San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney

11 Reasons Why You Should Choose Us as Your Bankruptcy Attorney

  1. We have 27 years of unmatched experience handling bankruptcy cases for individuals facing high car payments, unmanageable home mortgages payments, credit card debts, and medical bills. Let us provide you with the assistance you need to address your financial matters.

  2. Exclusively handling bankruptcy law makes us better. We’ve handled over 1,000 cases and have helped clients get free from the burden of debts. We know the laws and know the answers. No matter your financial situation, we’ve probably dealt with similar cases and when you retain our firm, you can feel confident that your case is in good hands.

  3. Everyone’s financial situation is different and the best methods for dealing with the situation may vary. We can help you understand all of your options and the process involved. Whether dealing with an individual or a big corporation, we strive to give our clients the personal attention they deserve. Each case is important to us and every client is treated like our only client.

  4. We take great pride in providing our clients with the utmost care and compassion. We know you have a lot of concerns and worries when filing bankruptcy. We focus all our energy addressing your concerns and worries and making you feel like family when you let us handle your case.

  5. Bankruptcy is a complicated field of law that’s constantly changing. For this reason, we stay current with developments in all areas of bankruptcy law. We also have experience in family and divorce laws that might impact your case.

  6. Every potential client that calls us can feel at ease in knowing that we’ll work with them, from start to finish. Once we evaluate your case and determine the best method for dealing with debt, we’ll begin preparing the necessary paperwork on your behalf to help stop or slow down a repossession of your car, home foreclosure, or wage garnishment. Our goal is to provide optimum results no matter your situation.

  7. Our legal fees are flexible, clear, and affordable. We charge a flat fee so there are no hidden fees and you won’t get surprised with unexpected legal bills.

  8. Running up credit card bills, paying friends or family and other fraudulent transfers just before a bankruptcy filing could lead to delay or denial of your case. We can help you identify problem areas in your bankruptcy case and help you understand common mistakes and how to avoid them.

  9. We’ve helped many clients limit their home equity. There are special laws that govern home ownership in the event of a bankruptcy in California. The limit of home equity is $75,000 if you’re a single person under 65 years. Conversely, the maximum of home equity that you can keep is $175,000 if you’re over age 65. Married couples can keep home equity of up to $100,000.

  10. We respect the dedication of the brave service members and veterans. As such, we strive to say thanks for serving and making their lives a little easier when we can. We offer discounts to veterans and members of the military on active duty.

  11. When you need more than just a lawyer, we will be the partner you can trust. Our team takes extra time to get to know our clients on a personal and friendly level. When you’re considering filing for bankruptcy, we’ll work with you to make critical decisions, prepare you for your court date, be in constant communication throughout the process, and ensure that your creditors are not harassing you.

We are very proud of the services we provide and how we help clients resolve their financial issues. Our office offers a complimentary, in-person, no-obligation consultation with experienced attorneys who can professionally advise you on your best course of action. Contact us today at 619-488-6168 to begin the journey to a fresh financial future.

Bankruptcy Basics in San Diego

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal process through which a person who is struggling to make payments on his/her debts and/or bills, is able to gain financial relief. The legal right to file for bankruptcy is a right provided by federal legislation, thus all bankruptcy cases in California are dealt with by the federal court system. Filing for bankruptcy not only provides you with long term relief, it also helps you gain breathing room in the short term, as filing for bankruptcy automatically stops creditors from attempting to collect any money you might owe, until your debt situation has been handled in court.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Declaring Bankruptcy

There are many advantages to declaring bankruptcy in California. Bankruptcy may allow you to eliminate most or even all of your debts, depending on your unique financial situation. Declaring bankruptcy may help you prevent the repossession of vital property in your life, such as your car or other motor vehicle. It may also help you stop foreclosure on your home, and stop debt collection services from harassing you and/or garnishing your wages. Also, as mentioned in the paragraph above, declaring bankruptcy will relieve you from any immediate debts, as the court system will issue you an automatic stay. Lastly, bankruptcy laws make it illegal for employers to discriminate against you for declaring bankruptcy, so doing so shouldn’t have a negative effect on your employment future.

However, nothing in life is without consequences, and there are certain drawbacks associated with declaring bankruptcy that one should be aware of before entering the process. Declaring bankruptcy will not eliminate all of your debts, such as your recent back taxes or fines currently owed to any government agencies. Also, filing for bankruptcy will have a negative effect on your future credit score. This may make it more difficult to secure a loan for a car or for a home in upcoming years. Additionally, your bankruptcy filing will have to made public record by law, meaning anyone can request a copy of your filings and examine the details of your bankruptcy. Lastly, shady credit lenders have been known to target people who have recently declared bankruptcy, so you may be targeted if you do end up filing for bankruptcy.

Types of Bankruptcy

In California, there are two basic kinds of bankruptcy available to people looking for financial relief: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each of these two forms of bankruptcy is associated with certain benefits and drawbacks, depending on your unique financial situation.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also referred to as liquidation bankruptcy, gives a person the ability to discharge their debts and gain a fresh start, if they meet the qualifications for Chapter 7.  After filing your bankruptcy petition, you will be given a hearing date, usually within 1 to 2 months. At this hearing, a trustee will first make a decision on whether or not you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. While the process a trustee employs to make that decision is too complex to explain in full detail here, generally the decision is based on your active income. If you currently earn lower than the median income of Californians with households of a similar size, then you will be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you currently earn higher than the median income of Californians with households of a similar size, then the trustee will use a means test to determine your eligibility.

If you fully qualify for Chapter 7, then the trustee is granted the power to seize all of your assets and sell them to recuperate the losses incurred by your debts, except assets which are exempt under California law. Since California maintains relatively generous exemption laws, most people won’t have to give up important pieces of property, such as a house or a car. The money netted by the liquidation of your assets is then redistributed to your creditors in order to pay back as much of your debts as possible. Also, the trustee takes a small commission for handling the sale and distribution. Note that certain kinds of debt can’t be discharged through Chapter 7, such as child support, alimony, student loans, or a few other kinds of debt. Usually, a person filing through Chapter 7 is someone with substantial credit card debt, and not a lot of assets. For these type of people, Chapter 7 is a highly effective way of eliminating debt, in fact most people in this situation are able to have all of their debt eliminated within 3-4 months.

It costs a total of $306 to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 in the state of California.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you find that you aren’t eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you can try and file via the Chapter 13 route. While Chapter 7 is a quick debt-relief option that allows you to discharge most or all of your debts within a period of a few months, Chapter 13 allows you to reorganize your debt over a much longer period of time, usually somewhere from 3-5 years.

Through Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you and the trustee assigned to you will conjointly create a plan to pay off most or all of your debt over 3-5 years, with the length of the plan depending on the amount of debt you have accrued. To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must maintain a source of regular income that can be used to repay your debts. This plan will obligate you to make monthly payments to the trustee, who will distribute this money to your creditors. If you follow the agreement and make all of your payments on-time, then the rest of your debt will be discharged at the end of the plan. The advantage of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it can allow you to hold onto secured assets that might otherwise be liquidated through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

It costs $281 to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 in the state of California.

Note: There are two other forms of bankruptcy available: Chapter 11 and Chapter 12. However Chapter 11 is used almost exclusively by businesses, and is only used by individuals with very large debts and assets. Chapter 12 bankruptcy is reserved only for family farmers, and cannot be utilized by individual debtors.

How to File for Bankruptcy in California

The first step to filing bankruptcy in San Diego is to collect the required legal documentation. This includes your recently filed tax returns, a list of all your bank accounts, valid identification, proof of ownership of valuable assets, and evidence of your income stream. Next, before entering the bankruptcy legal process, you are required by California law to participate in a credit counseling service that has been approved by the California court system. This service will assist you in reviewing your financial predicament and help you decide if you want to pursue bankruptcy. This step is not optional, a failure to participate in credit counseling will result in your case being dismissed. The last step is to consult a bankruptcy attorney, who can guide you through the bankruptcy process. While some people do file for bankruptcy without legal help, the success rate for such cases is less than 1%.

We Understand Your Needs

The costs of living in San Diego and Southern California are higher than in most other parts of the US, and therefore, when financial hardships strike those living in our region, the effects can be felt that much more acutely.

If you lose your job, suffer a pay cut or demotion, suffer an accidental injury, are going through a divorce, or have simply been hit with unexpected expenses that are overwhelming you financially, bankruptcy may be a way to get a fresh start.

