Struggling With Debt?

Our Modesto Bankruptcy Attorneys Help Get Your Financial Life Back on Track

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Debt is almost inevitable in today’s world. The majority of Americans have at least one or more of the following: medical bills, secured debt, credit card debt or other financial obligations. Those with substantial debt often find themselves unable to make monthly payments and end up in a cycle of accruing late fees and never making progress on that debt. 

Bankruptcy is a viable option for individuals who are otherwise unable to pay off their debt. While bankruptcy often seems like a taboo subject, it is provided by the federal courts to help relieve you of debt and give you a fresh start. If your debt has spiraled out of control and is impacting your quality of life, then bankruptcy may be an option to consider. Our Modesto bankruptcy attorneys can help you throughout the entirety of the bankruptcy process. 

California Bankruptcy Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What Happens When You File for Bankruptcy?
  2. What Are the Advantages of Filing for Bankruptcy?
  3. How Often Can You File for Bankruptcy in California?
  4. How Much Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy?
  5. What Different Types of Bankruptcy Cases Should I Consider?
  6. How Long Does Bankruptcy Take?
  7. Will My Credit Be Ruined After Bankruptcy?
  8. Do I Need a Modesto Bankruptcy Attorney to File?
  9. Do I Have to Sell My Possessions to File Bankruptcy?
  10. What Debts Are Not Included in Bankruptcy? 

1. What Happens When You File for Bankruptcy?

When you file for bankruptcy, you must submit evidence of your debt, assets and overall financial status. You will have to submit proof of income, information on your debt and bankruptcy forms to the court. This triggers an automatic stay, which means that creditors can no longer try to collect payments from you.

It is a common misconception that bankruptcy erases a person’s debt. What it does is it makes that debt noncollectable. Any qualifying debt that is discharged with a bankruptcy is legally noncollectable.

2. What Are the Advantages of Filing for Bankruptcy?

While many people are initially wary of bankruptcy, they soon find that this solution offers numerous benefits. Advantages include:

  • An immediate end to collections calls
  • Many debtors lose little to no personal property during the bankruptcy process
  • Fresh start for your family’s financial future
  • Discharge of all qualifying debts, immediately lessening your financial burden
  • In many cases, bankruptcy can prevent foreclosure, eviction or repossession

3. How Often Can You File for Bankruptcy in California?

If you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, then you must wait eight years from the initial filing date to file a second case. Those who file Chapter 13 bankruptcy must wait two years between filing dates. Always consult with a Modesto bankruptcy lawyer and receive accurate information before making important decisions about filing for bankruptcy. 

4. How Much Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy?

The fees for bankruptcy in California vary, depending upon which type of case you choose to file. The Bankruptcy Court charges a filing fee of $335 for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and a $310 filing fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Other fees often apply, including those associated with mandatory credit counseling. A Modesto bankruptcy attorney will help you calculate your total costs and work efficiently to resolve your matter.

5. What Different Types of Bankruptcy Cases Should I Consider?

For consumers, there are two main bankruptcy options: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 leads to a complete discharge of all qualifying debts without any repayment plan. This is the most common option. 

Those who do not meet the income standards for Chapter 7 or are able to repay some of their debt may choose Chapter 13. Under Chapter 13, debtors create a three-to-five year repayment plan. At the end of the plan, the remaining debt is discharged.

6. How Long Does Bankruptcy Take?

For those who file under Chapter 7, debt could be discharged in just four to six months. Those who choose Chapter 13 must wait three to five years before their case is closed and their remaining debt is discharged.

7. Will My Credit Be Ruined After Bankruptcy?

Your credit report will reflect your bankruptcy. However, your overall score will depend upon on how much debt you had before bankruptcy, how many delinquent accounts you have and other mitigating factors. For some, the removal of delinquent accounts and accounts in collections may balance out the negative impact of bankruptcy. It is important to consult with our Modesto bankruptcy lawyers to learn if there are ways to lessen the impact of a bankruptcy on your credit score.

8. Do I Need a Modesto Bankruptcy Attorney to File?

Legally, you can file bankruptcy on your own, as long as you have the right documents, meet the appropriate deadlines and attend all necessary court dates. However, many people prefer the convenience of hiring Modesto bankruptcy attorneys. Your attorney will know the filing process, what the court looks for and which questions the trustee is likely to ask. Hiring an attorney can save time and help you better prepare for each stage of the process.

9. Do I Have to Sell My Possessions to File Bankruptcy?

If you own any non-exempt assets, then the trustee will sell them and distribute the proceeds to your creditors. However, many assets are exempt. Our Modesto bankruptcy law firm will help you determine which of your assets are exempt or non-exempt after carefully reviewing your specific situation.

10. What Debts Are Not Included in Bankruptcy?

Many types of debt are not included in bankruptcy. The most common examples include:

  • Child support
  • Some tax debts
  • The majority of student loans

Some debts can also be excluded by law or court order. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you assess which of your debts will not be included under California bankruptcy law. 

Our Team of Modesto Bankruptcy Attorneys Is Ready to Help You With Your Bankruptcy Case

At Arata, Swingle, Van Egmond & Heitlinger, we understand that the decision to file for bankruptcy is a difficult one. Our goal is to help clients get a fresh start and create healthy financial habits. If you believe bankruptcy could be the right choice for you, then contact us now at (209) 522-2211 to set up a free consultation.