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National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy AttorneysLaw Offices of Stan E. Riddle, Attorneys & Lawyers - Bankruptcy & Taxes, Oakland, CA

Q: Why should I spend money and hire an attorney to file for bankruptcy?
A: In the majority of self-filed bankruptcy no debt is discharged because the case failed.  Like most legal processes, the Bankruptcy Code is complex with many deadlines and requirements the average person is not likely to know about.  Wouldn’t it be worth your peace of mind to know that a team of experienced people are working to assist you in these challenging circumstances?

Q: If I file for bankruptcy will the trustee repossess all my belongings?
A: Within bankruptcy there are a number of “exemptions” that can be used to shield the value of most, if not all of your possessions thereby avoiding the need to liquidate them. As part of your consultation, a seasoned Bankruptcy Attorney should be able to advise you should your assets exceed the available exemptions.

Q: Will filing for bankruptcy prevent me from ever having a good credit rating?
A: Bankruptcy is not intended to punish you for the rest of your life and end your financial standing. Immediately following bankruptcy you may not qualify for the best interest rates but there are lenders who will offer to lend you money.  It is very common for people to get credit card offers soon after their case is discharged. 

Q: If I file for bankruptcy will my friends and family be notified that I have done so?
A: They will only be notified if they are listed as a Creditor to you or a Co-Debtor with you within your bankruptcy.  Even though bankruptcies are part of the public record, notifications are only sent to parties expressly named within the bankruptcy or their agents.

Q: Can bankruptcy stop the foreclosure of my home?
A: Yes, a Chapter 13 will allow for the repayment of your arrears over 3-5 years.  Once the plan is completed, you will be current on your mortgage ending the foreclosure. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will allow you to temporarily postpone the foreclosure but not necessarily stop it. 

Q: Can bankruptcy discharge State or Federal tax debt?
A: It is the general rule that tax debt which is older than 3 years can be discharged.   Though if the tax obligation is newer than 3 years, you will likely need to repay it.

Q: Can bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?
Yes, bankruptcy will stop a wage garnishment.

Q: Can bankruptcy stop a collection lawsuit?
Yes, bankruptcy can stop a collection lawsuit that is pending.

Q: I’m struggling under a second mortgage, can bankruptcy help with that?
Yes, if the value of your home is upside down we will be able to discharge the 2nd mortgage and remove the lien from the residence.  A Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy is required to take advantage of this benefit.

Q: A lien has been placed on my property, can bankruptcy help with this?
Through bankruptcy most liens including 2nd mortgage liens, HOA liens and Collection Liens can be removed.

Q: Is it possible that I make too much income to file for bankruptcy?
Depending on the chapter of bankruptcy you are interested in limits on income may apply.  There are minimum income requirements to qualify To qualify to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection a maximum allowable income is determined based on your household size.  If you exceed this income requirement, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be more suitable for you.

Q: Is there such a thing as having too little debt to file for bankruptcy?
A: Because of the costs associated with filing for bankruptcy, the rule of thumb for many people is that you should have $15,000 or more in outstanding debt before seriously considering this option.  Aside from the fees associated with filing the case itself, it will also directly impact your credit rating. It is important to consider these things when entertaining the pursuit of bankruptcy relief.

Q: Should I burn through any savings and retirement I might have before considering bankruptcy?
A: Retirement and pension accounts can be protected within bankruptcy by way of their own set of exemptions. Ask an experienced bankruptcy lawyer for more information.

Q: What is the main difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
A: Also commonly known as a “basic liquidation” bankruptcy,  in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy a Trustee will act to liquidate any assets not exempt in order to repay your creditors that amount then discharge any remaining unsecured debts. The remedies of a Chapter 7 cannot resolve a foreclosure (though it can pause it), assist in the repayment of tax debts or provide for the repayment of past due amounts on a secured loan such as that for a car.  Chapter 7 CAN discharge most if not all of your unsecured debts such as credit cards or medical bills.  It can also stop pending collection lawsuits. See our expanded description of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also referred to as Wage Earner’s Bankruptcy.  A distinctive feature of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it includes either a 3 or 5 year repayment plan for certain secured and non-dischargeable debts, like mortgage arrears or past due taxes.  With this tool, if you are able to continue to meet the obligations of the repayment plan, you CAN stop a foreclosure with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  Just like it’s Chapter 7 counterpart it can also relieve garnishments and remove liens while discharging all or most of your unsecured debts.  For further information ,please read our full description of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Q: I have a car loan I’d like to continue, is this possible in bankruptcy?
A: Yes, as long as you are current or can become current in your payments, and stay current in your future payments there should be no issue with your carrying out this loan.

Q: I am pursuing a Loan Modification, would bankruptcy disqualify me from receiving one?
Because Loan Modifications are voluntary, only the bank and the owners of your loan will ultimately decide if you are approved for the Loan Modification.  In general, most banks will continue to evaluate your modification request even after you file for bankruptcy.

Q: I am on a fixed income, can I qualify for bankruptcy?
For the most part people on fixed incomes do quality for bankruptcy relief. 

Q: A Trustee Sale date has been set for my home, can bankruptcy stop this sale?
It can, but unless you are able to meet a realistic plan to reorganize your repayments, you will only postpone the sale. 

Q: Can bankruptcy discharge medical debts?
A: Yes, medical debts are dischargeable in both a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Q: I’m married but my spouse doesn’t want to file for bankruptcy, can I file individually?
A: If the debts you are looking to manage or discharge through the mechanisms of bankruptcy are yours alone, your spouse will remain unaffected by the bankruptcy..  Be aware that in the preparation of your case your spouse will be asked to provide basic information regarding their income as part of your overall household.

The Law Offices of
Stan E. Riddle

Fremont Plaza Shopping Center
39275 State Street
Fremont, CA 94538
Main: (510) 868-1765
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Fremont Plaza Shopping Center