The Bankruptcy Sage

Wise counsel for anyone considering bankruptcy

Is bankruptcy the right move for you?

Are you struggling to make ends meet? Maybe you’re drowning in debt. Tired of dodging calls from creditors? Do you wonder if bankruptcy is a good idea? Would you like a fresh start? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’ve come to the right place.

For most people, a chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes out their existing debts and allows them to start over. Chapter 13 helps you keep your assets while paying a portion of what you owe to creditors. That’s a very simplistic overview, but if you keep reading, you’ll learn a lot about the process of bankruptcy so you can decide if it’s the right move for you. And if you still have questions, or you want some sound advice, you can fill out the contact form and receive a free half-hour phone consultation.

Where can I find information?

There are a lot of resources available on this website and other places on the internet. The first place you should look is the website for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court (https://www.uscourts.gov/services-forms/bankruptcy). Much of the available information explains (or attempts to explain) the bankruptcy process and tell you how to file a petition, with or without an attorney. But it’s a complicated process and it’s easy to get confused or overwhelmed.

You can also sign up to receive my weekly newsletter, Bankruptcy Basics

Are you wondering if you need help?

As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, I do a lot more than just dump a lot of information on you and leave you to wade through it on your own. I provide bankruptcy advice and counsel to people considering bankruptcy, along with the support and guidance you need to navigate through this difficult time and come out on the other side with a fresh start.

As a California attorney with over forty years of experience helping clients with bankruptcy cases, I have a deep understanding of the complex laws and regulations that govern the bankruptcy process. I have helped hundreds of individuals and businesses successfully file for bankruptcy and get the relief they need to move forward with their lives and businesses.

I understand the emotional toll that financial hardship can take on you and your family. My goal is to not only provide you with legal advice and counsel, but also to be a supportive partner throughout the bankruptcy process.

If you are struggling with debt and considering bankruptcy, reach out for a free consultation. Get help as you take the first steps towards a brighter financial future.

Martha Warriner Jarrett
The Bankruptcy Process

How does bankruptcy work?

Depending on your current financial situation, bankruptcy can be an intimidating and complex process. As you can see from the steps outlined below, it’s also complicated and confusing. And while this website takes a step-by-step approach, it probably won’t answer every question that you have. Here are the steps to get you started:

  • Pull a free credit report (https://www.annualcreditreport.com) and make a list of creditors.
  • Look at the means test to determine if you qualify to file a chapter 7 (liquidation) or chapter 13 (reorganization). This is a difficult and highly technical task and may spell the end of your attempt to file a bankruptcy yourself. See below for a link to the blog post detailing how to take the means test.
  • Complete the paperwork yourself or with the help of a petition preparer or attorney. The forms can be found on the Bankruptcy Court website: https://www.cacb.uscourts.gov/forms/petition_forms.
  • Take a pre-petition credit counseling course and obtain a certificate of completion: https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111 (be sure to check your state to get your local provider list).
  • File your bankruptcy petition with the appropriate bankruptcy court (on the Bankruptcy Court website, enter your zip code in the “Filing Location” box).
  • Attend your 341(a) examination and answer the trustee’s questions regarding your assets and liabilities.
  • Take a post-petition financial management course and file the certificate of completion (within 60 days after the initial 341(a) examination date): https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111 (you can generally use the same provider as you used for your pre-petition counseling).
  • Receive your discharge.

Already overwhelmed? Contact us and ask for a free consultation.

Here are answers to some of your questions:

Martha Warriner Jarrett
What is chapter 7

What is chapter 7?

Chapter 7 is a liquidation proceeding. If you qualify, chapter 7 liquidates your non-exempt assets (most chapter 7 debtors do not have any non-exempt assets) and wipes out (discharges) your unsecured debts.

Martha Warriner Jarrett
What is chapter 13

What is chapter 13?

Chapter 13 is a reorganization plan for debtors that do not qualify for chapter 7. A chapter 13 plan provides for partial repayment of debts over a 3 to 5 year period.

Martha Warriner Jarrett
What is the means test?

What is the means test?

A means test is a comparison of your actual income to average monthly expenses for your area to determine if you have sufficient income to pay some portion of what you owe to creditors. You are exempt from the means test if your income is less than the median for your state. If you are not exempt you must pass the test in order to qualify to file a chapter 7 case.

The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as legal advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship.

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