No one wants to declare bankruptcy, but when other measures fail and your financial situation becomes chronically impossible to manage - when you are buried in debt you could never reasonably hope to pay off; then, it's time to consider bankruptcy as an option.

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help you better understand California bankruptcy law and how it would apply in your specific situation. Bankruptcy may be able to eliminate your dischargeable debts, prevent wage garnishment or bank levies, save your home and/or car, and stop creditors' from bombarding you with collection phone calls.

We can help you weigh your options and make an informed decision on your best path forward financially.

Contact Us Today for Immediate Assistance!

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we stand ready to take your call for help. We have assisted many others in San Diego, Southern California, and beyond in getting out from under impossible debt and getting on their feet again financially. We can do the same for you.

Call us today at 619-488-6168 for a free, no-obligation bankruptcy consultation and immediate attention to your case.

Or, feel free to visit us for an in person consultation at our office located at 750 B Street, Suite #2530, right here in San Diego.

Testimonials

Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney

Great bankruptcy attorney that will help resolve your matter. If you need someone experienced go with this law firm. - Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyer

John R. of San Diego

It was a difficult decision to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but with a home foreclosure looming, I had little choice. San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney helped me make the right decision and ensured the details of how I filed were to my maximum benefit.

Our Practice Areas

We at San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney have extensive experience in all types of California bankruptcies and in all the various issues that often arise during bankruptcy, debt settlement, and related matters.
Here are some of our most important and commonly dealt with practice areas (but note that this list is exemplary and not exhaustive):

Financial difficulty is not something that a person chooses to experience. The increasing cost of living, a job loss, demotion, or a pay cut can affect a person financially. People who suffer injuries in accidents are also forced to make difficult financial decisions. When such unexpected changes or expenses become overwhelming, bankruptcy may seem like the best way out for most people. At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we have a dedicated team of competent attorneys who are ready to help you understand California bankruptcy laws better and what to do if you want to file for bankruptcy.

Understanding the different types of bankruptcy that you can file, the options you have, how it works, and also the discharge of debts is essential. Our experience in the industry helps us offer quality assistance and advice to ensure that you are making the right decisions. Therefore, if you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, get in touch with us.

 

Understanding California Bankruptcy Laws

Bankruptcy refers to the legal process over which anyone that is in a tight financial situation can go through to find relief. If you are struggling to pay your debts or bills, bankruptcy could be the best solution for you to gain a financial reprieve. In the state of California, everyone has a legal right to petition the court for bankruptcy. The federal laws are what provide this right. It means that national court systems are what handle all cases related to bankruptcy in the state of California.

Filing for bankruptcy is not only meant to give a person long-term financial relief but also a short-term relief. Creditors automatically stop expecting payments from you until the court determines your debt issue.

Filing for bankruptcy in the state of California comes with many benefits. It helps a person to eliminate most, and sometimes all of their debts. The financial situation of the person determines this. It will also prevent repossession of some of the most important properties you own, like your car. Also, it could help avoid foreclosure on your house as well as endless calls from debt collectors.

There are drawbacks to this legal process, for instance, debts that you cannot eliminate through bankruptcy, such as taxes, and fines owed to government agencies. Again, filing for bankruptcy affects your credit score. You may find it challenging to obtain a loan in the coming years.

With that in mind, it is essential to understand the different types of bankruptcies one can file in California. There are two main types of bankruptcies for people seeking to enjoy financial relief: Chapters 7 and 13. Each of them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, depending on a person’s financial situation.

California Bankruptcy Chapter 7 is the liquidation type of bankruptcy, which gives the person an ability to eliminate all their obligations and start again in life. You have to qualify for this type of bankruptcy, however. After sending a bankruptcy petition to the court, the applicant gets a hearing date, which is usually within 1-2 months. Depending on your active income, you may or may not qualify for California bankruptcy under Chapter 7. 

If your income is less than the average income of similar-sized households in the state, you may be qualified for this type of bankruptcy. If you are fully eligible, the bankruptcy trustee will receive the power to sell off all your assets and pay off all your debts. All debts will be paid off except for those that are exempt under California laws.

California Bankruptcy Chapter 13, on the other hand, allows a person to reorganize and pay off their debts over a more extended period. This time could be between three and five years, depending on how much you owe in debts. Your bankruptcy trustees, in this case, will help you come up with a payment plan, through which you will pay off most or all of your debts. The primary qualification for this type of bankruptcy is a regular income that can pay off your debts.

 

Dischargeable and Non Dischargeable Debts

As mentioned above, bankruptcy is a way to manage debts for many people so that they can start again in life. However, you cannot eliminate all debts through this process. There are two types of obligations in the bankruptcy process: the dischargeable and non dischargeable debts. Dischargeable debts are those that you could eliminate through the process. Non dischargeable debts are those that can survive the bankruptcy discharge.

Dischargeable Debts: these are the types of debts that can quickly be wiped out through bankruptcy discharge. When the bankruptcy court grants you discharge, you are no longer required to pay off any of those debts. It also means that creditors will stop calling you or sending collectors to harass you over unpaid debts. Some of these debts include:

  • Credit card debts
  • Medical bills
  • Personal loans obtained from family members, friends, or other sources
  • Utility bills that are past due

However, there is always much confusion about whether or not the court will discharge an ongoing account. What happens to a bill such as a utility bill that comes after you have filed for bankruptcy?

In most cases, the court will consider the filing date before discharging that kind of debt. The new bills that a person incurs after filing for bankruptcy, also called post-petition debts, do not get removed. It means that the person will be expected to pay them. The only obligations the court could eliminate are those that existed before you filed for bankruptcy, also called pre-petition debts.

Non dischargeable debts: These are the types of debts that you cannot eliminate through bankruptcy. They are, for instance, taxes, including federal, local and state taxes, student loans, alimony, child support, and money obtained from credit cards to pay taxes. If a creditor does not agree to the discharge, a person filing for California bankruptcy will still have some debts to repay even after the court grants their bankruptcy petition.

Any debt that arises from a divorce, marital settlement, and obligations incurred through fraudulent actions are some of those that cannot be discharged. Others are debts accumulated from malicious deeds to other people or their property, theft, debts accumulated from embezzlement, and from breaching fiduciary responsibilities.

 

How Are Non Dischargeable Debts Determined?

Non dischargeable debts come from a debtor's act of malfeasance. An act of malfeasance, in this case, refers to outright sabotage on the part of the debtor, which results in intentional damage. Anyone that incurs losses by acts of malfeasance is allowed by law to pursue settlement through a civil lawsuit. Other non dischargeable debts stem from errors of omission, for instance, unscheduled debts. These are debts that were not listed down in the insolvency petition. If such obligations exist, the court may not exclude them. This is so especially if creditors were aware that you were filing for bankruptcy and did not take any action.

Under California bankruptcy Chapter 7, there are other types of non dischargeable debts. These may include payments that the debtor owed a person that suffered personal injuries as a result of their negligence. If the debtor was driving a car while intoxicated, for instance, then caused an accident in which a person suffered a severe injury. If the debtor still owes the injured party part or the full amount of the compensation, it will be non dischargeable during bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy courts also allow creditors to disagree with charges that their debtors want to remove through bankruptcies. If the court accepts such an objection, those debts will fall under the category of non dischargeable debts. Such charges could include purchases the debtor made for luxury goods, which exceed a certain amount of money, at the expense of a single creditor. The costs might be excluded from discharge if the debt occurred within three months of the liquidation filing.

The debtor can have such a debt discharged, though, but only if they prove to the court that the items purchased were not extravagant items also if they intended to repay the debt. 

Other non dischargeable debts are cash advances that exceed a certain amount that was obtained within seventy days of the insolvency filing.

Also, there are instances when a court can declare the debts as non dischargeable under Chapter 7. Such situations are when it is established that the debtor destroyed financial records to hide the debts, transferred properties to protect them from creditors, or if the debtor is unable to account for some missing assets or if he/she failed to complete a course on personal finance management.

Lastly, if the debtor had previously petitioned for insolvency and had all their debts discharged, their obligations could be declared no dischargeable in their most recent bankruptcy. It, however, depends on the kind of bankruptcy one is filing and the length of time between the two bankruptcy processes.

