Bankruptcy

What is bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is the legal process by which a debtor obtains a “discharge” of his or her debts. It is a federal process. A discharge is an order of court stating that you no longer owe any money to your creditors. However, there are exceptions, as outlined in the United States Bankruptcy Code.

In order to initiate the bankruptcy, a bankruptcy petition (along with other papers) must be filed in bankruptcy court. Therefore, you file a bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing can be on an emergency basis.

There are primarily three types of bankruptcy for individuals and small businesses, Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11.  In addition, a Chapter 9 bankruptcy is for a city seeking to restructure and consolidate debt.  Chapter 12 is for farmers seeking debt relief.  Learn more about the types of bankruptcy….Usually, an individual consumer debtor, who owes credit cards, will choose between Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. 

What happens when I file bankruptcy?

When you file bankruptcy (Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13), you are immediately given the benefit of the “automatic stay.” The automatic stay is a court order issued “automatically” staying or stopping your creditors from attempting to collect their debts against you.

Each creditor must stop collections immediately. If they file a lawsuit, the lawsuit must be stopped. If they schedule a foreclosure sale, the foreclosure sale is stopped. The same for wage garnishments, bank seizures, car repossessions, and other collection methods.

Therefore, the bankruptcy may be filed on an emergency basis to stop creditor collections.

Should You File Bankruptcy Now?

Here are the signs that you should file for bankruptcy right now. The answer will depend on if you have been sued for the debt. Or it may depend on if your home is about to be foreclosed. 

If foreclosure has been initiated against your home, or if you are substantially delinquent on your mortgage payments, it is time to consider and file bankruptcy. You should file bankruptcy even if you have started or completed an application for a mortgage modification. Bankruptcy will stop foreclosure of your home and allow you a plan to repay your mortgage delinquency.  Consult an attorney for bankruptcy about your rights in this situation.

If your accounts have been transferred to collection agencies or you have been sued, this is a good time to file bankruptcy. By filing bankruptcy, you may prevent a creditor from obtaining a judgment lien on your home, from garnishing your wages or seizing your bank accounts in order to get paid. Therefore, bankruptcy stops all collection activity. A bankruptcy attorney can expedite the filing of your bankruptcy in an emergency.  Learn more...

Do I Need An Attorney For Bankruptcy?

An individual, non-business debtor such as yourself can proceed without a San Francisco attorney for bankruptcy. But should you?  You should consult an attorney first about filing for bankruptcy and then consider hiring an attorney to represent you in that bankruptcy  case.  A bankruptcy attorney can determine your eligibility and qualifications for Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An attorney for bankruptcy can provide emergency bankruptcy services and will reduce delays in your case. Having no knowledge of the bankruptcy paperwork or process, you may make mistakes on your own when completing the required bankruptcy petition or Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 Plans. Learn More…

You may visit Upsolve.org and learn more about filing bankruptcy on your own.

CHAPTER 7

In Chapter 7, a business or individual debtor obtains a discharge of all debts. In other words, all debts are wiped out including payday loans,credit cards, and medical bills.
Learn More

CHAPTER 13

In Chapter 13, make a payment plan to repay your mortgage delinquency and car loan over three to five years. The plan provides opportunities to pay off mortgage delinquency and car loans over 3 to 5 years. You can prevent foreclosure of your home and repossession of your car.
Learn More

CHAPTER 11

Chapter 11 allows a business to propose a plan of repayment for part or all debts owed to its creditors over an extended period of time.
Learn More

We can help you

Bankruptcy Attorney Near You – Chapter 7 | Chapter 11 | Chapter 13

Keith F. Carr is an bankruptcy attorney in San Francisco, Palo Alto, Sunnyvale, and San Jose. For 30 years, Attorney Carr has helped individuals and small businesses file Chapter 7, 11, and 13. We offer affordable fees for bankruptcy.

It is important to seek competent legal advice from an attorney first. Whether you should file Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 will depend on the unique circumstances of your situation. We encourage you to read the bankruptcy information on this website. Schedule your telephone consultation for your confidential bankruptcy evaluation. 

