Information on this page should not be construed as legal advice and does not constitute an engagement of the Winterbotham Parham Teeple, a PC. The information contained below is of a general nature and may not apply to any particular set of facts or circumstances.

Bankruptcy / Debt Consolidation

When do collector calls stop?

Once you retain the Winterbotham Parham Teeple, a PC. The law requires creditors deal with us and leave you alone.

Will I lose any assets or property?

Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy exempts most assets allowing over 90% of our clients to keep everything and lose nothing. In Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation you keep all assets you choose as debts are paid “as if in full”.

How can I file Chapter 7 or 13?

Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy allows 1 discharge every 8 years. Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation lets you file as often as needed, if filed in good faith and 70% of unsecured debts were paid in a previously discharged Chapter 13.

Does my spouse need to file with me?

No, but because California is a community property state, your debts are usually your spouse’s debts. Creditors may pursue your spouse (or ex-spouse) for the entire community debt.

What happens to my credit?

Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation remains on your credit report for 10 years. By not filing, credit may show negatives for 7 years from the time you become current. By filing, negative reporting stops immediately. This allows you to begin re-establishing credit faster by keeping house, auto or other payments current. Also, you may obtain a “secured” credit card to help re-establish.

Can I refinance or sell my home? When can I purchase a new home?

While in Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation you must obtain court permission to sell or refinance. After discharge, you may immediately assume a sellers loan or, after two (2) years, qualify for a new home loan with some re-established credit and other normal credit characteristics.

Can you stop my home foreclosure?

Because your home is a secured debt, Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy can only temporarily stop foreclosure until your case is discharged or your creditor lifts the “automatic stay”. Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation completely stops foreclosure if back payments are kept current in the payment plan and regular payments are kept current after filing.

Does bankruptcy eliminate all debts?

No. Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy will eliminate most all unsecured debts but not secured debts such as your home or car. To retain secured assets, payments must be made or modified. In Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation you pay all or only a portion of your debts.

Do I have to list all my creditors?

You must list all creditors at filing except creditors with zero balance. Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy allows you to pay a desired creditor directly if you choose through reaffirmation. Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation has restrictions on who you pay, how much, and when.

Can you remove a lien?

If the lien was not incurred to purchase the asset, was not consensual, and impairs an exemption, it may be removed by lien avoidance techniques.

Why try to pay back creditors in Chapter 13, why not just file for Chapter 7?

If mandated by the “Means Test” or if there is enough money left over after monthly living expenses the court may require full or partial payment to your creditors in Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation. Other reasons are listed on the webpage entitled “Which Chapter is For You”.

Can my co-signer be protected?

All consumer co-signors are protected under Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation but not under Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy.

Will my employer be notified?

No, unless you owe your employer money or stop making timely Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation payments.

Will my bank account be affected?

If your bank or credit union is an unsecured creditor, close your account and move to a bank where you owe nothing. Otherwise, at time of filing, your bank could offset or freeze your account.

Does Chapter 7 and 13 stop lawsuits and judgments?

Yes, immediately when we file your case.

Can I get out of a contract?

Both Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation may cancel unwanted contracts if you discontinue the service and/or return the merchandise.

Can you stop wage garnishment?

Yes. We make most creditors stop garnishing wages when your case is filed. This doesn’t apply to current child support payments.

Can you stop auto repossession?

Yes, immediately upon filing.

Can I use credit while in Chapter 7 or 13?

No, not until you receive a discharge. In Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation you must get court permission to incur debt over $250, except in emergencies.

Will I have to go to court?

Generally, only one trustee hearing appearance is required 30 to 45 days after filing. This is normally a short hearing. Your creditors may be present to ask questions. Our attorney will be present to represent you.

How long will I be in Chapter 7 or 13?

Chapter 7 – Bankruptcy takes about 5 months, although your dischargeable debts are gone the day we file your case. Chapter 13 – Debt Consolidation takes 3 to 5 years to repay debts unless you decide to pay faster.