 

Barriers to Debt Discharge Under Chapter 7

As mentioned above, bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is the most preferred type of bankruptcy by most debtors in the state of California. Going through the process is very easy for many people. However, having all your debts discharged is not always a sure thing. Specific barriers could see some of your debts becoming non dischargeable. Some of these are:

  • If a debtor fails to follow court rules and the entire procedure. Bankruptcy courts are stringent on the process and court rules. Failing to adhere to the set rules will, for instance, cause the court to deny your petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. If this happens, you will be left to deal with all your debts, even those that the court could have discharged under this type of bankruptcy.
  • Some of your debts do not qualify for discharge: as mentioned earlier, there are certain types of debts that automatically fall under the category of non dischargeable debts. Some of these debts are not to be discharged as a matter of public policy. These are debts that should not be eliminated unless there is an extraordinary reason for it. If you have debts falling under this category, you will have to pay them even after the court has declared you bankrupt.

Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 laws, however, allow the debtor to challenge the elimination of some of these debts during the bankruptcy proceeding. If their creditors do not object to the discharge, and the court agrees, the court may discharge the debts.

 

Grounds for Discharge Denial in Bankruptcy Under Chapter 7

In Bankruptcy Chapter 7, a debtor does not always have a complete right to debt discharge. To get a discharge on some or all of their debts, they must fulfill specific requirements provided by the bankruptcy law. If the debtor does not follow the provided rules or fails to provide all the mandatory information, his/her creditor or the bankruptcy trustee can refute to the entire discharge provided under Chapter 7. Here are some of the reasons the court might deny you Chapter 7 discharge:

  • If you fail to produce all the required tax documents
  • If you do not complete a task on personal financial management, as mentioned above
  • If you transfer some or most of your assets to hide them and hinder or defraud your creditors
  • If you destroy or protect financial records so that your creditors may not know precisely what you have and how much income you are receiving
  • If you commit perjury and other fraudulent deeds in connection with the bankruptcy case
  • If you are unable to account for assets you claim to have lost
  • If you violate court orders
  • If you had previously filed for bankruptcy and debt discharge was granted

 

Other Debts That Are Permanently Non Dischargeable Under Chapter 7

In addition to the debts mentioned above as non dischargeable, additional obligations are always non dischargeable under Chapter 7. Note that only in extraordinary circumstances will the court discharge these debts:

  • Taxes
  • Debts the debtor owes tax-advantaged retirement plans
  • Debts owed to specific cooperative or condominium housing fees
  • Attorney fees from such cases as child support and custody
  • Court penalties and fines, as well as criminal restitution

However, it is possible to eliminate tax debts in a bankruptcy case, though it is not always as easy as it sounds. Most tax debts are nondischargeable, but a debtor can still discharge his/her federal income taxes under bankruptcy Chapter 7. It is only possible if the following the debtor meets the following conditions:

  • That the only fees you owe are income taxes: Other taxes such as fraud penalties and payroll taxes cannot be discharged in a California bankruptcy case.
  • That you did not willfully evade paying taxes or commit any fraud concerning the payment of taxes: For instance, if you filed a false tax return, or you willfully attempted to avoid paying taxes, the court may not be able to help you discharge tax debts.
  • That the tax debt is three years old as a minimum: The court can only discharge a tax debt that was initially due, as a minimum, three years before the filing of the bankruptcy petition.
  • That you filed a tax return: There is a chance to have your tax debts discharged if there is proof that you had filed a tax return for that debt. The tax return should have been presented at least two years before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. Note that most courts will consider a late file for tax returns as a failed file and will, therefore, not discharge that debt.
  • That you exceeded the 240-day requirement: This requirement states that an income tax debt must be assessed by the IRS at least 240 days before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. The court may still be considerate if the IRS had not done the assessment yet.

 

Debts That Become Non Dischargeable After a Creditor Objects

As mentioned earlier, some debts are not automatically discharged in a bankruptcy case. Sometimes creditors could request the court to decide whether or not their debts are dischargeable. If the creditor does not bring up the issue of dischargeable debts, or if the creditor brings up the issue, and the court doesn’t agree, the court will not discharge the debts. Some of these debts include:

  • Cash advances: if a debtor obtained a cash advance of more than $1000 from a creditor within 70 days of filing the bankruptcy petition, the court will consider such a debt fraudulent and will, therefore, not discharge it.
  • Purchase of luxurious goods through credit cards. When the debtor spent more than $725 of credit card debt within 90 days of filing the bankruptcy petition, the court will consider this debt as fraudulent and hence, non dischargeable. Note that the creditor will be expected to present the facts of such a case in court as a form of a lawsuit.
  • Debts that were fraudulently obtained or through pretense. In most cases, the debtor has no intention of paying back such obligations, and so, the court will not discharge them.
  • Debts incurred from malicious and willful injuries. If the debtor intentionally injured another person and was required to pay restitution to that person, that court will not discharge that debt. The same will be the case if a person intentionally destroyed another person's property

 

Find a San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me

Filing for bankruptcy is the right way of dealing with debts. However, the process is a little complicated and could be difficult for a person that is going through it for the first time. At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we help our clients understand how bankruptcy works. We also take them through the process to ensure that they meet their needs in the end.                                        Call us at 619-488-6168, and let us help you get out of debt.

Financial difficulty is not something that a person chooses to experience. The increasing cost of living, a job loss, demotion, or a pay cut can affect a person financially. People who suffer injuries in accidents are also forced to make difficult financial decisions. When such unexpected changes or expenses become overwhelming, bankruptcy may seem like the best way out for most people. At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we have a dedicated team of competent attorneys who are ready to help you understand California bankruptcy laws better and what to do if you want to file for bankruptcy.

Understanding the different types of bankruptcy that you can file, the options you have, how it works, and also the discharge of debts is essential. Our experience in the industry helps us offer quality assistance and advice to ensure that you are making the right decisions. Therefore, if you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy, get in touch with us.

 

Understanding California Bankruptcy Laws

Bankruptcy refers to the legal process over which anyone that is in a tight financial situation can go through to find relief. If you are struggling to pay your debts or bills, bankruptcy could be the best solution for you to gain a financial reprieve. In the state of California, everyone has a legal right to petition the court for bankruptcy. The federal laws are what provide this right. It means that national court systems are what handle all cases related to bankruptcy in the state of California.

Filing for bankruptcy is not only meant to give a person long-term financial relief but also a short-term relief. Creditors automatically stop expecting payments from you until the court determines your debt issue.

Filing for bankruptcy in the state of California comes with many benefits. It helps a person to eliminate most, and sometimes all of their debts. The financial situation of the person determines this. It will also prevent repossession of some of the most important properties you own, like your car. Also, it could help avoid foreclosure on your house as well as endless calls from debt collectors.

There are drawbacks to this legal process, for instance, debts that you cannot eliminate through bankruptcy, such as taxes, and fines owed to government agencies. Again, filing for bankruptcy affects your credit score. You may find it challenging to obtain a loan in the coming years.

With that in mind, it is essential to understand the different types of bankruptcies one can file in California. There are two main types of bankruptcies for people seeking to enjoy financial relief: Chapters 7 and 13. Each of them has its own set of advantages and disadvantages, depending on a person’s financial situation.

California Bankruptcy Chapter 7 is the liquidation type of bankruptcy, which gives the person an ability to eliminate all their obligations and start again in life. You have to qualify for this type of bankruptcy, however. After sending a bankruptcy petition to the court, the applicant gets a hearing date, which is usually within 1-2 months. Depending on your active income, you may or may not qualify for California bankruptcy under Chapter 7. 

If your income is less than the average income of similar-sized households in the state, you may be qualified for this type of bankruptcy. If you are fully eligible, the bankruptcy trustee will receive the power to sell off all your assets and pay off all your debts. All debts will be paid off except for those that are exempt under California laws.

California Bankruptcy Chapter 13, on the other hand, allows a person to reorganize and pay off their debts over a more extended period. This time could be between three and five years, depending on how much you owe in debts. Your bankruptcy trustees, in this case, will help you come up with a payment plan, through which you will pay off most or all of your debts. The primary qualification for this type of bankruptcy is a regular income that can pay off your debts.

 

Dischargeable and Non-Dischargeable Debts

As mentioned above, bankruptcy is a way to manage debts for many people so that they can start again in life. However, you cannot eliminate all debts through this process. There are two types of obligations in the bankruptcy process: the dischargeable and non-dischargeable debts. Dischargeable debts are those that you could eliminate through the process. Non-dischargeable debts are those that can survive the bankruptcy discharge.

