Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy
The average American carries almost $20,000 in debt. If you are having a new baby, have lost your job or are on a fixed income, this can be an insurmountable burden. Please know, if you are considering bankruptcy, you are not a bad person and you should not feel ashamed. Bankruptcy is often the best way for an individual to restart their financial life.
At the Law Offices of Brian A. Barboza, we empower you to make the best possible decisions for you and your future. We start by analyzing your financial situation. Then we offer honest advice about the best way to solve your financial hardships.
Below are commonly asked questions about bankruptcy. Your individual circumstances may change or add to the answer. We encourage you to contact us directly to get the most accurate answers possible.
Send us an email to schedule a free initial consultation.
What Are The Benefits Of Bankruptcy?
Financial stress can affect all aspects of your life; it may interrupt your sleep and nag at you throughout the day. A bankruptcy filing can do the following:
- Stop creditor harassment, foreclosure actions, repossession of vehicles and garnishment of paychecks
- Discharge debts, including medical bills and credit card debt
- Deal with liens on property
Bankruptcy can give you the chance to regain control over your finances.
Is Debt Consolidation An Option?
Unlike bankruptcy, debt consolidation can cause much bigger problems. Ask the questions about how the agency protects your personal data, how fees are calculated and what the program will do for your credit. Promises offered by these agencies often seem too good to be true — and generally they are.
Before consolidating your debt, speak with us. Our attorney offers a free initial consultation to review your financial situation and provides honest advice about the best available options.
Do I Qualify For Bankruptcy?
That depends. Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires you to pass a means test. This involves inputting your income, debts and financial obligations into a formula to assess your ability to repay your debts. The means test was added as part of the 2005 bankruptcy reform, but it is not a barrier to getting the financial fresh start that you need.
If you do not qualify for Chapter 7, you could still qualify for Chapter 13 (a structured repayment plan). Some debts may be discharged in Chapter 13 while others become a part of the repayment plan. These cases are highly fact-specific based on your unique situation.
Can I Keep My Home And Car?
The idea that you will lose all your property in bankruptcy is a common misperception. You will likely get to keep more than you might think. In California, you can select from one of two exemption lists. We can review them with you and help you decide which is best for you.
Here are two general California property exemptions:
- You can keep a vehicle that has up to $3,500 of equity
- You also get a wild card exemption — protecting property valued at up to $24,000 (this may allow you to keep a car worth more than $3,500)
Retirement accounts are also exempt. Employer-provided accounts, such as a pension or 401(k) account, and individual IRAs will not be affected by a bankruptcy filing. The policy behind bankruptcy is to provide a fresh start, not put your future in greater jeopardy.
Learn More About Your Available Options
When you can no longer shoulder a mounting debt load, speak with a bankruptcy lawyer. At the Law Offices of Brian A. Barboza, we have helped many people just like you. We’ll take a comprehensive view of your financial situation and help you find a long-term solution.
Schedule a free initial consultation at our Santa Rosa, Ukiah or San Rafael office by calling us 707-304-5251 or toll-free 866-965-2831. Or send us a message to set up an appointment.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.