The Sacramento Bankruptcy Specialists
I’ve handled hundreds of bankruptcies and know how to navigate the courts.
I educate on debt strategy and discharging debts in bankruptcy.
Stop Wage Garnishment
Stop Harassing Phone Calls
Sacramento Bankruptcy Attorney Trevor Carson
The Sacramento Law Firm of Carson & Kyung – Attorneys at Law for Bankruptcy
The law firm of Carson & Kyung, A Law Corporation has a team of honest and dedicated Sacramento bankruptcy staff. Attorney Trevor Carson strives to provide cost-effective bankruptcy law services. Trevor is the client’s main point-of-contact and he will personally work with the client throughout the entire process. Trevor will be available any time of day to answer questions. He understands the terrible feeling of having to file bankruptcy and the stress that surrounds the decision. By filing a bankruptcy, you can regain control of your life. Sacramento Bankruptcy attorney Trevor Carson will make every effort to personally facilitate a smooth and easy transition for you to start over fresh.
With years of experience behind the Sacramento law firm, Carson & Kyung have successfully represented countless individuals, families, and businesses by discharging debt and putting them on the path to a fresh start. If you’re considering hiring a bankruptcy attorney please take some time to read our reviews. Carson & Kyung is a law firm full of incredibly hard-working and very responsive attorneys here to serve you. Give us an opportunity to meet with you and we’re confident you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Below are several frequently asked questions about bankruptcy. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our Sacramento bankruptcy attorneys.
Bankruptcy Client Reviews
Carson & Kyung helped me file for bankruptcy. The process couldn’t have been any easier. They kept me up-to-date with any new information and guided me through every step. What seemed like it would be a daunting process, ended up being nothing more than a few simple meetings with these guys in a relaxed environment where they explained everything that I needed to know in plain English. And if I had any questions along they way, they always got back to me quickly with answers. Their service was friendly, professional, and they got the job done right without any hassle.
I called an made an appointment with Trevor Carson after finding his law firm on yelp. I just want to say how helpful he was and his professionalism was up and beyond. I moved here from another state which had different laws than CA… and he was able to answer my questions concerning those laws. He was kind and listened to me carefully advising me of my options and going over the pros and cons of each choice. Thank you Trevor.
Trevor is just wonderful to work with. Very knowledgeable and just a pleasure to work with. I would highly recommend him.
Attention to detail, thoroughness, and professionalism.
Free Bankruptcy Consultations
We provide free consultations on all Sacramento bankruptcy law matters. You will not be charged to meet with a lawyer about your potential bankruptcy case. A free consultation allows you to get a complete understanding of the process. The free consultation may help you in deciding whether this is the best option for you. It’s free, so why not?
Attorney Trevor Carson was selected to the 2015, 2016 and 2017 Northern California Rising Stars List by Super Lawyers Magazine. Candidates are selected based on peer recognition and professional achievement. While up to five (5%) percent of the lawyers in a state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than two and a half (2.5%) percent are named to Rising Stars.
Trevor is one of the top bankruptcy attorneys in Sacramento. With over a hundred positive reviews, this bankruptcy law firm knows how to help. Our legal staff help people obtain a fresh start with debt relief. Our attorneys help individuals by filing bankruptcy under the United States bankruptcy code.
Frequently Asked Bankruptcy Questions
Why Consider Filing Bankruptcy?
- Are you having difficulty with your monthly financial obligations?
- Are you only making minimum payments each month?
- Are you choosing between which bills to pay?
- Are you receiving calls from creditors or collection agencies?
- Are you considering debt consolidation or debt settlement?
- Do you know how much money you owe?
Answering yes to any of the above questions might lean you towards filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy is not as ominous as it sounds. Bankruptcy can positively change your life. Paying for necessities with a credit card and dealing with creditor calls is no way to live your life.
Most of our clients file because of medical bills and business debts, but there are dozens of other reasons.
Only making the minimum payment on credit cards each month may result in “negative amortization.” Negative amortization means your payments are lower than the interest growth. Negative amortization also means you will always be in debt regardless of how long you are making payments because the payments do not cover the growing interest.
Meet with a Qualified Highly-Reviewed Sacramento Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy might be an option for you, but we will not know until we meet with you. Initial meetings with an attorney are free. Our Sacramento bankruptcy attorneys are not salespeople. We are considered one of the best Sacramento bankruptcy law firms because we’re friendly, welcoming, cost effective, and have a proven track record. Our bankruptcy attorneys have advised dozens of individuals against filing because it was not in their best interest. We offer free initial meetings for the purpose of helping people understand their options. Schedule a meeting today we’ll treat you right.
Our reviews speak for themselves, but our awards also speak volumes. In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Bankruptcy attorney Trevor Carson was awarded “Rising Star” by Super Lawyer Magazine. Trevor Carson has also been awarded “Top Attorney in Bankruptcy” and “Superb Bankruptcy Attorney” by Avvo. Sacramento Magazine also rated Trevor Carson as a Top Bankruptcy Attorney in Sacramento.
What are the advantages of filing bankruptcy?