Dischargeable Debts: these are the types of debts that can quickly be wiped out through bankruptcy discharge. When the bankruptcy court grants you discharge, you are no longer required to pay off any of those debts. It also means that creditors will stop calling you or sending collectors to harass you over unpaid debts. Some of these debts include:

  • Credit card debts
  • Medical bills
  • Personal loans obtained from family members, friends, or other sources
  • Utility bills that are past due

However, there is always much confusion about whether or not the court will discharge an ongoing account. What happens to a bill such as a utility bill that comes after you have filed for bankruptcy?

In most cases, the court will consider the filing date before discharging that kind of debt. The new bills that a person incurs after filing for bankruptcy, also called post-petition debts, do not get removed. It means that the person will be expected to pay them. The only obligations the court could eliminate are those that existed before you filed for bankruptcy, also called pre-petition debts.

Non-dischargeable debts: These are the types of debts that you cannot eliminate through bankruptcy. They are, for instance, taxes, including federal, local and state taxes, student loans, alimony, child support, and money obtained from credit cards to pay taxes. If a creditor does not agree to the discharge, a person filing for California bankruptcy will still have some debts to repay even after the court grants their bankruptcy petition.

Any debt that arises from a divorce, marital settlement, and obligations incurred through fraudulent actions are some of those that cannot be discharged. Others are debts accumulated from malicious deeds to other people or their property, theft, debts accumulated from embezzlement, and from breaching fiduciary responsibilities.

 

How Are Non-Dischargeable Debts Determined?

Non-dischargeable debts come from a debtor's act of malfeasance. An act of malfeasance, in this case, refers to outright sabotage on the part of the debtor, which results in intentional damage. Anyone that incurs losses by acts of malfeasance is allowed by law to pursue settlement through a civil lawsuit. Other non-dischargeable debts stem from errors of omission, for instance, unscheduled debts. These are debts that were not listed down in the insolvency petition. If such obligations exist, the court may not exclude them. This is so especially if creditors were aware that you were filing for bankruptcy and did not take any action.

Under California bankruptcy Chapter 7, there are other types of non-dischargeable debts. These may include payments that the debtor owed a person that suffered personal injuries as a result of their negligence. If the debtor was driving a car while intoxicated, for instance, then caused an accident in which a person suffered a severe injury. If the debtor still owes the injured party part or the full amount of the compensation, it will be non-dischargeable during bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy courts also allow creditors to disagree with charges that their debtors want to remove through bankruptcies. If the court accepts such an objection, those debts will fall under the category of non-dischargeable debts. Such charges could include purchases the debtor made for luxury goods, which exceed a certain amount of money, at the expense of a single creditor. The costs might be excluded from discharge if the debt occurred within three months of the liquidation filing.

The debtor can have such a debt discharged, though, but only if they prove to the court that the items purchased were not extravagant items also if they intended to repay the debt. 

Other non-dischargeable debts are cash advances that exceed a certain amount that was obtained within seventy days of the insolvency filing.

Also, there are instances when a court can declare the debts as non-dischargeable under Chapter 7. Such situations are when it is established that the debtor destroyed financial records to hide the debts, transferred properties to protect them from creditors, or if the debtor is unable to account for some missing assets or if he/she failed to complete a course on personal finance management.

Lastly, if the debtor had previously petitioned for insolvency and had all their debts discharged, their obligations could be declared no dischargeable in their most recent bankruptcy. It, however, depends on the kind of bankruptcy one is filing and the length of time between the two bankruptcy processes.

 

Barriers to Debt Discharge Under Chapter 7

As mentioned above, bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is the most preferred type of bankruptcy by most debtors in the state of California. Going through the process is very easy for many people. However, having all your debts discharged is not always a sure thing. Specific barriers could see some of your debts becoming non-dischargeable. Some of these are:

  • If a debtor fails to follow court rules and the entire procedure. Bankruptcy courts are stringent on the process and court rules. Failing to adhere to the set rules will, for instance, cause the court to deny your petition for bankruptcy under Chapter 7. If this happens, you will be left to deal with all your debts, even those that the court could have discharged under this type of bankruptcy.
  • Some of your debts do not qualify for discharge: as mentioned earlier, there are certain types of debts that automatically fall under the category of non-dischargeable debts. Some of these debts are not to be discharged as a matter of public policy. These are debts that should not be eliminated unless there is an extraordinary reason for it. If you have debts falling under this category, you will have to pay them even after the court has declared you bankrupt.

Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 laws, however, allow the debtor to challenge the elimination of some of these debts during the bankruptcy proceeding. If their creditors do not object to the discharge, and the court agrees, the court may discharge the debts.

 

Grounds for Discharge Denial in Bankruptcy Under Chapter 7

In Bankruptcy Chapter 7, a debtor does not always have a complete right to debt discharge. To get a discharge on some or all of their debts, they must fulfill specific requirements provided by the bankruptcy law. If the debtor does not follow the provided rules or fails to provide all the mandatory information, his/her creditor or the bankruptcy trustee can refute to the entire discharge provided under Chapter 7. Here are some of the reasons the court might deny you Chapter 7 discharge:

  • If you fail to produce all the required tax documents
  • If you do not complete a task on personal financial management, as mentioned above
  • If you transfer some or most of your assets to hide them and hinder or defraud your creditors
  • If you destroy or protect financial records so that your creditors may not know precisely what you have and how much income you are receiving
  • If you commit perjury and other fraudulent deeds in connection with the bankruptcy case
  • If you are unable to account for assets you claim to have lost
  • If you violate court orders
  • If you had previously filed for bankruptcy and debt discharge was granted

 

Other Debts That Are Permanently Non-Dischargeable Under Chapter 7

In addition to the debts mentioned above as non-dischargeable, additional obligations are always non-dischargeable under Chapter 7. Note that only in extraordinary circumstances will the court discharge these debts:

  • Taxes
  • Debts the debtor owes tax-advantaged retirement plans
  • Debts owed to specific cooperative or condominium housing fees
  • Attorney fees from such cases as child support and custody
  • Court penalties and fines, as well as criminal restitution

However, it is possible to eliminate tax debts in a bankruptcy case, though it is not always as easy as it sounds. Most tax debts are nondischargeable, but a debtor can still discharge his/her federal income taxes under bankruptcy Chapter 7. It is only possible if the following the debtor meets the following conditions:

  • That the only fees you owe are income taxes: Other taxes such as fraud penalties and payroll taxes cannot be discharged in a California bankruptcy case.
  • That you did not willfully evade paying taxes or commit any fraud concerning the payment of taxes: For instance, if you filed a false tax return, or you willfully attempted to avoid paying taxes, the court may not be able to help you discharge tax debts.
  • That the tax debt is three years old as a minimum: The court can only discharge a tax debt that was initially due, as a minimum, three years before the filing of the bankruptcy petition.
  • That you filed a tax return: There is a chance to have your tax debts discharged if there is proof that you had filed a tax return for that debt. The tax return should have been presented at least two years before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. Note that most courts will consider a late file for tax returns as a failed file and will, therefore, not discharge that debt.
  • That you exceeded the 240-day requirement: This requirement states that an income tax debt must be assessed by the IRS at least 240 days before the filing of the bankruptcy petition. The court may still be considerate if the IRS had not done the assessment yet.

 

Debts That Become Non-Dischargeable After a Creditor Objects

As mentioned earlier, some debts are not automatically discharged in a bankruptcy case. Sometimes creditors could request the court to decide whether or not their debts are dischargeable. If the creditor does not bring up the issue of dischargeable debts, or if the creditor brings up the issue, and the court doesn’t agree, the court will not discharge the debts. Some of these debts include:

  • Cash advances: if a debtor obtained a cash advance of more than $1000 from a creditor within 70 days of filing the bankruptcy petition, the court will consider such a debt fraudulent and will, therefore, not discharge it.
  • Purchase of luxurious goods through credit cards. When the debtor spent more than $725 of credit card debt within 90 days of filing the bankruptcy petition, the court will consider this debt as fraudulent and hence, non-dischargeable. Note that the creditor will be expected to present the facts of such a case in court as a form of a lawsuit.
  • Debts that were fraudulently obtained or through pretense. In most cases, the debtor has no intention of paying back such obligations, and so, the court will not discharge them.
  • Debts incurred from malicious and willful injuries. If the debtor intentionally injured another person and was required to pay restitution to that person, that court will not discharge that debt. The same will be the case if a person intentionally destroyed another person's property

 

Find a San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney Near Me

Filing for bankruptcy is the right way of dealing with debts. However, the process is a little complicated and could be difficult for a person that is going through it for the first time. At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we help our clients understand how bankruptcy works. We also take them through the process to ensure that they meet their needs in the end. Call us at 619-488-6168, and let us help you get out of debt.

