditors deal with us and no longer bother you.

What will a homestead protect?

A homestead will protect a certain amount of equity in your home from your creditors. Consult an attorney to determine if it applies to you and if so, the amount of equity that will be protected in your situation.

How do I decide if I should file a bankruptcy?

This is one of the mist crucial decisions you will ever make. It involves your financial future, your assets, and your opportunity to “start fresh” and rebuild your credit. Never make this decision yourself, or based on the advice of a paralegal. Consult an attorney.

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