The decision to file bankruptcy can be stressful. There are plenty of reasons people make the choice. Our Sacramento bankruptcy clients find that the fresh start and automatic stay are the most appealing. The automatic stay will prevent all creditors from taking any action to collect on any debt. Quite often, clients begin the bankruptcy process after wage garnishment has begun. The automatic stay will stop the wage garnishment process and potentially release any funds being held by the sheriff. Violating the automatic stay can have serious financial ramifications on the creditors themselves. Other benefits of filing bankruptcy may also include:
- Eliminating most unsecured debt, like credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans;
- Stopping a foreclosure;
- Stopping lawsuits;
- Stopping wage garnishments;
- Stopping harassing phone calls;
- Stopping repossessions; and
- Stopping that sinking feeling.
What's the difference between chapter 7 bankruptcy and chapter 13 bankruptcy?
There are two main consumer bankruptcies: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. These chapters allow the debtor to either enter a repayment plan or liquidate the debtor’s assets to pay debts. A repayment plan allows the debtor to reorganize their debts, reduce their monthly payments, and to stretch the debts over a period of three to five years. The repayment plan is a great tool to catch up on mortgage arrears to prevent a foreclosure. Liquidation is the process of selling the debtor’s assets and using the proceeds to pay the debts. Choosing the “chapter” most applicable to your situation is absolutely critical. Filing bankruptcy typically isn’t a “choice.” Most debtors feel forced into the filing. Similarly, the chapter used to file the bankruptcy is also typically not a choice. There are circumstances that require the debtor to file the bankruptcy under a chapter 13 because they don’t qualify for a chapter 7. Our Sacramento bankruptcy attorneys are here to help you make this critical decision on chapter 7 or chapter 13. We represent our clients by:
- Working with you step-by-step through the bankruptcy process;
- Using innovative technologies to ensure you have constant up-to-date status reports on your case;
- Answering any questions and concerns in a timely manner; and,
- Providing the emotional support needed to overcome the stress related to financial hardship and filing bankruptcy.
How much does it cost to file bankruptcy?
A chapter 7 bankruptcy in Sacramento will cost $335 in court filing fees, approximately $20 for two required financial courses, and attorneys’ fees.
The attorney’s fees will vary depending on the experience of the attorney and difficulty of the bankruptcy. Bankruptcy attorney Trevor Carson has years of experience and has a 100% success rate for all of his chapter 7 bankruptcy filings. This means that each one of his clients received a discharge.
Our Sacramento bankruptcy attorneys make every effort to accommodate our clients. We offer a very low retainer of $100 and can set up a flexible payment plan that works for you.
We require a consultation to determine attorney fees because every case is unique. Attorney’s fees for a typical chapter 7 bankruptcy are approximately $1,200. Estimate the cost of filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy with our online program.
We provide clients with all of the legal services reasonably necessary to represent them in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy petition. This includes communication with creditors, filing of all necessary documents to commence the Bankruptcy proceeding, and appearing with you at the Section 341 Meeting of Creditors in court.
What bankruptcy services are included in the price?
Our attorneys work hand-in-hand with their clients. You will not be left alone or without answer to your questions. Our attorneys will work with you throughout the entire process. We will be available any time of day to answer questions and provide support.
Our Sacramento bankruptcy attorneys will provide the following services:
- Preparing the necessary bankruptcy petition documents, including, but not limited too:
- Voluntary Petition
- Cover Sheet for Schedules
- Summary of Schedules
- Schedules A – J
- Statement of Financial Affairs
- Chapter 7 Individual Debtor’s Statement of Intention
- Statement of Social Security Number
- Statement of Current Monthly Income and Means Test Calculation
- Preparation and filing of reaffirmation agreements;
- Communications with creditors; and
- Attending the §341 Meeting of Creditors with our client.
How long is the process for a chapter 7 bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Timeline
A typical chapter 7 bankruptcy will take 90 to 120 days from the date the bankruptcy petition is filed.
The initial free bankruptcy consultation with a Sacramento bankruptcy attorney to determine (1) if you qualify for bankruptcy and (2) whether you want to hire our attorneys to work with you. If you do qualify and you decide to hire our law firm, you will then be provided with a document checklist. This checklist includes all of the necessary information we need to draft the bankruptcy petition that will be filed with the bankruptcy court.
Once the client provides our office with all of the documents requested in the checklist, an attorney will immediately begin working on the bankruptcy petition. The time to complete the bankruptcy petition varies depending on the complexity. However, assuming our office has all of the information needed, we usually finish the bankruptcy petition in less than a week.
Once the bankruptcy petition is completed by our bankruptcy lawyer, our client comes into the office and we go over every detail of the bankruptcy petition to make sure all of the information is correct. This generally takes anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes. If all of the information is correct, the attorney will file the bankruptcy petition on the same day.
Once the bankruptcy petition is filed, the court will assign a §341 meeting of creditors date. The meeting of creditors date is usually set about 30-40 days after the petition is filed. During this short period, the client will need to complete the mandatory Debtor Education course and provide our office with the latest bank statements and pay advices.