Bankruptcy refers to a federal court procedure that enables consumers and businesses to get rid of their outstanding debts and to repay their creditors. Bankruptcies mainly fall under two categories: reorganizations and liquidations. If you can prove that you qualify for bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court will protect you from your creditors. The process of filing for bankruptcy is not only complicated but also emotional. Usually, the process entails more procedures and commitments than most people understand. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, the San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney can help you to know if it is the right step for you.  Before you file for bankruptcy, it is essential to understand what bankruptcy can do and cannot do for you. 

 

Overview of Bankruptcy

The first step while filing for bankruptcy entails understanding bankruptcy. After gaining understanding, you will be able to know whether bankruptcy can help you out of your financial situation. At times, you may even find that your financial situation does not require you to file for bankruptcy.  When you are considering filing for bankruptcy, you should consider a wide range of factors. First, it is crucial to consider your options. You may choose between the two most common forms of bankruptcies for individuals; chapter 7 bankruptcy and chapter 13 bankruptcy.  If you decide to file for chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may be able to clear most of your debts in a period of three months to six months. However, it is crucial to understand that you may lose some of your personal property. If you choose to file for bankruptcy under chapter 13, you may undergo a more complicated bankruptcy process than chapter 7. You will have to come up with a defined payment plan depending on your income. You may have your debts spread over the next several years. 

 

Eligibility

It is important to note that bankruptcy is not for everyone. It is advisable to consider your financial situation carefully before you finally make a decision. You may find that it is simple to fix your financial challenges with a few changes without filing for bankruptcy. You also have to ensure that you are eligible to file for bankruptcy that you intend to file. To file certain types of bankruptcies under California law, you have to meet certain conditions. For instance, if your income is high enough to pay off your debts, you may not be eligible to file for bankruptcy under chapter 7. On the other hand, if your income is low and you have heavy debts, you may not be able to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy under California law. With low income, you cannot prove that you can honor a repayment plan under chapter 13, making you ineligible for chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

 

What to Expect

When considering bankruptcy, it is essential to understand that some of your debts will remain. For instance, even if you file for bankruptcy, you may still have to pay some debts like child support. You may also have to pay some other debts like tax debts and alimony. It is not possible to wipe out these debts through chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

An important aspect when considering bankruptcy is to consider the impact it will have on your property. For instance, figure out what will happen to your home when you file for bankruptcy. For instance, you may relax after filing for bankruptcy because you will not struggle with mortgage payments. However, you should understand that after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may lose your house. If you have adequate income to commit to a payment plan, you may file for chapter 13 bankruptcy and include the mortgage payments in the repayment plan. 

What will happen to other property other than your house when you file for bankruptcy? What happens to your property after you file for bankruptcy will depend on whether you had committed the property as collateral. What happens to your property will also depend on the applicable property exemption laws. If you had put up security as collateral for a loan, a creditor might be able to recover the security even after you file for bankruptcy. For instance, if you had put up your vehicle as collateral for a loan, you may lose the car even after filing for bankruptcy. 

Will bankruptcy clear all your credit card debts? If you had provided the wrong information when applying for a credit card, bankruptcy might not be able to cater to the credit card debt. In addition, if you spend beyond your means on the credit card, filing for bankruptcy may not help you wipe out the debts.

After filing for bankruptcy under California law, you should expect to open up on your personal life.  You have to prove in bankruptcy court that you qualify for bankruptcy. Therefore, you have to reveal every aspect of your financial life in court.  Other people may also come to learn about your bankruptcy. If you file for bankruptcy under chapter 7, you may have to surrender some of your assets for sale and pay your creditors. If you file for bankruptcy under chapter 13, you will have to seek approval on how to spend your money over the next few years, even if you are the one who earned money. 

 

Bankruptcy Proceedings

In California and the entire U.S, bankruptcy has a dedicated system of court throughout the whole state. In the United States, every judicial district has its bankruptcy court. On the other hand, every state has at least one judicial district. This means that every state in the United States has a bankruptcy court, and some states have several bankruptcy courts. 

Once you are sure that you intend to file for bankruptcy, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the process. The attorney helps you to gather all the necessary documentation before presenting your bankruptcy case in court.  As the debtor, you will have very little interaction with the bankruptcy judge.  In most cases, most people filing for bankruptcy, especially under chapter 7, do not go to court at all. You may only have to proceed to court if there is an objection to the bankruptcy plan.  If you are filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may have to appear in court at least once at the bankruptcy plan hearing. You and your bankruptcy attorney may also attend the informal meeting of the creditors. The meeting takes place out of court at the trustee's office. 

Under California bankruptcy law, judges have the legal authority to make binding decisions in bankruptcy cases.  The judges will have the mandate to make bankruptcy eligibility decisions and decide whether to grant a debt discharge. However, most of the bankruptcy proceedings will take place out of court. Legally appointed trustees will carry out the administrative duties in chapter 7, chapter 13, or other bankruptcies.

 

Choosing a Bankruptcy Option

Under California law, the most common types of bankruptcies include chapter 7, chapter 13, chapter 11, chapter 12, and chapter 9 bankruptcies.  However, the typical bankruptcies for which an individual can file are chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy.

 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

This bankruptcy also goes by the name' liquidation in the code'. This is because it entails selling most of your assets in cash or liquidating your assets to pay creditors. However, some limits govern the liquidation of assets per bankruptcy exemptions.  If you file for bankruptcy under chapter 7, you will have minimal non-exempt property. It may be impossible to dispose of some of your assets to pay debts, including your clothes, your vehicle, and the furniture in your home. 

While filing for bankruptcy under chapter 7, there is a difference in how you treat secured debts and unsecured debts.  For secured debt, you will have to make some decisions. You may choose to allow the creditor to repossess the asset used as collateral. You may also choose to continue making debt payments to the creditor even after filing for bankruptcy. You may also choose to pay the creditor a sum of money that is equal to the replacement value of the property used as collateral for the debt. However, it is important to note that you may be able to wipe out some secured debts after filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

 

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy also goes by the name wage earner bankruptcy proceeding. This is because you can only file for this form of bankruptcy if you have adequate income to make monthly loan payments.  If you choose to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will work with the court to come up with a debt repayment plan. You will stick to the debt repayment plan over the next couple of years. The repayment plan and the amount you will have to pay will depend on your financial capability and the amount of debt outstanding.

For you to be eligible to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to prove that your debt is within the limits of filing.  For instance, the limit for secured debt is $1,010,650, while the limit for unsecured debt is $336,900.  If your debts exceed the set amounts for secured debt and unsecured debt, you may not be able to file for bankruptcy under chapter 13. 

After filing for bankruptcy under chapter 13, you may be able to make payments for your secured debts without losing the property used as collateral. You will be able to keep the property used as collateral, even if you are behind on payments. You do not have to struggle with your past due payments. Instead, you can put the payments into a debt repayment plan and then pay them over several years. 

 

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is the best option for struggling businesses. After filing for bankruptcy under chapter 11, a business can organize its affairs and pay outstanding debts. As an individual, you may opt to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy if you are not able to file for bankruptcy under chapter 13. You may also file for chapter 11 bankruptcy if you own vast non-exemption-exempt properties like multiple homes. However, you should be aware that filing for bankruptcy under chapter 11 can be more time-consuming than filing for bankruptcy under chapter 13. 

 

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy

If most of your debts are arising from a family farm, you may file for chapter 13 bankruptcy under California law.  This form of bankruptcy is almost similar to chapter 13 bankruptcy except for the fact that it is mainly available to people with outstanding debts from family farms. 

 

Automatic Stay

Immediately you file for bankruptcy, the automatic stay will kick in and offer you protection against your creditors and other debt collectors. Once an automatic stay takes effect, you will not have to worry about any lawsuit, which a creditor may have filed against you. You will be safe from collection agencies or any other party seeking payment from you. The automatic stay serves as a lifesaver, especially if you are in trouble and the face of foreclosure or repossession.  What can an automatic stay do for you?

An automatic stay can help keep your utilities running even when you are behind on utility bills payment.  For example, if you are not paying utility bills, you may be at risk of disconnection of your gas, electric service, water service, or telephone service.  However, utility bills may not be adequate to make you file for bankruptcy. They may only form a part of the many debts compelling you to file for bankruptcy. 

