How to File Bankruptcy in Petaluma, CA

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3 Months Of Hell: U.S. Economy Drops 32.9% In Worst GDP Report Ever

- NPR - Thu, Jul 30, 2020

"Horrific," said Nariman Behravesh, chief economist at IHS Markit. "We've never seen anything quite like it."

Another 1.43 million people filed for state unemployment last week, an increase of 12,000, the Labor Department reported Thursday. It was the second week in a row of increased unemployment filings and shows that the economic picture continues to remain grim.

GDP swings are typically reported at an annual rate — as if they were to continue for a full year — which can be misleading in a volatile period like this. The overall economy in the second quarter was 9.5% smaller than during the same period a year ago.

After a sharp drop in March and April, economic activity began to rebound in May and June, although that recovery remains halting and could be jeopardized by a new surge of infections.”
Stressed About Paying August Rent? Check Here First

- KQED - Wed, Jul 29, 2020

“Renters in California are protected, for now, by state and local eviction moratoriums. But some of those provisions are set to expire in August. Most notably, the California Judicial Council announced that its statewide eviction moratorium could sunset as soon as Aug. 14. The provision has been in place since April, and prevents court actions on evictions and judicial foreclosures, effectively halting most evictions in the state.

With the Aug. 14 deadline looming, state leaders are now scrambling to come up with long-term fix that would protect renters and property owners who have lost income during the pandemic.

Poll: Nearly Half of Americans Believe Job Losses Are Permanent

- Associated Press - Sat, Jul 25, 2020

“With California’s unemployment rate still at a near-record high, a new national poll suggests that almost half of Americans whose families experienced a layoff during the coronavirus pandemic now believe those jobs are lost forever — a sign of increasing pessimism that would translate into roughly 10 million workers needing to find a new employer, if not a new occupation.

It’s a sharp change after initial optimism the jobs would return, as temporary cutbacks give way to shuttered businesses, bankruptcies and lasting payroll cuts. In April, 78% of those in households with a job loss thought they’d be temporary. Now, 47% think that lost job is definitely or probably not coming back, according to the latest poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research.

State Unemployment Agencies Could Take Months To Adapt To WH Proposal, Memos Show

- NPR - Sat, Jul 25, 2020

“Such a lag could mean the roughly 30 million people currently collecting pandemic-related unemployment benefits would see their income drop from a weekly average of $900 to an average of $300 per week.

The proposal would cut emergency unemployment benefits to roughly 70% of a person's lost wages — a more complicated calculation than the current, flat $600.

Critics have warned since March that such a proposal would undermine efforts to speed relief to millions of people out of work due to the coronavirus. The potential delays are so significant that the U.S. Department of Labor told Congress in May that it "strongly" opposed such a change because states would find it "exceedingly difficult if not impossible to implement."”
$600 Weekly Unemployment Benefit Ends, Sparking Fears Of Evictions

- NPR - Fri, Jul 24, 2020

Federal Aid Has So Far Averted Personal Bankruptcies, but Trouble Looms

- New York Times - Fri, Jul 17, 2020

“Once federal benefits dry up, highly indebted consumers could be forced to file. The United States went into the Great Lockdown with the most household debt in history, stagnant incomes for all but high earners and armies of people telling pollsters they were living paycheck to paycheck. Then, for millions, their paychecks stopped.

But instead of a stampede to the bankruptcy courts, personal bankruptcy filings — a useful, if extreme, indicator of the financial health of the American consumer — dropped sharply from April through June, even as unemployment soared, according to calculations by the American Bankruptcy Institute based on data from Epiq Global, a legal research and analytics firm.
Economist: U.S. Workers, Economy Will Suffer With End Of Federal Pandemic Benefits

Sam Gringlass - NPR - Fri, Jul 17, 2020

“Most people can apply for unemployment benefits from their state as well. But that state benefit can vary a lot depending on where you live. In Arizona, the maximum is $240 a week. How well is the typical household able to live off that much?

Families really need well over $600 a week. And even when you add in the state benefits, it's really grossly inadequate. There's just no way to afford the cost of housing, the cost of care-giving, the cost of food. Really, the $600 is just helping families stay afloat.

Millions of Americans face unemployment cash cliff with no sign of congressional deal\

- NBC News - Fri, Jul 17, 2020

“Conservatives like Moore are calling on Congress to eliminate the federal bonus entirely and let states determine unemployment payments. But he said there are discussions about that, because some Republicans want to replace it with a smaller benefit, while others want to peg it to a percentage of workers' pre-pandemic earnings.