Our Sacramento bankruptcy attorney and client attend the §341 meeting of creditors hearing together. This is a mandatory hearing for the debtor. Although the name implies all of the debtor’s creditors attend, it’s very rare that a creditor will actually attend the hearing. The hearing will usually take approximately 5-10 minutes. The 341 hearing is discussed in more detail along with sample questions on the blog post: Questions to Expect at 341 Meeting of Creditors.
Shortly after the §341 meeting of creditors, the trustee, a person assigned to over see your bankruptcy matter, will file a document indicating that no assets will be distributed to creditors. The creditors are then given a certain period of time to object to this finding. If no creditors object, the bankruptcy debtor will receive a discharge in about 60 days. After receiving the discharge, the debtor will have a fresh start and be ready to move on with their financial life.
Alternative Sixth Step
Not every case is a “no asset.” There are instances where the debtor will have assets that cannot be fully exempt. Exemptions allow a debtor to protect a certain value in their assets. There are cases where a debtor’s assets have too much value and they’re unable to fully exempt them. The trustee will then file a document indicating that there are assets that will be distributed to creditors. The creditors are then given a certain period of time to file proof of claims. A proof of claim is a legal document stating how much money the debtor owes the creditor. The trustee will then work towards collecting the assets and devising a payment distribution for all of the creditors who filed a proof of claim. This process will delay the bankruptcy a few months depending on the assets that are available to the trustee.
What is the §341 Meeting of Creditors?
Bankruptcy §341 Meeting of Creditors
The §341 meeting of creditors stems from the statutory code section 11 U.S.C. 341. This section requires a hearing for the trustee to examine the debtor. This is the only required formal hearing the debtor must attend. The hearing is held at 501 I Street Sacramento, California 95814. All of the hearings are on the 7th floor and either in room 7-A, 7-B, or 7-C. The room is relatively small with chairs for about 50 people. There are typically 10-15 cases scheduled for every hour and each bankruptcy case last about 5 minutes. Its rare that any actual creditor will attend the hearing. The 341 hearing is discussed in more detail along with sample questions on the blog post: Questions to Expect at 341 Meeting of Creditors.
(a) Within a reasonable time after the order for relief in a case under this title, the United States trustee shall convene and preside at a meeting of creditors.
(b) The United States trustee may convene a meeting of any equity security holders.
(c) The court may not preside at, and may not attend, any meeting under this section including any final meeting of creditors. Notwithstanding any local court rule, provision of a State constitution, any otherwise applicable nonbankruptcy law, or any other requirement that representation at the meeting of creditors under subsection (a) be by an attorney, a creditor holding a consumer debt or any representative of the creditor (which may include an entity or an employee of an entity and may be a representative for more than 1 creditor) shall be permitted to appear at and participate in the meeting of creditors in a case under chapter 7 or 13, either alone or in conjunction with an attorney for the creditor. Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to require any creditor to be represented by an attorney at any meeting of creditors.
(d) Prior to the conclusion of the meeting of creditors or equity security holders, the trustee shall orally examine the debtor to ensure that the debtor in a case under chapter 7 of this title is aware of—
(1) the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy, including the effects on credit history;
(2) the debtor’s ability to file a petition under a different chapter of this title;
(3) the effect of receiving a discharge of debts under this title; and
(4) the effect of reaffirming a debt, including the debtor’s knowledge of the provisions of section 524 (d) of this title.
(e) Notwithstanding subsections (a) and (b), the court, on the request of a party in interest and after notice and a hearing, for cause may order that the United States trustee not convene a meeting of creditors or equity security holders if the debtor has filed a plan as to which the debtor solicited acceptances prior to the commencement of the case.
U.S. District Court, Eastern District of California Bankruptcy Court 501 I Street, Sacramento, California 95815
What are the Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Certificates?
The credit counseling and debtor education certificates are received after successfully finishing educational courses. The courses are completed prior to filing bankruptcy and prior to the conclusion of the bankruptcy.
Credit counseling is an educational course that is required by all individuals filing bankruptcy. The course must be completed before you can file bankruptcy. A certificate is issued once the credit counseling course has been completed. That certificate is then included with the bankruptcy petition.
The debtor education or personal financial management course is a financial educational course. An individual filing for bankruptcy must take this course after filing bankruptcy. Upon completion, the individual will receive a certificate of completion. This certificate must then be filed with the court within 45 days of the first 341 meeting of creditors. Failure to file the certificate or complete the course may result in the bankruptcy being closed without the debtor receiving a discharge. It will then cost the debtor several hundred dollars to reopen the Sacramento bankruptcy case just to file the certification of completion for the debtor education course.
List of Courses
Both educational bankruptcy courses must be completed with an approved provider. The Department of Justice provides a list of approved credit counseling providers and debtor education providers. Our Sacramento bankruptcy attorney has a list of the most affordable course providers that average around $9.50 per course.
How will bankruptcy affect my credit score?