An automatic stay may also help to stall an eviction proceeding or to stop the eviction altogether.  However, there were some recent changes in the law. According to the new changes, filing for bankruptcy may not protect you from eviction in some instances. For instance, if the landlord has a court issued a judgment against you for wrongful possession, filing for bankruptcy may not help.  The automatic stay may not be adequate to stop a landlord from evicting you.  Even if the landlord has not initiated eviction proceedings against you, an automatic stay may only help you stay a while longer.

In most cases, courts tend to rule in favor of property owners, especially if it is evident that you are misusing the property you occupy. The court may also favor the landlord if it is evident that you are endangering the property. You may also not have an advantage if it is evident that you are using or selling a controlled substance in the property. 

An automatic stay may also help to stop wage garnishment.  You will be able to take home your entire salary after filing for bankruptcy. Even if you have multiple garnishments aimed at your salary, you will be able to avoid them.

However, the automatic stay will not protect you from tax proceedings from the IRS. An automatic stay will also not protect you from paying child support. If there is a lawsuit against you aimed at establishing paternity, an automatic stay will not protect you from the lawsuit. If you had acquired a loan against your pension, an automatic stay would not be able to protect you from salary garnishment to make payments to your pension.

 

Multiple Bankruptcy Filings

If you file for bankruptcy multiple times, the automatic stay may apply for a shorter period. For instance, if you had filed for an automatic stay the previous year, your automatic stay for the current timing may only apply for 30 days. You can only extend the automatic stay if you, your trustee, or the creditor asserts that you filed for the current bankruptcy in good faith and requests for continuation of the automatic stay. 

 

Removing an Automatic Stay

 Can a creditor be able to get around an automatic stay? Yes, a creditor can navigate around an automatic stay. The creditor may submit a request in court for lifting the injunction. The creditor strives to prove in court that the automatic stay is not serving its purpose and should be lifted. For instance, you may have filed for bankruptcy a day prior to eviction from a property. The landlord can go to court and assert that you only filed for bankruptcy to avoid making payments but not in good faith.  Upon the removal of an automatic stay, you will have no option but to pay the rent that you owe.

The bankruptcy process is complicated and lengthy. You have to prove that you are eligible for bankruptcy. You also have to choose the idea bankruptcy option knowing too well that the choice you make will have implications. By working through a bankruptcy attorney, you can easily navigate your way in the bankruptcy process. The attorney will assess your financial situation and advise you on whether to file for bankruptcy under chapter 7 or chapter 13, for instance. 

 

Contact a San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney near Me

If you are planning to file for bankruptcy, it is important to work with an attorney from the start. At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we are committed to helping clients file for bankruptcy. Contact us at 619-488-6168 and speak to one of our attorneys today.  

One of the prerequisites of filing for bankruptcy is being transparent. You must list your assets, income, and debts on your bankruptcy to have your debts fully discharged. Our firm (San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney) helps members of the San Diego community have debts discharged in bankruptcy. We can also help you with mandatory disclosures, as further discussed in this guide.

Why are Mandatory Disclosures Crucial in Bankruptcy Filing?

Mandatory disclosures are intended to increase transparency when filing for either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You must disclose information related to the bankruptcy filing for you to make rational decisions regarding bankruptcy. The court or trustee can determine if you are honest by having your mandatory disclosures reviewed.

The review includes all of your assets (regardless of their location) in these disclosures and is crucial in a bankruptcy filing. You will be ineligible to have your debts discharged if you fail to disclose your recent asset transfers and assets fully. In this case, you will lose your current or subsequent bankruptcy case. You may also face criminal penalties for this violation.

What is Considered as “Hiding Assets” in Bankruptcy Filing?

Debtors try to hide their assets from bankruptcy proceedings in various ways. They include lying about asset ownership, giving someone else to hold your assets or transferring your assets into another person’s name. Creating fake mortgages or liens for making assets seem invaluable may also be considered as a way of hiding assets. A bankruptcy trustee will locate the property regardless of the means you took to hide the property.

What are the Mandatory Disclosures When Filling Out a Bankruptcy Schedule?

Prior to having your debts discharged or seeking debt relief, you must complete the official bankruptcy forms used in both Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy. The process of filling out these forms is relatively straightforward since there are instructions on each page. Bankruptcy courts organize these forms based on the details to be disclosed on each one of them. The mandatory disclosures are as follows:

Your Identifying Information

The cover sheet of your bankruptcy paperwork will constitute a form known as the Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy. You must provide your full names, address, Social Security number, and name of any business you own on this form. The form also requires you to state how you intend to pay the bankruptcy filing fee and whether you recently filed for bankruptcy. Other pieces of identifying the information required include your residential status, the hazardous property you own and stating whether you completed a credit counseling course.

Property Under Your Ownership

The Schedule A/B: Property form will require you to describe the property under your ownership. Your property may include motor vehicles, real estate, financial assets, personal and household items, and money owed to you. Businesses and other assets related to your businesses also count as property.

Property You Claim as Exempt

California’s bankruptcy exemption laws allow property owners to keep various pieces of property in a bankruptcy case. The property and assets may include clothing, household items, most retirement funds, and jewelry of a particular dollar amount. You are also required to fill out Schedule C: The Property You Claim as Exempt with details regarding your exempt property.

Your Financial Transactions and Situation

As a debtor in a bankruptcy case, you must inform the court about your previous financial transactions and situation. You can fill out this information on a special form titled: Statement of Financial Affairs for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy. Details to list in this form include your past two-year gross income, recent payments made to creditors and storage spaces or safe deposit boxes. Others include your business information, bank account closures, borrowed property, prior repossessions and foreclosures, and active lawsuits.

Income and Expenses

Consider disclosing your employment information and income on Bankruptcy Schedule I: Your Income. You should also list your spouse’s income if you are married. Schedule J: Your Expenses is intended for filling out your monthly expenses. The expenditures will be subtracted from your net income in determining your disposable income for a month.

Your Debts

Money owed to creditors can either be collateralized or unsecured. With collateralized debt, the creditor may take property used as collateral if you default on payment. You have these debts discharged if you include them in Bankruptcy Schedule D: Creditors Who Have Claims Secured by Property. You can fill out your unsecured debts under Schedule E/F: Creditors Who Have Unsecured Claims.

Your Codebtors, Contracts, and Leases

Consider disclosing the names of your codebtors on Schedule H: Your Codebtors. A codebtor is an individual who has to settle your debt if you default on the payment. Include your executory lease or contract on Schedule G: Executory Contracts and Unexpired Leases. You may use this form for unexpired contracts such as a rental agreement for an equipment or gym membership.

How Do Bankruptcy Trustees Establish Discrepancies in Mandatory Disclosures?

A bankruptcy trustee can be an individual or entity assigned the duty to represent your estate by the United States Trustee Program in a bankruptcy case. The role of this entity involves evaluating and making recommendations regarding your demands pursuant to the federal bankruptcy laws. Expect the bankruptcy judge to have superior authority over asset distribution in your case. The trustee cannot act in your case unless approved by a bankruptcy court.

How Bankruptcy Fraud Comes to a Trustee’s Attention

Once assigned to your case, a bankruptcy trustee works to protect the creditors' interests. The trustee will review your bankruptcy paperwork by comparing it to documents such as tax returns, paycheck stubs, and bank statements. At the course of your case, you must attend a 341 meeting of creditors at least once. The trustee will use this hearing to verify your identity and ask you whether you included all your income and listed your property and assets.

Hiding your assets may lead the trustee to sense discrepancies in your mandatory disclosures. Bankruptcy trustees are usually skilled at identifying omissions in bankruptcy paperwork, including signs of hidden assets. A trustee may use the following mean to find your hidden property:

  • Reviewing your debts
  • Conducting public record searches
  • Checking your tax returns and bank records
  • Reviewing your payroll slips, which show deposits into retirement accounts or unlisted bank accounts
  • Commissioning online asset searches
  • Gathering reports from your friend, business partner, coworker or former spouse

What Will the Trustee Do After Suspecting Fraud?

The bankruptcy trustee will pursue a lawsuit in the form of an adversary proceeding at the local bankruptcy court after finding information on your hidden assets. One of the aspects of the lawsuit will involve proving you had the intent to delay, defraud, or hinder creditors from recovering debts owed. If this aspect of the case is proved, the court will immediately deny your request to discharge the debts.