The Law Offices of Keith F. Carr can file any type of bankruptcy on an emergency basis. This will avoid real estate foreclosures, car repossessions, wage garnishments, lawsuits, and other collection procedures.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is the legal process by which a debtor obtains a “discharge” of his or her debts. It is a federal process. A discharge is an order of court stating that you no longer owe any money to your creditors. However, there are exceptions, as outlined in the United States Bankruptcy Code.

In order to initiate the bankruptcy, a bankruptcy petition (along with other papers) must be filed in bankruptcy court. Therefore, you file a bankruptcy. The bankruptcy filing can be on an emergency basis.

What happens when I file for bankruptcy?

When you file bankruptcy (Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13), you are immediately given the benefit of the “automatic stay.” The automatic stay is a court order issued “automatically” staying or stopping your creditors from attempting to collect their debts against you.

Each creditor must stop collections immediately. If they file a lawsuit, the lawsuit must be stopped. If they schedule a foreclosure sale, the foreclosure sale is stopped. The same for wage garnishments, bank seizures, car repossessions, and other collection methods.

I understand that I must seek an approved nonprofit credit counseling agency before filing for bankruptcy. Which agency can I use?

Under the new bankruptcy law, individuals must obtain a briefing from an “approved” nonprofit credit counseling agency within 180 days of their bankruptcy filing.  The debtor is required to file a certificate from the credit counseling agency, among other newly-required documents. An approved agency is one that has been approved by the US Trustee’s office in a particular federal district where the agency operates. 

Do I qualify for Chapter 7 under the new law passed by Congress?

The new bankruptcy law  imposes several new requirements on people who file for Chapter 7.  One new requirement is that you must receive credit counseling from an approved credit counselor prior to filing for Chapter 7.  In addition, there are income and expense limitations which may prevent you from filing for  Chapter 7.

Will my personal property or car be taken if I file for bankruptcy?

In general, your personal property and car will not be taken so long as they are exempt under California law. Therefore, you will have what is called a “no asset” case.  If you are still making payments on the car, you will have to maintain your payments with your finance company. If you own the car outright, the value of your vehicle cannot exceed your applicable exemption amount, which is determined by California law. 

What should I do if a creditor sues me or takes a judgment against me?

A creditor may not proceed with its lawsuit or take a judgment once you have filed for bankruptcy.  Once your bankruptcy is filed, the Law Offices of Keith F. Carr will notify your creditor for you to make sure that the lawsuit does not proceed or that the creditor does not take  a judgment.

When can you stop my wage garnishment?

After we have  filed your bankruptcy, the Law Offices of Keith F. Carr will notify the sheriff’s office to stop the garnishment due to bankruptcy and will take necessary steps to protect your paycheck. 

If I file for bankruptcy, when do I get relief from debt collector’s calls and letters?

Under bankruptcy law, debt collectors may not call or write to you, call your place of employment, or contact your friends once you have filed for bankruptcy, Chapter 7, 11, and 13.

Can I get rid of my medical bills in bankruptcy?

Yes. Medical bills are general debt and may be discharged in bankruptcy.

How long can credit reporting agencies, such as Experian, continue to report your bankruptcy?

The federal Fair Credit Report Act provides that a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be reported by a credit reporting agency for a period of 10 years. However, look at your credit now. Judgments against you continue to be reported for a period of seven years.

How do I schedule a consultation with the Law Offices of Keith F. Carr?

In order to schedule a consultation, contact us.  The Law Offices of Keith F. Carr has offices in San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, and Sunnyvale California.  

Bankruptcy Law Blog

Mistakes When Filing Bankruptcy

Recently, there has been an increase in programs offering to help you file for bankruptcy on your own. I do not recommend that you use any of these services, even for the simplest Chapter 7. This is a recipe for disaster for the individual debtor trying to file a do-it-yourself bankruptcy on his or her…

Bankruptcy Law Blog

Should You File Bankruptcy?

Many times couples and individuals do not know when to consider bankruptcy – Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  Should you file bankruptcy? Should you file now? Hopefully this checklist may help. FIVE QUESTIONS TO ASK 1. Do you use your credit cards for basic living expenses?  If you are relying on your credit cards with…