Bankruptcy on Credit Score
This question is difficult to answer because the credit bureaus have secret formulas that are not released to the public. However, in 2010, FICO released a few examples of a bankruptcy’s effect on credit scores. A credit score of 780 could result in a drop of 240 points while a credit score of 680 could result in a drop of 150 points. Therefore, it’s safe to say, the higher your credit score prior to filing bankruptcy, the more of an impact filing bankruptcy will have on your credit score.
It will all depend on your financial position. If you already have a bad credit score and cannot keep up with minimum payments, a bankruptcy will likely not affect your score very much. In fact, bankruptcy for an individual with bad credit may actually help their credit score because it’ll provide them with an opportunity to start over fresh.
Debt-to-income ratio is the calculation of how much monthly income is used to pay debt obligations. This calculation does not effect your credit score. However, its an important calculation in considering bankruptcy and the potential benefits of bankruptcy. For example, Suzy has five credit cards with minimum payments of $250 per month. She also has a mortgage obligation of $1,500 and a vehicle payment of $350. Suzy’s minimum monthly debt obligation is $3,100 per month. This does not include other necessary expenses such as food and utilities. Suzy only makes $50,000 per year before taxes, which is $4,167 per month. Suzy’s debt to income ratio is $3,100/$4,167 = 74%. This means that 74% of Suzy’s income is accounted for every month.
Credit Utilization Ratio
Credit utilization ratio compares the credit card usage with credit card limits. This credit utilization ratio is factored into credit scores. For example, Suzy has $5,000 in credit card debt. Suzy’s credit card limit is $7,000. Suzy’s credit utilization ratio is $5,000/$7,000 = 71%. Credit utilization should be low.
What do I need to file bankruptcy?
Items you need to file bankruptcy in Sacramento
The first step is to contact our Sacramento bankruptcy law firm to set up a free no-hassle consultation with one of our attorneys. They will fully explain the bankruptcy process to you. If you decide to hire Carson & Kyung to help you with your bankruptcy, the attorney will provide you with a document checklist and questionnaire. These documents will walk you through everything we need to complete the bankruptcy petition paperwork. These documents are incredibly important. The more thorough we are at the beginning of the process, the fewer questions we will receive from the Bankruptcy Court and the more likely you’ll have a successful outcome. Documents include, for example:
- Last two years tax returns;
- Last six months of pay stubs;
- Last six months of bank statements;
- Copies of vehicle titles/registration documents;
- Any and all court documents; i.e., lawsuits, notice of trustee’s sale, divorce decrees, etc.;
- Copies of most recent retirement/pension accounts; and,
- Copies of most recent life insurance policies.
The trustee will also need copies of some of the documents listed above. These are known as §521 documents and debtor duties.
What is a reaffirmation agreement?
A reaffirmation agreement is essentially a new contract between you and the lender.The money you owe on your vehicle is secured by the vehicle itself. Without signing a reaffirmation agreement, the lender may have the legal right to repossess your vehicle. The new contract “reaffirms” your debt and personal liability for the vehicle. By signing the reaffirmation agreement, you are agreeing to continue making payments on the vehicle in order to keep it.
A reaffirmation agreement may provide you with an opportunity to renegotiate your contract. The lender might be open to a lower monthly payment plan or even a lower balance based on the current market value. Your willingness or ability to part with the vehicle may help increase your leverage in the negotiations. Our lawyers have negotiated a great deal of reaffirmation agreements.
Most bankruptcy courts dislike reaffirmation agreements. They don’t want someone in financial distress to assume debt during a process meant to free that person from debt. If a debt is reaffirmed and the individual then defaults or fails to make payments, the individual is liable for the debt. Even though the individual filed bankruptcy, the individual is now stuck with owing a debt and having creditors attempting to collect.
- must be voluntary
- must not place too heavy a burden on you or your family
- must be in your best interest; and
- can be canceled any time before the court issues your discharge or within 60 days after the agreement is filed with the court, whichever gives you the most time.
What does discharge mean in bankruptcy?
A discharge is what takes place at the end of a successful bankruptcy process. A discharge releases you from personal liability on certain debts. This means, a creditor cannot legally require you to pay your debts after the discharge.
Are tax debts discharged in Bankruptcy?
Sacramento Attorney Experienced in Tax Debt
Individuals interested in filing bankruptcy regularly hear that student loans and tax debts are not discharged in bankruptcy. But, that is not always the case! There are situations when some student loans can be discharged. There are also situations when some tax debts can be discharged. However, there are situations where some types of tax debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy and this means that some or all will remain after the bankruptcy.
It comes down to a three-part test for determining if a tax debt can be discharged.
Part One – The 3-Year Rule
The tax debt must have become due at least three years before filing bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Code §507(a)(8)(A)(i). In California, personal taxes are due on April 15th. For example, Fred’s 2012 federal income taxes are due on April 15, 2013. Fred owes taxes for the year and is considering filing bankruptcy. The earliest he could possibly discharge those tax debts is April 16, 2016.