The trustee may request a bankruptcy court for a Bankruptcy Rule 2004 examination if there is inadequate evidence to bring a fraud case to the court. Bankruptcy Rule 2004 allows the trustee to examine matters affecting the administration of your bankruptcy estate. With this examination, the trustee can also review your acts, property liabilities, conduct, and financial condition.

What are the Consequences of Hiding Your Assets on Your Bankruptcy Paperwork?

While assets are linked to wealth, they do not necessarily mean that you are in a position to repay your debts. Most people tend to hide their property on the bankruptcy papers with hopes of being eligible for Chapter 13 or 7 bankruptcy. You risk facing the following consequences if the trustee finds out about the omission:

  1. Trustee Revoking Your Discharge

The trustee may ask a bankruptcy court to take back or revoke your discharge if they find out you have hidden assets. Bankruptcy courts allow trustees to take this action before or after your case closes. They may also revoke your discharge one year after you had your debts discharged.

  1. Inability to Discharge Debts

Hiding assets from a bankruptcy court may waive your entitlement to receiving a discharge. The discharge is your only way for having your qualifying debt wiped out in your bankruptcy case. If you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your trustee will be given the hidden property, which will be sold to settle your debts. You will still owe debts not discharged in the bankruptcy filing.

  1. Ineligibility to Discharge Recurring Debts in a Subsequent Bankruptcy Case

A bankruptcy court may deny or revoke your discharge for hiding assets. Since this revocation bars you from having debts discharged in bankruptcy, your creditors will expect you to pay the debts. Pursuing a subsequent bankruptcy case will not change the court’s ruling on your discharge.

  1. You Risk Being Subject to Criminal Charges

Hiding assets may be considered as a crime of bankruptcy fraud under the California criminal laws. You will be committing perjury for failing to list your assets in your bankruptcy paperwork.  The penalties associated with bankruptcy fraud may include imprisonment for a maximum of twenty years, a maximum fine of $250,000 or both.

Are There Any Consequences for Forgetting to List an Asset in the Bankruptcy Paperwork?

Failing to list your legal assets in the bankruptcy paperwork may hinder you from claiming them once the court discovers them. Most debtors forget to list assets such as lottery winnings, interests in trusts, retirement benefits, co-owned assets or inheritances (including potential ones). Once you realize the omission, consider filing the paperwork immediately to disclose the assets. A bankruptcy court will not revoke or deny your discharge after proving you did not intend to delay, defraud, or hinder your creditors.

What Does it Mean to Have Your Bankruptcy Discharge Revoked for Omitting Mandatory Disclosures?

Most debtors aim to eliminate their debts and restart their financial lives when filing for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy discharge is your best hope at wiping out your liability in most debts whether they are collateralized or unsecured. The bankruptcy court may revoke this discharge if you are not transparent when filling out bankruptcy papers.

Entities with a stake in the outcomes of your bankruptcy case have the right to request a discharge revocation from the court. Most revocation requests come from the United States trustees, bankruptcy trustees, and creditors. Any instance of fraud will result in your bankruptcy discharge being revoked by a bankruptcy court.

Are There Any Time Limits for a Trustee to Request the Revocation?

Fraud is the basis of requesting a discharge revocation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The trustee must make the revocation request within one year after a bankruptcy court grants you the discharge. After the one-year period has elapsed without the trustee making the request, your debts will automatically be discharged in bankruptcy. In this case, your creditors will be barred from recovering sums of money loaned to you.

How Can You Amend Omissions in Mandatory Disclosures?

If the omissions made when disclosing your information in bankruptcy forms are not deliberate, you can amend the mistakes. You may have forgotten to include a piece of information when you recently filed a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. The need to amend the form may arise due to sudden changes in your circumstances. Either way, you can correct these errors with your attorney’s help in the following ways:

Finding the Necessary Forms

Forms and procedures for amending bankruptcy paperwork are available on the official website of your local bankruptcy court. Your lawyer may alternatively find the forms from the court. The forms usually constitute a blank version of the particular form you forgot to fill out correctly. You will also receive an additional notice form for listing more creditors upon request.

Including Correct Information in the Forms

Your attorney should guide you through the process of filling out the forms. You are required to correct the omission or mistake on the original form on the new blank form. Strive at complying with the rules of the district court when filling out the new form.

Having the Amended Forms Filed and Served

After filling out the required forms, you should have them filed with your local bankruptcy court. Though you will not be charged for amending most mistakes, you may incur an additional fee if you added new creditors. Besides filing them, you need to serve the forms to the affected creditors and the bankruptcy trustee. The term "serve," in this context, entails sending a copy of the form to various parties.

What are the Mandatory Disclosures When Filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

Unlike Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is targeted at businesses looking to reorganize their debts in a suitable bankruptcy plan. Individuals whose debt cannot be reorganized under Chapter 13 bankruptcy can also file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

With this type of bankruptcy, debtors can maintain control of their assets while continuing to operate their businesses as usual.

In most cases, a trustee is usually not appointed to administer a Chapter 11 case since the debtors have maximum control and possession in their assets. However, a bankruptcy court may appoint the trustee if mismanagement of funds or fraud is imminent. The role of the trustee will involve overseeing the bankruptcy process, monitoring the business operations, and filing mandatory reports with the local court.

A disclosure statement is among the documents you must file in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case. The disclosure statements offer adequate information regarding your affairs to your creditors. Your creditors can use this information to choose an effective reorganization plan for you.

What Type of Information Should You include in the Disclosure Statement?

After filing your disclosure statement with a local bankruptcy court, expect the court to hold a hearing aimed at approving or rejecting it. Your debt reorganization plan will only be accepted once the court approves your disclosure statement. The details to include in this statement will depend on the size, history, or nature of your business.

The bankruptcy court may rule out the need for a separate disclosure statement if you are running a small business. A court can base this ruling on the fact that the debt reorganization plan of a small business provides adequate information to the creditors. You may include your history, circumstances contributing to the bankruptcy filing, and a summary of the debt reorganization plan in the statement.

The disclosure statement should also feature a description of liabilities and claims and means you intend to treat them while repaying debts. Other mandatory details include the plan's feasibility, confirmation requirements, and procedures and description and value of your assets. Pieces of information such as tax consequences of your debt reorganization plan can help the creditors decide on its effectiveness.

Consult Your Bankruptcy Case With a Skilled Attorney Near Me

While it is important to disclose useful information related to your bankruptcy case, hiring an attorney may help to make your case more solid. San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney is a leading force (in regards to bankruptcy law) in the San Diego community. Our legal services encompass different types of bankruptcies, debt settlement, foreclosures, and repossessions. Discuss your bankruptcy-related case with one of our skilled San Diego Bankruptcy lawyers by calling 619-488-6168 today.

When you file for either Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, an "automatic stay" comes immediately into force that prevents a number of significant actions creditors might otherwise take against you.

An automatic stay can't accomplish everything, but it can prevent a home foreclosure, eviction, wage garnishment, bank levy, and continued collection calls. Thus, filing for bankruptcy before such actions are taken by your creditors can be very important.

Please note that an automatic stay won't affect tax collection issues, stop criminal charges over financial matters from going forward, or affect child support in a divorce case. And the court can grant a relief from the automatic stay if creditors file for one.

But most people benefit greatly from the automatic stay rule, and if you're going to file for bankruptcy, it's best not to wait too late, before such a stay would save your home, car, or life savings. At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help you wade through these issues and show you how an automatic stay would help you.

One creditor action that is especially feared by those suffering under overwhelming debt is that of wage garnishment, or of bank levies.

We at San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney can help you better understand how wage garnishment and bank levy rules work and how to avoid these creditor actions. We can help you file for bankruptcy quickly if you fear such action is about to be taken via a lawsuit filed against you by one or more of your creditors.

With bank levies, creditors attempt to take money out of your bank account to satisfy all/part of what you owe them. They file a lawsuit, then issue a summons and complaint to you. You then have 30 days to respond or risk a default judgment in the creditor's favor. 

With wage garnishment, or an "earning withholding order," creditors try to get a portion of your paychecks withheld to gradually repay the debt you owe them. This generally can only be resorted to after all other collection methods have failed, and it also required the creditor file a lawsuit against you.

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help you fight both bank levies and wage garnishment. We can assist you both before and after your creditor's actions. Don't assume there's no hope; we have helped many other clients in the past escape this kind of severe financial loss.

