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.


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):

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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