Part Two – The 2-Year Rule
The first test is for when the taxes are due. That may not be when the tax return was actually filed. The second rule states that the federal income return must have been filed at least two years before filing the bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Code §523(a)(1)(b)(ii).For example, Fred’s 2012 federal income taxes are due on April 15, 2013. However, Fred doesn’t actually file the tax return until August 4, 2014. Fred owes taxes for the year and is considering filing bankruptcy. The earliest he could possibly discharge those tax debts is August 4, 2016.
Part Three – The 240-Day Rule
The first test is for when the taxes are due. The second test is for when the taxes were filed. The third test is for when the taxes were assessed. The taxes must have been assessed at least 240 days before filing the bankruptcy petition. For example, Fred’s 2012 federal income taxes are due on April 15, 2013. However, Fred doesn’t actually file the tax return until August 4, 2014. On March 2, 2016, an audit by the Internal Revenue Service determined Fred owed taxes for the 2012 income tax return. Fred is now considering filing bankruptcy. The earliest he could possibly discharge those tax debts is October 28, 2016.
Amending tax returns and audits can both have big impacts on the possibility of discharging tax debts as seen in the third example. The rules can seem complicated, but its worth the time because discharging tax debts can be huge help.
Where do we represent bankruptcy clients?
Counties and Cities for Bankruptcy
We are licensed to practice bankruptcy in the Northern District of California and the Eastern District of California. The bankruptcy attorneys at Carson & Kyung, A Law Corporation, practice bankruptcy in the following cities:
- Applegate Bankruptcy
- Arden Arcade Bankruptcy
- Auburn Bankruptcy
- Beale Air Force Base Bankruptcy
- Brooks Bankruptcy
- Cameron Park Bankruptcy
- Capay Bankruptcy
- Carmichael Bankruptcy
- Citrus Heights Bankruptcy
- Clarksburg Bankruptcy
- Colfax Bankruptcy
- Coloma Bankruptcy
- Cool Bankruptcy
- Davis Bankruptcy
- Diamond Springs Bankruptcy
- Dutch Flat Bankruptcy
- El Dorado County Bankruptcy
- El Dorado Hills Bankruptcy
- El Dorado Bankruptcy
- El Macero Bankruptcy
- Elk Grove Bankruptcy
- Esparto Bankruptcy
- Fair Oaks Bankruptcy
- Florin Bankruptcy
- Folsom Bankruptcy
- Foothill Farms Bankruptcy
- Foresthill Bankruptcy
- Fremont Landing Bankruptcy
- Galt Bankruptcy
- Georgetown Bankruptcy
- Gold Country Bankruptcy
- Gold River Bankruptcy
- Gold Run Bankruptcy
- Granite Bay Bankruptcy
- Grass Valley Bankruptcy
- Herald Bankruptcy
- Homewood Bankruptcy
- Isleton Bankruptcy
- Kings Beach Bankruptcy
- Knights Landing Bankruptcy
- La Riviera Bankruptcy
- Laguna Bankruptcy
- Lincoln Bankruptcy
- Sutter County Bankruptcy
- Locke Bankruptcy
- Loma Rica Bankruptcy
- Loomis Bankruptcy
- Madison Bankruptcy
- Marysville Bankruptcy
- Meadow Vista Bankruptcy
- Natomas Bankruptcy
- Nevada City Bankruptcy
- Nevada County Bankruptcy
- Newcastle Bankruptcy
- North Auburn Bankruptcy
- North Highlands Bankruptcy
- Olivehurst Bankruptcy
- Orangevale Bankruptcy
- Penn Valley Bankruptcy
- Penryn Bankruptcy
- Placer County Bankruptcy
- Placerville Bankruptcy
- Pollock Pines Bankruptcy
- Rancho Cordova Bankruptcy
- Rancho Murieta Bankruptcy
- Rio Linda Bankruptcy
- Rocklin Bankruptcy
- Rosemont Bankruptcy
- Roseville Bankruptcy
- Sacramento Bankruptcy
- Placer County Bankruptcy
- Shingle Springs Bankruptcy
- South Lake Tahoe Bankruptcy
- South Yuba City Bankruptcy
- Squaw Valley Bankruptcy
- Placer County Bankruptcy
- Strawberry Bankruptcy
- El Dorado County Bankruptcy
- Sunnyside-Tahoe City Bankruptcy
- Sutter County, Sutter Bankruptcy
- Lake Tahoe Bankruptcy
- Tahoe Vista Bankruptcy
- Truckee Bankruptcy
- Twin Bridges Bankruptcy
- Vineyard Bankruptcy
- Walnut Grove Bankruptcy
- Wheatland Bankruptcy
- Wilton Bankruptcy
- Winters Bankruptcy
- Woodland Bankruptcy
- Yolo Bankruptcy
- Yuba City Bankruptcy
California Code of Civil Procedure 703.010-703.150
703.010. Except as otherwise provided by statute:
(a) The exemptions provided by this chapter or by any other statute apply to all procedures for enforcement of a money judgment.
(b) The exemptions provided by this chapter or by any other statute do not apply if the judgment to be enforced is for the foreclosure of a mortgage, deed of trust, or other lien or encumbrance on the property other than a lien created pursuant to this division or pursuant to Title 6.5 (commencing with Section 481.010) (attachment).