Divorce is a financial break up, besides being a relational break up, and it's very common for those going through divorce to fall into financial pits out of which they cannot climb. Bankruptcy is often the only real option left.

Both parties to a divorce may end up filing for bankruptcy. Don't assume you can't file bankruptcy just because your spouse already has. As soon as one or both spouses file in a divorce case, it will complicate matters greatly. But if you don't file bankruptcy and your spouse does, you could be liable in full for all debts formerly jointly held, and you may find yourself unable to pay them, which can lead to bank levies, wage garnishment, repossessions, and more.

Bankruptcy can help avert some of these consequences, if you qualify to file. It can't affect child support or eliminate alimony, but it will offer you relief from all dischargeable debts.

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we have handled numerous bankruptcy cases in the past that were deeply connected with an in-process divorce or filed in the immediate aftermath of a divorce. We understand the kinds of issues that arise when bankruptcy and divorce collide, and we will know how to protect your financial future during this very difficult time in your life.

Knowing what is a potential exemption when filing for bankruptcy can protect you from unnecessarily losing assets you could have kept.

In California, there are exemptions that go by category, a certain amount of fair market value being exempt in each class. But there are also wildcard exemptions that can apply to a wide range of different items.

Whether you file for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy will affect how exemptions work; but in California, you can also choose between different exemption schemes (703 or 704). And which scheme you choose can greatly impact how many and what kinds of your possessions are exempted.

Knowing which exemption scheme to opt for and which form of bankruptcy to file for isn't easy for the uninitiated, but we can guide you through the legal minutia to put you in a position to make the best possible decision.

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we have a detailed understanding of the precise way in which bankruptcy exemptions are applied. We know how much you are allotted in each category and how Chapter 7/13, and scheme 703/704 will affect you based on a detailed listing of your possessions and their fair market values. 

We can help you understand how to property inventory your assets and how to choose the best exemptions plan that will benefit you the most.

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help you understand whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is your best bankruptcy option.

Chapter 7 is the most usual form of bankruptcy filed. It involved the liquidation of your assets unless they are exempt. All debts will be discharged at the end, however, unless they are not dischargeable debts.

Chapter 13 involves a "reorganization" of your debts and  a 3 to 5 year plan to repay as much of it as you can. You might get a reduction of some of these debts as well, but many of they may have to be repaid in full but you get more time to do it. It just depends on the precise type of debt involved, so it's important to have an expert bankruptcy attorney survey exactly how much you owe to who and for what, before deciding on Chapter 7 versus Chapter 13.

There are also many detailed rules as to who is eligible to file each type of bankruptcy and there are many factors that will determine how workable a Chapter 13 plan is for you or how many assets you'll be left with after filing Chapter 7.

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help you wade through all the complexities of bankruptcy law and make the wisest decisions for the situation you are in.

Sometimes, debt settlement is a better option than filing for bankruptcy. It depends on how much you owe, how much income you are generating, and on what percentage of your debt you still have to pay.

Often, debt settlements leave you paying only 20% to 50% of total debt; but there are some debts that you may have to pay more on or even in full. And whatever you "save" (debt reduction amount) can count as taxable by the IRS. Plus, you'll have to pay the full amount you settle for in one lump sum in most debt settlement cases.

Thus, while debt settlement avoids having a bankruptcy on your record and avoids liquidation of assets, it will leave you paying more and have negative tax consequences. And debt settlement takes months to complete, while bankruptcies are much quicker to process.

We at San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney can help you understand whether debt settlement or bankruptcy is a better option for you.

Filing for bankruptcy can be a tedious process, but sometimes you need to file immediately to avoid severe actions about to be taken by creditors. In that case, an emergency bankruptcy filing where you file a "skeletal bankruptcy" initially may be in order.

It takes time to go through means testing, which determines your "means" based on the past 6 months of income; to property list and valuate all your assets; and to go through all the paperwork of a bankruptcy.

We can help you through even a regularly filed bankruptcy as quickly as possible, but a skeletal bankruptcy filing in an emergency situation is even faster and gets your automatic stay to begin sooner.

Do not hesitate to contact us in an emergency situation for help filing bankruptcy. We can help you determine if a skeletal filing is best in your case and file it rapidly if it is.

Many times, taxes cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy; but that is not an absolute rule. Sometimes they can.

Federal or state taxes may be canceled by bankruptcies (both Chapter 7 and 13) under certain circumstances. There is a 3 year, 2 year, and 240 day rule that may apply.

Some taxes can only be discharged 3 or more years after their due date; some 2 or more years after; and some only if they were assessed 240 or more days before you file for bankruptcy.

Most taxes that fall under the 3-year, 2-year, or 240-day laws can be fully discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy but may only be partially dischargeable under Chapter 13. Whatever can't be discharged under Chapter 13 would have to be paid back over 3 to 5 years as part of the overall payment plan.

It can be very complicated to determine ahead of time whether or not specific tax bills would be discharged should you file bankruptcy. But it is crucial to know this information ahead of time or filing could become an exercise in futility.

We at San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney have deep experience in the interrelations between bankruptcy and federal or state of California taxes. We know how to determine how taxes would be affected by a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy and give you the detailed information necessary for you to make the right decision.

Few people own their homes outright. And when you fall behind on the mortgage or have borrowed against the equity in your home and can't repay the home equity loan or "second mortgage," you could be in danger of having your home foreclosed on.

In California, there are a number of different types of foreclosures. Most commonly, home foreclosures are non-judicial. This means there is not need for the lender to take you to court because a clause in the deed of trust allows them the power of sale. They can simply repossess the home and sell it. But if they do this, they can't charge you for anything outstanding on the loan, should the sale not bring in enough to cover what you still owed them.

In a judicial foreclosure, a lawsuit must be filed and a court process gone through before a court-order allows the home to be sold by your lender. But, you can buy the home back from the highest bidder within the "right-of-redemption period" if you have enough money and decide to do so.

Filing for bankruptcy will put an automatic stay in place that can prevent a home foreclosure, the enforcement of liens on the property, or continued collection attempts.

After a Chapter 7 is filed, the court must order its permission before your mortgage lender can proceed with a foreclosure and eventually an eviction. This may or many not ultimately avert the foreclosure, but it at least buys your a few months before you have to move out. Technically, the lender can file for relief from your automatic stay, but they usually won't but just wait out the last 3 or 4 months before you move.

If you are looking to save your home, on the other hand, Chapter 13 is usually the best route to go. This will allow you to reorganize your debt and catch up on past due mortgage payments over 3 to 5 years.

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help you save your home or at least gain extra time before you have to find a new one. We can help you decide which type of bankruptcy to file and then guide you step by step through the whole process.

Vehicle repossession threats are , along with looming home foreclosure, one of the two most common reasons to file for bankruptcy in California.

As a consumer, you have specific legal rights which you may not be aware of. We can make you aware of those rights and help you enforce them legally.

Only the lender or his/her employee OR anyone registered with the Bureau of Security & Investigative Services can legally repossess a vehicle. And they can only repossess it in accordance with your contract with the lender. That contract may or may not have included a late payments grace period, after which alone can the vehicle be repossessed.

Plus, you have to be notified 48 hours of your vehicle being repossessed, though holidays and weekends give them more time to inform you.

Those who repossessed the car must inventory all possession in it and hold your personal belongings for up to 60 days, though they can also charge a storage fee that must be paid before you can get your possessions back.

You can call the auto lender and try to get a loan reinstatement, which will include paying to get current on the loan plus fees. You have up to 15 days to do this before the car can legally be sold at auction. You can also try to pay the full amount still owed on the loan to "redeem" the loan and get your vehicle back - and own it.

If you take no action, the lender may sell the vehicle and then send you a bill for the difference (if any) between the sale price and what you owed on the vehicle (plus fees). Normally, auction prices are quite low, so that often leaves a big bill for you to pay.

However, by filing bankruptcy, you may be able to save your vehicle or get out of paying the lender money for the vehicle after it's been repossessed.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy could cancel any money you still owe on the vehicle after it has been repossessed and sold at auction. Chapter 13, if filed within a couple weeks after repossession, could get you your vehicle back and up to 5 years to catch up on payments. Plus, you may even get a reduction of the amount owed down to current fair market value and a reduction in the interest rate.

At San Diego Bankruptcy Attorney, we can help you find a way to better your situation despite a vehicle repossession having taken place OR file bankruptcy for you in order to prevent a repossession via an automatic stay.

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