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Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer

Suffering from financial worries?

What is Bankruptcy? It is the process for eliminating or restructuring debt to provide individuals, businesses, and other entities a new beginning. We understand that declaring bankruptcy can cause feelings of uneasiness, fear, and extreme sadness. That is why we are here to provide you the guidance you need. We want to help determine the best solution possible to help you manage or eliminate your debt. Whether the debt was caused by unemployment, underemployment, medical emergencies, or other changes in income, we are here to help you. The attorneys at Law Offices of Russell Fields genuinely care about the wellbeing of the clients we represent in Sacramento, CA and the surrounding areas. You can rely on the Law Offices of Russell Fields from your first consultation with a bankruptcy specialist, all the way through the completion of your case. We are here to provide each client with significantly important details to prepare for their petition, and we are patient in helping our clients fully understand the details of their bankruptcy case. A bankruptcy filing can stay on a credit report for up to 10 years.

If you are contemplating filing for bankruptcy, your credit may already be bad and bankruptcy may not make it significantly worse. In some situations, bankruptcy may allow you to improve your credit worthiness faster than you could have done otherwise based on the cancellation of most debts. However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get new credit after filing, and it will probably take several years to rebuild your credit. It is important to use such credit wisely. Additionally, with a Chapter 13 case, the discharge (cancellation) of your debts does not occur until the end of the plan, so you would only have the ability to start rebuilding your credit after the plan has been completed.

After you obtain a bankruptcy discharge, creditors are required to report your debts as discharged in bankruptcy. While the bankruptcy will be on your credit report and the debts might still be listed, companies that are potentially offering you credit will also see that you no longer have the substantial debt burden that you had before the bankruptcy filing. Keep in mind that filing for bankruptcy is no guarantee that you will be able to obtain credit after filing.

General Bankruptcy Info

  • Can bankruptcy stop my creditors from constantly calling me?Open or Close

    Yes, for the most part. As soon as you file a bankruptcy petition, Section 362 of the United States Bankruptcy Code prohibits creditors from taking most actions to collect a pre-petition debt. This is called an Automatic Stay, and it prohibits most calls from creditors. If you hire an attorney, the attorney will often allow you to give the creditor the attorney's phone number, and you can then instruct creditors that you are represented by attorney and to call them with any questions.

  • Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?Open or Close

    There is no legal requirement for individuals to have an attorney file a bankruptcy petition. However, bankruptcy law can be complicated and a bankruptcy attorney can help walk you through the process. There are two main benefits to hiring a bankruptcy attorney:
    (1) Maximizing the benefits of bankruptcy and
    (2) Avoiding serious mistakes.
    Bankruptcy has many obscure provisions that could be quite beneficial to you, and unless you hire a competent bankruptcy attorney, you may miss the benefit of these provisions altogether. For example, bankruptcy allows you to avoid judgment liens in some situations. However, you have to take action to do so, and not knowing how to do that will cause you to lose the benefit. A bankruptcy attorney can also help you avoid serious mistakes. For instance, provisions allow a bankruptcy trustee to recover property transferred within a certain amount of time. If you transferred property to your children three years before filing bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee would likely be able to sue your children to recover that property. There are many similar potential pitfalls when filing bankruptcy, but a competent bankruptcy attorney can help you understand and plan for them before filing bankruptcy.

Types of Bankruptcy

  • What are the different types of bankruptcy?Open or Close

    Five different types of bankruptcy can be filed. They are identified by the chapter in the bankruptcy code that discusses them. The different types are:
    (1) Chapter 7 (liquidation)
    (2) Chapter 9 (for municipalities)
    (3) Chapter 11 (reorganization)
    (4) Chapter 12 (repayment plan for family farmers)
    (5) Chapter 13 (repayment plan for regular income)
    Chapters 7 and 13 are most frequently used by consumer debtors. Chapter 11 is primarily used by corporations or individuals with large assets and liabilities. Chapter 9 is rarely used but it is when municipalities seek to restructure their debts. Chapter 12 is similar to Chapter 13, except that it has special provisions for family farmers. Chapters 7 and 13 are discussed in more detail below.