703.020. (a) The exemptions provided by this chapter apply only to property of a natural person.
(b) The exemptions provided in this chapter may be claimed by any of the following persons:
(1) In all cases, by the judgment debtor or a person acting on behalf of the judgment debtor.
(2) In the case of community property, by the spouse of the judgment debtor, whether or not the spouse is also a judgment debtor under the judgment.
(3) In the case of community property, by the domestic partner of the judgment debtor, as defined in Section 297 of the Family Code, whether or not the domestic partner is also a judgment debtor under the judgment.
703.030. (a) An exemption for property that is described in this chapter or in any other statute as exempt may be claimed within the time and in the manner prescribed in the applicable enforcement procedure. If the exemption is not so claimed, the exemption is waived and the property is subject to enforcement of a money judgment.
(b) Except as otherwise specifically provided by statute, property that is described in this chapter or in any other statute as exempt without making a claim is not subject to any procedure for enforcement of a money judgment.
(c) Nothing in this section limits the authority of the court pursuant to Section 473 to relieve a person upon such terms as may be just from failure to claim an exemption within the time and in the manner prescribed in the applicable enforcement procedure.
703.040. A purported contractual or other prior waiver of the exemptions provided by this chapter or by any other statute, other than a waiver by failure to claim an exemption required to be claimed or otherwise made at the time enforcement is sought, is against public policy and void.
703.050. (a) The determination whether property is exempt or the amount of an exemption shall be made by application of the exemption statutes in effect (1) at the time the judgment creditor’s lien on the property was created or (2) if the judgment creditor’s lien on the property is the latest in a series of overlapping liens created when an earlier lien on the property in favor of the judgment
creditor was in effect, at the time the earliest lien in the series of overlapping liens was created.
(b) This section applies to all judgments, whether based upon tort, contract, or other legal theory or cause of action that arose before or after the operative date of this section, and whether the judgment was entered before or after the operative date of this section.
(c) Notwithstanding subdivision (a), in the case of a levy of execution, the procedures to be followed in levying upon, selling, or releasing property, claiming, processing, opposing, and determining exemptions, and paying exemption proceeds, shall be governed by the law in effect at the time the levy of execution is made on the property.
703.060. (a) The Legislature finds and declares that generally persons who enter into contracts do not do so in reliance on an assumption that the exemptions in effect at the time of the contract will govern enforcement of any judgment based on the contract, that liens imposed on property are imposed not as a matter of right but as a matter of privilege granted by statute for purposes of priority,
that no vested rights with respect to exemptions are created by the making of a contract or imposition of a lien, that application of exemptions and exemption procedures in effect at the time of enforcement of a judgment is essential to the proper balance between the rights of judgment debtors and judgment creditors and has a minimal effect on the economic stability essential for the maintenance of private and public faith in commercial matters, and that it is the policy of the state to treat all judgment debtors equally with respect to exemptions and exemption procedures in effect at the time of enforcement of a money judgment. To this end, the Legislature reserves the right to repeal, alter, or add to the
exemptions and the procedures therefor at any time and intends, unless otherwise provided by statute, that any repeals, alterations, or additions apply upon their operative date to enforcement of all money judgments, whether based upon tort, contract, or other legal theory or cause of action that arose before or after the operative date of the repeals, alterations, or additions, whether the judgment
was entered before or after the operative date of the repeals, alterations, or additions.
(b) All contracts shall be deemed to have been made and all liens on property shall be deemed to have been created in recognition of the power of the state to repeal, alter, and add to statutes providing for liens and exemptions from the enforcement of money judgments.
703.070. Except as otherwise provided by statute:
(a) The exemptions provided by this chapter or by any other statute apply to a judgment for child, family, or spousal support.
(b) If property is exempt without making a claim, the property is not subject to being applied to the satisfaction of a judgment for child, family, or spousal support.
(c) Except as provided in subdivision (b), if property sought to be applied to the satisfaction of a judgment for child, family, or spousal support is shown to be exempt under subdivision (a) in appropriate proceedings, the court shall, upon noticed motion of the judgment creditor, determine the extent to which the exempt property nevertheless shall be applied to the satisfaction of the judgment. In
making this determination, the court shall take into account the needs of the judgment creditor, the needs of the judgment debtor and all the persons the judgment debtor is required to support, and all other relevant circumstances. The court shall effectuate its determination by an order specifying the extent to which the otherwise exempt property is to be applied to the satisfaction of the
703.080. (a) Subject to any limitation provided in the particular exemption, a fund that is exempt remains exempt to the extent that it can be traced into deposit accounts or in the form of cash or its equivalent.
(b) The exemption claimant has the burden of tracing an exempt fund.
(c) The tracing of exempt funds in a deposit account shall be by application of the lowest intermediate balance principle unless the exemption claimant or the judgment creditor shows that some other method of tracing would better serve the interests of justice and equity under the circumstances of the case.
