Asaph Abrams Attorney at law

San Diego Bankruptcy

San Diego bankruptcy attorney
 

Bankruptcy Facts: At a glance

More in-depth discussions may be found on our Frequently Asked Questions pages. For a free consult, and to discuss YOUR individual circumstances,

please call (858) 344-0500


  1. Some Debts that are commonly discharged (canceled) in bankruptcy:

  2. Medical bills

  3. Personal loans

  4. Civil judgments

  5. Vehicle loan deficiencies (such as after repossession)

  6. Mortgage liability after foreclosure

  7. There are exceptions to discharge.  Bankruptcy is a privilege and not an entitlement.  Fraud or the presumption of fraud can be the basis for denial of discharge.  But with your attorney’s knowledge and confidence, you can achieve powerful results.


  1. Some Debts that are NOT dischargeable in bankruptcy:

  2. Student loans (with very rare exceptions)

  3. Domestic support

  4. Debts to society for certain fines and criminal acts (such as DUI)


  1. The gray areas (please call to discuss 858-344-0500):

  2. Taxes are sometimes discharged in bankruptcy. 

  3. Bankruptcy filing does not automatically remove liens, though personal liability on secured debt is discharged.


  1. Chapter 7 bankruptcy v. Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  2. Chapter 7 takes about 3 months (with rare exceptions).  You pay nothing on your debts.  If you have too much property, you may lose some of it (but that is rare-- if it’s done right!)

  3. Chapter 13 usually takes 3 or 5 years.  You make a monthly payment.  You’ll usually pay off a small amount of debt, and be forgiven the part that hasn’t been paid. 

  4. Certain debt limits apply to Chapter 13 eligibility. 

  5. A corporation or business can file a chapter 7, but not a chapter 13.

  6. It’s easier to do a chapter 7 if you earn below the median income.


  1. Median income in California, by household size (as of November 1, 2011; subject to change):

  2. Household of One = $47,683

  3. Household of Two = $61,539

  4. Household of Three = $66,050

  5. Household of Four* = $74,806

  6. * Add $7,500 for each individual in excess of four


  1. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to get rid of your “unsecured” second mortgage:

  2. A “lien strip” (removal of a second mortgage/ secured equity line) applies to real property for which the first mortgage balance is greater than the property’s value.

  3. The entirety of the second mortgage must be “unsecured.”


  1. What can I protect? In exempting (protecting) property, if you have been domiciled” (meaning roughly: resided) in California for the 730 days (about 2 years) prior to filing, then you would choose one of the following two “exemption” systems:


  1. California System 1 brief highlights:

  2. Homestead exemption (amount of equity you are allowed in your home):

  3. Single = $75,000

  4. Families = $100,000

  5. Senior/Disabled = $146,500-$175,000

  6. Vehicle = $2,725

  7. Jewelry/heirlooms/art = $7,175 TOTAL of all items

  8. Tools of your current trade = $7,175 (double if working with co-filing spouse)

  9. Most normal “household goods and furnishings”

  10. Most retirement accounts and pensions


  1. California System 2 brief highlights:

  2. Vehicle = $3,525

  3. Jewelry = $1,425

  4. Tools of your current trade = $2,200

  5. Normal household goods and furnishings limited to $550 per item

  6. Combined homestead and “wildcard” exemption of $23,250 in any asset(s); may be used in conjunction with other exemption allocations

  7. Most retirement accounts and pensions


  1. Note: domicile is a term of art that roughly means “residence.” The above are just a few highlights of the California “exemption” statutes. Variables apply to exemptions and liquidation analysis; the determination of value, equity, and what constitutes an asset is complex. Eligibility for use of California exemptions is tricky; other exemption schemes may apply to you.  

  2. If you’ve been domiciled in California for less than 2 years, then you may have to use the federal exemptions (which are sort-of similar to California System 2) or the exemptions of a former state.  We need to look at the applicable law for the state in which you resided during the majority of the 180-day period preceding the 730 days before your bankruptcy filing.  Then a determination is made whether to use that state’s exemptions or the federal exemptions.  I didn’t make this stuff up.  Please call for a consultation to clarify this gobbledygook: (858) 344-0500. 

  3. The above dollar amounts change triennially (next adjustment is April 1, 2013).

  4. Hey, I thought these were QUICK Facts!  But that’s okay, the Web site doesn’t charge by the word. 


  5. Which court do I file bankruptcy in? County domiciliary requirements for bankruptcy filing:

  6. There are many bankruptcy courts across the nation, which are assigned to different counties.  In order to file in a particular court, you need to have been domiciled in its applicable county/counties for the majority of the 180 days prior to filing. 

  7. In addition to domicile, principal place of business, principal assets or particular pending cases can also determine which district you’d file in. 


  1. After filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy that results in a discharge, you must wait:

  2. 8 years to file another chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  3. 4 years to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, or your unpaid chapter 13 debts will not be discharged. 

  4. Note: waiting periods between bankruptcy filings are from filing date to filing date.  Eligibility for repeat filings is complex.  Ask for clarification pertinent to your facts, before you draw conclusions.

  5. Different factors apply to repeat filings, when the prior case was dismissed or closed without a discharge.


  1. After filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that results in a discharge, you must wait:

  2. 6 years to file another chapter 7 bankruptcy (unless “sufficient” debt had been repaid through the chapter 13).  Waiting period is from filing date to filing date.

  3. 2 years to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy, or your unpaid debts will not be discharged.

  4. Note: waiting periods between bankruptcy filings are from filing date to filing date.  Eligibility for repeat filings is complex.  Ask for clarification pertinent to your facts, before you draw conclusions.

  5. Different factors apply to repeat filings, when the prior case was dismissed or closed without a discharge.


  1. Can’t find what you’re looking for?

  2. Try our Frequently Asked Questions

  3. Call us at (858) 344-0500 to schedule a free consultation

  4. Email us: admin@abramslawsd.com

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