Bankruptcy FAQs

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What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a law that protects your home, your car, your paychecks and many other assets when you owe money and you cannot pay. There are two types of bankruptcy proceedings. Both proceedings are designed to relieve the debtors of the pressure of debt collection. If the debtors have no income left after their reasonable monthly expenses, they may be a candidate for a Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. If the debtors qualify, Chapter 7 will grant the debtors a “Fresh Start”, erasing most debts, and allowing the debtors to walk away free and clear of the debts.

The other type of bankruptcy is a reorganization. There are several types of reorganizations, but for us consumers, the most widely used is Chapter 13. It allows various types of debt to be restructured into a payment plan and paid over as many as sixty months. Once the ordered plan is completed, a discharge will be granted and the balance of the debts will be erased as ordered by the court.

Will bankruptcy really stop foreclosure?

Yes, the automatic stay provisions of the Bankruptcy Code prevent any creditor actions, including foreclosures and repossessions.

Can I still keep my house if I filed bankruptcy?

Whether filing for bankruptcy can save your home from foreclosure will depend on your particular situation, as well as whether you file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Generally speaking, Chapter 13 provides more protection so you have a better chance of not only stopping foreclosure but also keeping your home.

Will I lose all of my property and assets by filing for bankruptcy?

There is a common misconception that when a debtor is filing for bankruptcy, he or she will lose all of his or her assets. This is simply not true. Although some properties may be subject to liquidation, and specific exceptions will vary from state to state, a debtor is generally allowed to keep a certain amount of personal properties, including cars up to certain value, equity in a home up to a certain amount, clothing, furniture, and many other personal belongings.

Can I continue to operate my business and still file for bankruptcy?

In many cases, yes. It will depend on the type of business and the type of bankruptcy being filed. You need to hire an experienced attorney with the experience necessary to correctly prepare and handle the case.

Can all my debts be erased by filing for bankruptcy?

No, not all debt can be discharged by filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy only allows for the discharge of unsecured debt, such as personal loans and credit cards. Other debts like taxes, child support, spousal support, and certain educational loans are not able to be discharged by filing for bankruptcy.

If I file for bankruptcy, does my spouse has to file as well?

No, your spouse is not legally required to file for bankruptcy with you. However in some situations, it may benefit you to file jointly. An experienced attorney can talk to you about your options in this regard.

How can I afford to pay a lawyer to help me in filing for bankruptcy when I can’t pay my bills?

Bankruptcy court has supervision and regulation for fees charged. Our office charges a reasonable fee and also has a payment plan to assist your financial need.


Stewart H. Lim emphasizes his practices in the fields of Bankruptcy and Personal Injury.