Frequently Asked Questions
- Can I file bankruptcy if I have a job?
Yes, you don’t have to be unemployed to file for bankruptcy. You don’t even have to be behind on your payments. Your income may determine the type of bankruptcy for which you qualify.
- Will I have to give up all my assets?
No, the vast majority of bankruptcy cases are “no asset” cases, in which the debtors have claimed an exemption in everything they own; there are then no assets from which to pay creditors.
- Do I have to list all my debts?
Yes, you must list all of your debts, even debts that are non-dischargeable and debts you want to keep paying (like your car or house). Omitting a debt constitutes perjury, which could result in your discharge being denied.
- Does my spouse have to file bankruptcy with me?
No, you may file without your spouse, although it may be advisable to file together.
- Will bankruptcy stop wage garnishments?
Yes, once your case is filed, the garnishment will end.
- Are there debts that I cannot discharge?
Yes, these will be discussed during your free consultation.
- Is the IRS affected by my bankruptcy filing?
Once your case is filed, the IRS must cease collection action. The automatic stay protects the debtor and his property. There are many variables, which determine if the tax claim is non-dischargeable.
- Will I lose my retirement savings?
No. Most forms of retirement savings are unaffected by filing bankruptcy.
Our experienced bankruptcy attorneys will down with you to discuss these questions in more detail as well as any other questions you may have about bankruptcy.
Do I have to talk to a credit counselor before I can file bankruptcy?
Yes. When the bankruptcy laws were revised in 2005, one of the changes was the requirement of obtaining a certificate from a court-approved credit counselor prior to filing bankruptcy. The counseling session is inexpensive and can be done online or on the telephone. You are also required to obtain a debtor education certificate after your bankruptcy case is filed in order to receive a discharge of your debts. This can also be accomplished online or by telephone. Call us and we can give you the details.
What do I need to do to get started?
Call us to schedule a free consultation at one of our three offices. We are located in Oakland, Antioch, & Richmond. What we will need from you is the following:
- A complete list of all of your creditors, including name, address, account number, and approximate balance. You must list everyone you owe, not just the ones you wish to discharge. This means you must list your mortgage companies, vehicle loans, student loans, all credit cards, medical bills, friends & family;
- Proof of your income from all sources in the past six months
- Your last three months of bank statements; and
- Your last two federal tax returns
In preparation for filing bankruptcy should I transfer my cars or real estate to someone else to get it out of my name?
No!!! This is the worst thing you can do. Those transfers could be viewed as fraudulent transfers to evade your creditors and your bankruptcy trustee can go after those assets.
Before I file bankruptcy can I pay back the money I owe to my friends or family member?
No. This will backfire on you as well. Those friends or relatives may be forced to pay that money back to the bankruptcy trustee.
What is the best way to obtain my credit report?
Go online to www.annualcreditreport.com. It is a free service and you can look at and print any or all of the three main credit reports (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union). This will aid you in making your list of creditors for us to review.
I got behind on my Visa card and they sent the account to a collection agency who later sent it to a lawyer. Which one should I put on my list of creditors?
Ideally you would list all three, the credit card company, the collection agency, and the lawyer. The more names and addresses, the better.
Contact us today to set up a Free Consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. We have offices in Antioch, Richmond, and Oakland.