703.090. If a judgment creditor has failed to oppose a claim of exemption within the time allowed by Section 703.550 or if property has been determined by a court to be exempt, and the judgment creditor thereafter levies upon or otherwise seeks to apply the property toward the satisfaction of the same money judgment, the
judgment creditor is not entitled to recover the subsequent costs of collection unless the property is applied to satisfaction of the judgment.
703.100. (a) Subject to subdivision (b), the determination whether property is exempt shall be made under the circumstances existing at the earliest of the following times:
(1) The time of levy on the property.
(2) The time of the commencement of court proceedings for the application of the property to the satisfaction of the money judgment.
(3) The time a lien is created under Title 6.5 (commencing with Section 481.010) (attachment) or under this title.
(b) The court, in its discretion, may take into consideration any of the following changes that have occurred between the time of levy or commencement of enforcement proceedings or creation of the lien and the time of the hearing:
(1) A change in the use of the property if the exemption is based upon the use of property and if the property was used for the exempt purpose at the time of the levy or the commencement of enforcement proceedings or the creation of the lien but is used for a nonexempt purpose at the time of the hearing.
(2) A change in the value of the property if the exemption is based upon the value of property.
(3) A change in the financial circumstances of the judgment debtor and spouse and dependents of the judgment debtor if the exemption is based upon their needs.
703.110. If the judgment debtor is married:
(a) The exemptions provided by this chapter or by any other statute apply to all property that is subject to enforcement of a money judgment, including the interest of the spouse of the judgment debtor in community property. The fact that one or both spouses are judgment debtors under the judgment or that property sought to be
applied to the satisfaction of the judgment is separate or community does not increase or reduce the number or amount of the exemptions. Where the property exempt under a particular exemption is limited to a specified maximum dollar amount, unless the exemption provision specifically provides otherwise, the two spouses together are entitled to one exemption limited to the specified maximum dollar amount, whether one or both of the spouses are judgment debtors under the judgment and whether the property sought to be applied to the satisfaction of the judgment is separate or community.
(b) If an exemption is required by statute to be applied first to property not before the court and then to property before the court, the application of the exemption to property not before the court shall be made to the community property and separate property of both spouses, whether or not such property is subject to enforcement of the money judgment.
(c) If the same exemption is claimed by the judgment debtor and the spouse of the judgment debtor for different property, and the property claimed by one spouse, but not both, is exempt, the exemption shall be applied as the spouses agree. If the spouses are unable to agree, the exemption shall be applied as directed by the court in its discretion.
703.115. In determining an exemption based upon the needs of the judgment debtor and the spouse and dependents of the judgment debtor or an exemption based upon the needs of the judgment debtor and the family of the judgment debtor, the court shall take into account all property of the judgment debtor and, to the extent the judgment debtor has a spouse and dependents or family, all property of such
spouse and dependents or family, including community property and separate property of the spouse, whether or not such property is subject to enforcement of the money judgment.
703.130. Pursuant to the authority of paragraph (2) of subsection (b) of Section 522 of Title 11 of the United States Code, the exemptions set forth in subsection (d) of Section 522 of Title 11 of the United States Code (Bankruptcy) are not authorized in this state.
703.140. (a) In a case under Title 11 of the United States Code, all of the exemptions provided by this chapter, including the homestead exemption, other than the provisions of subdivision (b) are applicable regardless of whether there is a money judgment against the debtor or whether a money judgment is being enforced by execution sale or any other procedure, but the exemptions provided by
subdivision (b) may be elected in lieu of all other exemptions provided by this chapter, as follows:
(1) If a husband and wife are joined in the petition, they jointly may elect to utilize the applicable exemption provisions of this chapter other than the provisions of subdivision (b), or to utilize the applicable exemptions set forth in subdivision (b), but not both.
(2) If the petition is filed individually, and not jointly, for a husband or a wife, the exemptions provided by this chapter other than the provisions of subdivision (b) are applicable, except that, if both the husband and the wife effectively waive in writing the right to claim, during the period the case commenced by filing the petition is pending, the exemptions provided by the applicable exemption provisions of this chapter, other than subdivision (b), in any case commenced by filing a petition for either of them under Title 11 of
the United States Code, then they may elect to instead utilize the applicable exemptions set forth in subdivision (b).
(3) If the petition is filed for an unmarried person, that person may elect to utilize the applicable exemption provisions of this chapter other than subdivision (b), or to utilize the applicable exemptions set forth in subdivision (b), but not both.
(b) The following exemptions may be elected as provided in subdivision (a):
(1) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed twenty-four thousand sixty dollars ($24,060) in value, in real property or personal property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence, in a cooperative that owns property that the debtor or a dependent of the debtor uses as a residence.
(2) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed four thousand eight hundred dollars ($4,800) in value, in one or more motor vehicles.
(3) The debtor’s interest, not to exceed six hundred dollars ($600) in value in any particular item, in household furnishings, household goods, wearing apparel, appliances, books, animals, crops, or musical instruments, that are held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.
(4) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed one thousand four hundred twenty-five dollars ($1,425) in value, in jewelry held primarily for the personal, family, or household use of the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.