  • What type of bankruptcy should I file?Open or Close

    Each type of bankruptcy has its own advantages and disadvantages, and a thorough discussion of each is beyond the scope of this website. (There are volumes dedicated to the subject.) While bankruptcy can provide effective debt relief, bankruptcy law contains many traps for the unwary. A competent bankruptcy attorney can help you avoid these traps. You should consult a bankruptcy attorney before deciding whether to file bankruptcy and what type of bankruptcy is right for you.

Bankruptcy Types

Know Which Bankruptcy Type is right For You

Be Aware of Exemptions

Exemptions are provided by California state law, and they allow the debtor can retain certain types of property. There are two different exemption schemes in California, and the rules regarding exemptions can be complex. If the debtor has not marked all properties as exempt, a bankruptcy attorney can advise the debtor on how to mark those properties as exempt, so that they would not be lost in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

The Typical Timeline for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case

Upon filing the Chapter 7 petition, a Chapter 7 trustee is appointed, and a date is set for a meeting of creditors. The meeting of creditors is usually about 30 days after the petition is filed. Unless a complaint to deny the discharge has been filed, the discharge is usually entered about 90-120 days after the Chapter 7 petition is filed. This is the timeline for a typical no-asset bankruptcy case. The bankruptcy case is closed after the trustee administers all of the assets (if any) of the estate.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Might Save Your House

If your house is in foreclosure, that probably means you have a substantial arrearage on the mortgage. Most debtors are unable to pay an accrued arrearage immediately (unless the property can be refinanced), and mortgage holders are reticent to cancel foreclosure proceedings unless the entire arrearage has been paid. The debtor is often in a situation where the house will be foreclosed upon. However, Chapter 13 allows the debtor to stop the foreclosure (it cannot proceed because of the automatic stay) and pay the arrearage over time.

The Typical Timeline for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case

The time line for a Chapter 13 case is different for every case, and it depends upon the plan proposed by the debtor and the jurisdiction in which the case is filed. Most plans are required to last 3 years, but Chapter 13 plans may not run longer than 5 years. The meeting of creditors usually takes place within 30-60 days after the petition is filed. The time from the filing of the petition to the plan confirmation for an uncontested case can take anywhere from 25 days to 270 days depending on the jurisdiction. The average is approximately 90 days.

The Benefits of Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Super-Discharge – The discharge in Chapter 13 cases is broader than the Chapter 7 discharge. For example, filing Chapter 13 discharges debts related to violation of federal securities law, many fines or penalties owed to governmental units, and credit information submitted inaccurately to creditors. None of these would be dischargeable in a Chapter 7 case.
  • Avoid Foreclosure – Chapter 13 allows debtors who have an arrearage on a mortgage to pay off the arrearage through a Chapter 13 plan. As long as the plan is confirmed and all payments are made, the mortgage holder cannot foreclose on the property. In Chapter 7, the secured creditor will almost always be granted relief from stay to foreclose on the property.
  • Lien-Stripping – The debt is bifurcated and the part that is over the value of the property is treated as unsecured debt when the amount of secured debt is more than the value of the property it secures. Unsecured debt and secured debt are treated differently in Chapter 13 cases. Secured debts must be paid in full (with interest), but unsecured debt does not have to be paid in full. For most under-secured debts, the debtor may be able to pay substantially less than he would have had to otherwise.
  • Debtor Keeps All Property – In a Chapter 13 case, the debtor is allowed to keep all property, including non-exempt property. This is especially important for some people whose primary source of income is rental property.
Sacramento Bankruptcy Lawyer


Filing for bankruptcy can stay on a credit report for up to 10 years. If you are contemplating filing bankruptcy, your credit may already be bad and bankruptcy may not make it significantly worse. In some situations, bankruptcy may allow you to improve your credit worthiness faster than you could have done otherwise based on the cancellation of most debts after filing. However, there is no guarantee that you will be able to get new credit after filing, and it will probably take several years to rebuild credit.

Call Us Now:  (916) 529-4143

Bankruptcy Lawyer Sacramento CA

W. Russell Fields

Types of Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is known as liquidation bankruptcy, because the debtor exempts those assets he is allowed and turns all of his other assets over to the trustee to be liquidated and paid to creditors.

In Chapter 13 cases, allows the debtor to propose a plan to pay back some of the debts that are owed and is mostly utilized if the debtor's income is too high to qualify for Chapter 7.

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