Frequently Asked Questions about Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy FAQs

As an experienced bankruptcy firm, we at Denton Law Group realize that contemplating legal debt relief brings up a lot of questions. To help you decide if filing for bankruptcy in California can provide the financial fresh start you are looking for, our Chula Vista bankruptcy attorney has compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions we have encountered.

For further information on which type of bankruptcy might best assist you on the road to financial freedom, contact us today to arrange a free case consultation.

Will I lose my house in bankruptcy?
It depends. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies can stop foreclosure temporarily and offer tools to save your home. However, it comes down to whether or not you can afford to pay off your mortgage. Bankruptcy may free up your budget by eliminating most of your other debt, leaving you more funds to contribute to the balance due on your home. Additionally, declaring bankruptcy may allow you to restructure your delinquent amount to more manageable monthly payments.

Can I keep my car?
Most likely you can, however, you will still be obligated to make monthly payments. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy protections, some individuals surrender their vehicle so they won't be liable for delinquent payments and then purchase a less expensive car. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will allow you to pay off your vehicle under more favorable terms and conditions.

Does filing for bankruptcy make me a bad person?
Absolutely not! Plenty of hardworking people have experienced serious financial distress due to a job loss, unexpected injury, or other life-changing events. In actuality, declaring bankruptcy might be the most financially responsible decision you can make. Most people won't even know you filed for bankruptcy unless you tell them. Additionally, federal law forbids employers and student loan programs from discriminating against individuals who have petitioned for federal debt relief protection.

What about the rest of my possessions? Will I lose my furniture? Clothes?
No. The purpose of bankruptcy is to provide you a means to start over, not strip you of everything you own. Many items are considered as exempt and are legally untouchable by creditors. Household items, furniture, appliances, and clothes are usually not relinquished through bankruptcy.

Is it difficult to reestablish credit after declaring bankruptcy?
Not if you file with us! This is because of our "7 Steps to a 720 Credit Score" program. Regardless as to whether you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, shortly thereafter you will be able to start the program, through which we have seen clients successfully increase their credit score to 720 and higher within 12-24 months after filing for bankruptcy.

Will I be able to qualify for a loan after bankruptcy?
Yes. It may be difficult at first, but in just a short time after filing for bankruptcy you will begin our 720 Credit Score program. If the program is followed properly, your credit score will improve and you shouldn't have any trouble qualifying for a loan that has a favorable interest rate.

What about debt settlement or consolidation? Should I consider them?
At Denton Law Group, we don't recommend trying debt settlement or consolidations before speaking to an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Unfortunately, there are many unscrupulous agencies using high-pressure sales pitches to prey on individuals overwhelmed with debt. Often, their "plans" leave you in worse financial shape than when you started. If you file bankruptcy, however, you are protected under federal law. Creditors are legally mandated to obey the terms of the declaration.

How do I qualify for bankruptcy in California?
The smartest way to find out if you should file for bankruptcy is to speak with our qualified bankruptcy lawyers. The circumstances that brought you into a financial crisis, your current amount of debt, and your available income all play a part in deciding which type, if any, could provide you with much needed debt relief.

There are some issues, however, that might prevent or delay a bankruptcy process, including:

  • You have had a recent successful bankruptcy file
  • You have had a bankruptcy case dismissed within the last 180 days
  • You have not taken an approved credit counseling course

I am being harassed by creditors. Is this common? Can I stop it?
Sadly, it's very common. In recent years, creditors have become more bold and devious in their tactics. The AARP reports that debt collectors are not above posing as hospital admissions clerks, police officers, or even Facebook friends in order to harass their targets. Bankruptcy puts an immediate halt to creditor harassment. Once you file, creditors are legally prevented from contacting you. If they continue, they can be subjected to prosecution.

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13? Which one should I file?
Commonly known as a liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides a way to liquidate your non-exempt assets, pay what you can to your creditors, and discharge the rest of your unsecured debt. The truth of the matter is that in a majority of cases there is no loss of property. The process is relatively swift, allowing you to begin rebuilding your financial stability rather quickly, but there are strict parameters for qualifying for this type of debt relief.

If your outstanding debt is more complicated than simple credit card debt, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the better option. This type of bankruptcy allows you to eliminate certain debts and restructure the remaining balance to more manageable monthly payments. Your accepted repayment plan usually takes three to five years to complete. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may offer some protection to co-signers and spouses as well as provide an opportunity to "cram down" an outstanding car loan to current market value. Deciding which option is best for you should be done with the assistance of a skilled bankruptcy attorney who can accurately assess your current and projected financial circumstances.

What is looked at when determining bankruptcy eligibility?
There are five factors that will be analyzed when determining if you are eligible to file for bankruptcy and which type will you qualify for. These factors are:

  • Current income: In a Chapter 7 case, how does your income compare to the state median income? In a Chapter 13 case, do you have a regular income? Will it be enough to sustain a repayment plan?
  • Expenses: What are your mandatory monthly obligations? This can determine whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 case, or determine what your repayment may be in a Chapter 13 case.
  • Assets: What is the current amount of your financial assets? Although most people lose no assets in bankruptcy, you need to determine which assets are protected or exempt from liquidation?
  • Debt: How much debt do you have? How much is secured debt (such as your home)? How much is unsecured (such as credit cards)? Or, how much of your debt is really dischargeable?
  • Prior bankruptcies: Did you petition for bankruptcy previously? Was it granted? How long ago?

How much does filing for bankruptcy cost?
It is important to note that bankruptcy involves two sets of fees: court-filing fees and attorney fees. The court-filing fees for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy are $335.00. Court-filing fees for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy are $310.00. Because no two cases are alike, there is no way to accurately quote attorney fees without a consultation. At Denton Law Group, we base our fees on the complexity of your case, how much time will be involved, and if there are any significant issues that need to be addressed. We understand the financial stress you are under. We offer free, initial evaluations and convenient payment plans.

Looking for debt relief? Denton Law Group can help!

At Denton Law Group, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of debtors and are active members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys. We can thoroughly assess your debt situation to discover if declaring bankruptcy would provide the financial fresh start you are looking for. Additionally, we offer all our clients enrollment in 720CreditScore.com's credit rebuilding program to assist you on your road to financial stability.

Give us a call today to get started!