"I guarantee you it's not going to be $600," Moore said. "That number is negotiable."

McConnell backed the $600-a-week jobless bonus in March, but in an appearance Tuesday in Kentucky, he called the payments "a mistake." He also appeared to leave room for negotiation, saying he could support federal benefits that didn't top workers' previous salaries.”
Getting Out Of Medical Debt Can Feel Impossible. Here's How To Do It

Chris Arnold - NPR - Tue, Jul 14, 2020

“1. Ask for help as soon as possible.
2. Don't pay the sticker price!
3. Be persistent.
4. Don't put medical debt on a credit card.
5. Remember that medical debt is not as urgent as your other bills.
6. Take steps to make debt collectors stop calling.
7. A nonprofit advocate can help.
23 million Americans could face eviction in coming months

- CBS News - Mon, Jul 13, 2020

“One in five U.S. households who rent their homes could face eviction by October as enhanced federal unemployment benefits and eviction moratoriums come to an end this summer, an analysis shows. Already, thousands of eviction cases are pending in a number of states.

Between 19 million and 23 million families that rent across the country are at risk of losing their homes by September 30, estimates the COVID-19 Eviction Defense Project, an advocacy group focused on the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on housing.

A spike in evictions could add to the nation's problems as it battles the widening COVID-19 outbreak and the accompanying economic recession. A surge in homelessness also could raise the risk of infection because evicted families often double up with relatives and friends, stay in shelters or end up on the street.

CFPB Guts Curbs on Unaffordable 400% APR Payday Loans

- National Consumer Law Center - Tue, Jul 7, 2020

“Washington, D.C. – Today, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) released its final rule gutting the protections against unaffordable payday loans. The previous payday loan rule, issued under former CFPB director Richard Cordray in October 2017, limited unaffordable loans that trap families in a cycle of debt. The CFPB also announced that it is ratifying and will seek to implement the provisions of the payday loan rule that prevent lenders, including those offering high-cost longer term loans, from hitting people with repeated bounced payment fees.
“It is truly shocking that the CFPB, an agency created to protect families from financial abuses, is bending over backwards to side with the most scurrilous lenders over the consumers it is supposed to protect."”
Can I Be Evicted During Coronavirus?

- ProPublica - Mon, Jun 22, 2020

“The federal government has ordered a halt to all evictions until July 25 against tenants who can’t pay their rent in properties that have federally backed loans or that participate in certain programs. Use this database to search apartment buildings nationwide to find out if your rental unit may qualify for eviction protection.
When State Eviction Protections Expire
State and local governments have assembled a patchwork of eviction protection rules, meaning some renters may face the threat of eviction sooner than others as reopening begins.”
Extra $600 in weekly unemployment benefits runs out next month. Here's how to prepare

- USAToday - Fri, Jun 19, 2020

“The millions of Americans who have filed for unemployment since the pandemic walloped the economy in March face an unwelcome surprise next month.
While the CARES Act directed an extra $600 a week in jobless benefits to help out-of-work Americans weather business shutdowns, those additional benefits expire July 31.
Unless Congress steps in to extend the benefits, Americans will see their unemployment checks reduced to their state’s typical payout starting in August, with a national average of about $378 per week. But some laid-off workers may not be aware of the cutoff, with a recent survey from Credit Karma finding almost a quarter of respondents believing there was no expiration date for the extra $600 per week.”
Relief for taxpayers affected by COVID-19 who take distributions or loans from retirement plans

- IRS - Fri, Jun 19, 2020

“The Internal Revenue Service today released Notice 2020-50 (PDF) to help retirement plan participants affected by the COVID-19 coronavirus take advantage of the CARES Act provisions providing enhanced access to plan distributions and plan loans. This includes expanding the categories of individuals eligible for these types of distributions and loans (referred to as "qualified individuals") and providing helpful guidance and examples on how qualified individuals will reflect the tax treatment of these distributions and loans on their federal income tax filings.”
When Is The Time Right To File Bankruptcy

Cathy Moran - Bankruptcy Soap Box - Fri, Jun 5, 2020

“filing bankruptcy is all about timing.... File bankruptcy too early, or too late, and you risk losing assets or advantages that better timing could have assured...
Admittedly, you don’t always have the luxury of filing bankruptcy on your own schedule. But for those who can plan ahead, better bankruptcy outcomes are available.
The bankruptcy code measures lots of rights with reference to events occurring before filing. Some of these rights involve you, the debtor. Other rights belong to the bankruptcy trustee, or your creditors.
These time periods affect
Discharging taxes
Tax refunds
Clawbacks of money transfers
Eligibility to file bankruptcy
The amount of your Chapter 13 payment
The most common and avoidable mistake in bankruptcy is waiting too long to file. Filing sooner can avoid
Spending money you could keep if you filed bankruptcy
Enduring stress caused by debt
Creditors get liens you can’t avoid
Bills I Gotta Pay, But There’s A Pandemic Out There

Cathy Moran - Bankruptcy Soap Box - Sat, May 30, 2020

“I want to tackle just a small piece of the problem, the sense that there are bills one HAS to pay.

