Frequently Asked Questions

Yes. Congress has determined that you must complete a credit counseling course prior to filing a Bankruptcy case and a financial management course after filing.

Yes, your spouse is not required to file Bankruptcy with you. However, it is still common that we would need to review your spouse’s income and assets when evaluating your case.

There are three general rules you’ll want to analyze to help determine if you can discharge your tax debt: (1) Must be at least 3 years old; (2) Tax return must have been filed at least 2 years ago; (3) Tax debt must have been assessed 240 days ago.

There is no set amount that a person must owe in order to file for Bankruptcy. For one person, filing for Bankruptcy relief with $10,000.00 of credit card debt might be the best option. On the flip side, another person’s situation might show that filing for Bankruptcy with $10,000.00 of credit card debt isn’t the best option.

You are not legally required to have an attorney to file a Bankruptcy case. However, it is strongly recommended that you speak with a trustworthy Bankruptcy Attorney to assist you in the process. Filing for Bankruptcy is a very detailed and involved process. It is far too common that our office receives a call from a Debtor that filed Bankruptcy on their own and now they need help.

It depends. One of the first things a knowledgeable Bankruptcy Attorney will do is analyze your income and help you determine what options you have. Filing for Bankruptcy requires you to complete the Means Test. This is a standardized test created for the purpose of determining whether you would have any disposable income remaining in order to pay your unsecured debt. If you do, then you will likely need to go the Chapter 13 route. If you don’t, however, there is good chance that you’d qualify to file for Chapter 7 relief.

If you successfully completed a Chapter 7, you can’t file another Chapter 7 for at least 8 years from the prior filing date and can’t file a Chapter 13 for at least 4 years. If you previously successfully completed a Chapter 13, you can’t file another Chapter 13 for at least 2 years from the prior filing date and can’t file a Chapter 7 for at least 6 years.

Speak with a knowledgeable Bankruptcy Attorney to analyze your situation and give you his or her legal advice. This decision will depend on what you are trying to accomplish along with the details of your personal finances.

The most common way to save a home from a foreclosure is by filing for Chapter 13 relief prior to the foreclosure sale date. If successfully done, the automatic stay goes into place, preventing the mortgage company from selling your home.

In 2005, Congress revamped the Bankruptcy Code. One of the major changes to the Code was the addition of the Means Test, a standardized test to prevent high income earners from filling for Chapter 7 relief. The test is used to determine whether you should have disposable income remaining after paying for certain Congress approved expenses. If you do, then the Court requires you to commit those funds in a Chapter 13 payment plan. If not, then the Court allows you to proceed with a Chapter 7 case, assuming you qualify otherwise.

A standard Chapter 7 case lasts anywhere from three to five months and a standard Chapter 13 case generally lasts three to five years.

The Bankruptcy Code does not allow people to pick and choose which debts they are going to “include” in a Bankruptcy case. If you owe money on a credit card, it must be listed as a creditor on your Bankruptcy paperwork.

Nothing in the Bankruptcy Code prevents you from filing Bankruptcy if you own a business. However, depending on which Chapter you file, what type of business you own, how much your business is worth, etc., the effect on that business varies.

For the most part, no. There are rules in place in the Bankruptcy Code that are designed to maintain equality among all creditors. For example, if you owe $5,000.00 to your mom and another $5,000.00 to Visa, paying back the $5,000.00 owed to mom prior to filing Bankruptcy would trigger a preferential payment to mom. In that situation, the Court would have the ability to after mom to recoup some of those funds to split evenly with the other creditors.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a Chapter in the Bankruptcy Code wherein the person filing for the relief authorizes the Court appointed Trustee to liquidate their un-exempted assets and use those funds to pay the creditors. The California Code of Civil Procedure grants certain exemptions on a Debtor’s assets. If everything is exempted, no liquidation occurs. If certain assets are un-exempted, those assets are at risk of being taken from the Debtor, sold, and that money given to the creditors. Ultimately, at the end of the case the Debtor would hope to receive a Discharge, which is a Federal Court Order eliminating the Debtor’s personal obligation to pay back certain debts. The standard Chapter 7 case generally lasts approximately 3-5 months.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a Chapter in the Bankruptcy Code where the person filing for the relief enters into a three-to-five-year Court administered repayment plan to pay back certain debts. They have the legal protection from the Bankruptcy Court during this time and are allowed that time to pay back the certain debts. The amount that the Debtor ultimately pays back depends on several factors, including their income, their assets, and the types of debts they actually have.

As of the writing of this content, the Court filing cost is $338.00 for a Chapter 7 and $313.00 for a Chapter 13. In addition to these costs, the Debtor will need to factor in the attorney fees and the costs associated with taking a credit counseling course and financial management court.

It depends on which Chapter you end up filing and how much equity you actually have in that home. If you file for Chapter 13, it is unlikely the Court would ever take your home. In Chapter 7, however, it would boil down to how much equity you have in the home and whether you can exempt that equity.

Short answer: Yes. However, that should not be the end of the analysis. There are several factors that determine your ultimate credit score. It is quite common that when you actually analyze each of the factors, your credit score will ultimately increase in the long term if you file for Bankruptcy relief.

For the most part, student loans are non-dischargeable if you file Bankruptcy, meaning you’ll still owe the money when the case is over.

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