(5) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed in value one thousand two hundred eighty dollars ($1,280) plus any unused amount of the exemption provided under paragraph (1), in any property.
(6) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed seven thousand one hundred seventy-five dollars ($7,175) in value, in any implements, professional books, or tools of the trade of the debtor or the trade of a dependent of the debtor.
(7) Any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor, other than a credit life insurance contract.
(8) The debtor’s aggregate interest, not to exceed in value twelve thousand eight hundred sixty dollars ($12,860), in any accrued dividend or interest under, or loan value of, any unmatured life insurance contract owned by the debtor under which the insured is the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent.
(9) Professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor.
(10) The debtor’s right to receive any of the following:
(A) A social security benefit, unemployment compensation, or a local public assistance benefit.
(B) A veterans’ benefit.
(C) A disability, illness, or unemployment benefit.
(D) Alimony, support, or separate maintenance, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor.
(E) A payment under a stock bonus, pension, profit-sharing, annuity, or similar plan or contract on account of illness, disability, death, age, or length of service, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor, unless all of the following apply:
(i) That plan or contract was established by or under the auspices of an insider that employed the debtor at the time the debtor’s rights under the plan or contract arose.
(ii) The payment is on account of age or length of service.
(iii) That plan or contract does not qualify under Section 401(a), 403(a), 403(b), 408, or 408A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.
(11) The debtor’s right to receive, or property that is traceable to, any of the following:
(A) An award under a crime victim’s reparation law.
(B) A payment on account of the wrongful death of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor.
(C) A payment under a life insurance contract that insured the life of an individual of whom the debtor was a dependent on the date of that individual’s death, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor.
(D) A payment, not to exceed twenty-four thousand sixty dollars ($24,060), on account of personal bodily injury of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is a dependent. (E) A payment in compensation of loss of future earnings of the debtor or an individual of whom the debtor is or was a dependent, to the extent reasonably necessary for the support of the debtor and any dependent of the debtor.
703.150. (a) On April 1, 2004, and at each three-year interval ending on April 1 thereafter, the dollar amounts of exemptions provided in subdivision (b) of Section 703.140 in effect immediately before that date shall be adjusted as provided in subdivision (d). (b) On April 1, 2007, and at each three-year interval ending on April 1 thereafter, the dollar amounts of exemptions provided in Article 3 (commencing with Section 704.010) in effect immediately before that date shall be adjusted as provided in subdivision (d). (c) On April 1, 2013, and at each three-year interval ending on April 1 thereafter, the Judicial Council shall submit to the Legislature the amount by which the dollar amounts of exemptions provided in subdivision (a) of Section 704.730 in effect immediately before that date may be increased as provided in subdivision (d). Those increases shall not take effect unless they are approved by the Legislature.
(d) The Judicial Council shall determine the amount of the adjustment based on the change in the annual California Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers, published by the Department of Industrial Relations, Division of Labor Statistics, for the most recent three-year period ending on December 31 preceding the adjustment, with each adjusted amount rounded to the nearest twenty-five dollars ($25).
(e) Beginning April 1, 2004, the Judicial Council shall publish a list of the current dollar amounts of exemptions provided in subdivision (b) of Section 703.140 and in Article 3 (commencing with Section 704.010), together with the date of the next scheduled adjustment. In any year that the Legislature votes to increase the exemptions provided in subdivision (a) of Section 704.730, the Judicial Council shall publish a list of current dollar amounts of exemptions.
(f) Adjustments made under subdivision (a) do not apply with respect to cases commenced before the date of the adjustment, subject to any contrary rule applicable under the federal Bankruptcy Code. The applicability of adjustments made under subdivisions (b) and (c) is governed by Section 703.050.
Sacramento Bankruptcy Resources
United States Bankruptcy Courts – The general bankruptcy courts website that provides locations and information on bankruptcy.
United States Bankruptcy Court, Eastern District – Bankruptcy cases that are filed in Sacramento, California, are filed in the Eastern District. The Sacramento bankruptcy court is located at 501 I Street, Sacramento, California, 95814.
United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District – Bankruptcy cases that are filed in Berkeley and Oakland, California, are filed in the Northern District of California. The Oakland bankruptcy court is located at 1301 Clay Street, Oakland, California, 94612.
Department of Justice, U.S. Trustee Program Region 17 – “The United States Trustee Program is the component of the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises the administration of bankruptcy cases. The United States Trustee for Region 17 serves the federal judicial district established for the Eastern and Northern Districts of California and the District of Nevada. The regional office is located in San Francisco, CA. The links on this site contain information about the regional office of the United States Trustee and the field offices within Region 17.”
Contact Sacramento Bankruptcy Attorneys
Are you interested talking to an attorney about bankruptcy? The first meeting is free. Our staff works hard to help educate people considering their financial options. You’ll learn the entire process and know all costs. Please contact Sacramento’s bankruptcy attorneys to set up a free consultation.
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Carson & Kyung, A Law Corporation
900 Howe Avenue Suite 230