Maybe usually.
Maybe eventually.
But not necessarily now.

This consumer lawyer‘s take on our situation suggests that you set aside existing money habits and fretting about the future. Stress itself is deadly, and your first goal is to stay healthy.”
An ‘Avalanche of Evictions’ Could Be Bearing Down on America’s Renters

Sarah Mervosh - New York Times - Wed, May 27, 2020

“The United States, already wrestling with an economic collapse not seen in a generation, is facing a wave of evictions as government relief payments and legal protections run out for millions of out-of-work Americans who have little financial cushion and few choices when looking for new housing.

The hardest hit are tenants who had low incomes and little savings even before the pandemic, and whose housing costs ate up more of their paychecks. They were also more likely to work in industries where job losses have been particularly severe.
FastCase Free COVID-19 Resources

- FastCase - Sat, May 23, 2020

“In light of the COVID-19 epidemic the Fastcase team is working with our partners to ensure lawyers and volunteers have access to complimentary resources available to them. If at any time you’re experiencing difficulty logging into your account, please contact the Fastcase team at and access will be provided. Fastcase has created a COVID-19 resource hub, bringing together free legislative and government updates and COVID-19 content across leading news media sources. ”

Do You Qualify for Bankruptcy in Sonoma County, California?

You may be surprised to learn that whether you can file for bankruptcy can come down to which state and county you live in.

Which type of bankruptcy you qualify for depends, in part, on whether your annual income is more or less than the California median income. Before looking at numbers and formulas, however, you should be familiar with the two main types of personal bankruptcy:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 allows you to eliminate most unsecured debts in a matter of months in return for giving up all property that is not exempt. (Unsecured debts are debts—like credit card charges or medical bills—that aren’t backed up by specific items of property as collateral.)


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Alternatives to Filing for Bankruptcy in California

Filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a life saver, but don’t rush into it before considering whether it’s the best solution for you. Under some circumstances, even if you’re facing a mountain of unpayable debts, bankruptcy may not be your best option.

Who Files for Bankruptcy?

The typical bankruptcy filer is a person already in fragile economic circumstances, often with large amounts of credit card debt, who then suddenly gets hit by hard luck—like job loss, injury, divorce, or uninsured medical expenses—leading to unmanageable payments and insurmountable penalties.

Bankruptcy is designed to help people like this, who need help making a clean break—to get a fresh start on life, rather than struggling under the crushing burden of unpayable debt.

When You Might Not Need (or Want) to File for Bankruptcy

If You're Judgment Proof

It you’re truly broke, you may be what the law calls “judgment proof.” This simply means that creditors can’t grab your property or your salary because there’s nothing the law allows them to take. more...  

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How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works

For most people, the goal of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to wipe out as much debt as possible. In legal terms, this is called having your debts “discharged.”

In exchange for your bankruptcy discharge, you must be willing to turn over any of your property that is not exempt under bankruptcy law. The bankruptcy trustee in charge of your case will liquidate (sell) the property to pay as much as possible to your creditors; that’s why Chapter 7 is often called “liquidation bankruptcy.”

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How Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Works

Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you pay all or part of your debts in installments over a period of either three or five years. Many people who want to declare bankruptcy but have too much income to qualify for Chapter 7 end up filing for Chapter 13. Regular income allows folks in Chapter 13 to keep up with an agreed upon payment plan.

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How Much Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy in California?

In 2020, Chapter 7 bankruptcy costs $335 in filing fees, unless you get a fee waiver from the court. And the filing fees for Chapter 13 are $310. But the cost of filing for bankruptcy is more than just the filing fee. You may also have to pay for:


Where to File for Bankruptcy in Sonoma County

Where to file your bankruptcy case depends on where you live and on whether you have a business close to home. Usually, you'll file in the federal district court closest to where you've lived for the past 180 days (six months). But if you run a business in a different district and most of your property is located there, you may have to file in the federal court serving that location.