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Bankruptcy FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions & Answers

Here are a few common questions that we receive at Lockhart, Britton & Koch. Please note that every legal situation is unique and that speaking with an attorney will provide you with the best answer.

What will this cost me?

The fees and costs are determined based on the complexity of your case. After the one-hour free consultation, you will be quoted a fee. In most cases, this will be a flat fee, and there will be no hidden fees or costs.

What debts are forgiven in bankruptcy?

There are exceptions to discharge, and we will discuss these during consultation. The most common types of non-discharged debts are:

  • Liens

  • Certain taxes

  • Debts due to fraud

  • Child and Spousal Support (DSO)

  • Student loans

  • Criminal restitution

  • HOA fees post petition

What is Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is officially known as “liquidation” and is sometimes called "straight bankruptcy." Chapter 7 is designed for debtors in financial difficulties who do not have the ability to pay their existing debts. Debtors whose debts are primarily consumer debts are subject to a “means test” designed to determine whether the case should be permitted to proceed under Chapter 7.

Under Chapter 7, you may claim certain of your property as exempt under governing law. It is rare, that s trustee may have the right to take possession of and sell the remaining property that is not exempt and use the sale proceeds to pay your creditors.

Even if you receive a general discharge, some particular debts are not discharged under the law. Therefore, you may still be responsible for most taxes and student loans; debts incurred to pay non-dischargeable taxes; domestic support and property settlement obligations; most fines, penalties, forfeitures and criminal restitution obligations; certain debts which are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers; and debts for death or personal injury caused by operating a motor vehicle, vessel or aircraft while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. Also, if a creditor can prove that a debt arose from fraud, breach of fiduciary duty or theft, or from a willful and malicious injury, the bankruptcy court may determine that the debt cannot be discharged.

What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Repayment of all or part of the debts of an individual with regular income.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed for individuals with regular income who would like to pay all or part of their debts in installments over a period of time.

You are only eligible for Chapter 13 if your debts do not exceed certain dollar amounts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.

Under Chapter 13, you must file with the court a plan to repay your creditors all or part of the money that you owe them, using your future earnings. The period allowed by the court to repay your debts may be three years or five years, depending upon your income and other factors. The court must approve your plan before it can take effect.

After completing the payments under your plan, your debts are generally discharged except for domestic support obligations; most student loans; certain taxes; most criminal fines and restitution obligations; certain debts which are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers; certain debts for acts that caused death or personal injury; and certain long-term secured obligations.

Will I qualify for Chapter 7 under the new bankruptcy laws?

Your income, expenses and debts determine if you qualify. We analyze all factors to present a case in your favor.

When will my creditors stop harassing me after a bankruptcy filing?

Once a case is filed, creditors cannot contact you. In many cases, once you retain an attorney these types of calls can be abated.

What do I tell creditors who call me after filing for bankruptcy?

After you hire me, I invite you to have your creditors contact our firm.

We will advise them that you are our client. Keep in mind, creditors are not required to stop contacting you until after your case is filed. However, if you tell creditors to call your attorneys, most of them will extend the courtesy of collections phone calls to us!

How long does the bankruptcy process take?

Most Chapter 7 cases will take about 90 days from filing date to discharge. Chapter 13 plans run three to five years.

Will I be meeting with an attorney?

Yes, you will meet with an experienced attorney.

Will an attorney be at my meeting of creditors?

Yes, we will be with you every step of the way.

Answer All of Your Questions by Speaking with an Experienced Lawyer

Bankruptcy can be complex and requires extensive legal knowledge. Call our proven La Mesa, California attorney or fill out the contact form for a free initial consultation.

I am a debt relief agency. I help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.