Bankruptcy Attorneys


If you have lost your job, are unable to work, made a bad investment or simply don’t have the money to pay your bills, don’t be afraid to ask for help. At the law firm of Childers & Associates, our Imperial Valley bankruptcy lawyers are dedicated professionals helping people like you get a fresh start through Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. 

Bankruptcy Lawyers

Our bankruptcy lawyers at Childers & Associates offer over 12 years of combined experience in California bankruptcy law. Our bankruptcy lawyers know how the process works on both sides of the situation and we can help you. Call 760-335-6881 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Bankruptcy: A Positive Solution

Many people see bankruptcy as a negative thing, but nothing could be farther from the truth. Bankruptcy allows you to start over and begin the process of rebuilding your credit, your good name and your future. Bankruptcy provides debt relief and releases you from the stress that sends a chill up your spine every time your phone rings.

We also offer a variety of other debt relief services and alternatives to bankruptcy:

  • Debt negotiation and consolidation, which can help to simplify and possibly reduce the amount of your debts

  • Credit repair services that help to clean up your credit report and make it easier for you to apply for credit and loans

Our bankruptcy attorneys provide personalized service to every client. We take your situation very seriously and you can count on us to work hard for a positive outcome in your case.

Contact an Imperial Valley Bankruptcy Lawyer Today!

Contact a El Centro Bankruptcy attorney to discuss your bankruptcy questions. Our law bankruptcy law firm is open during regular business hours and at other times by appointment. Call 760-355-6881 or email us today.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in El Centro


Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a good option for people who have large amounts of credit card debt or other unsecured debt and are having a difficult time making the minimum payments or your minimum payments don’t seem to put a dent in the amount you owe. The entire process can take up to six months to complete and the assistance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

El Centro Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers

The El Centro Chapter 7 lawyers at the law firm of Childers & Associates dedicate a significant portion of our practice to bankruptcy and debt relief services.  Our chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys in El Centro offer clients throughout El Centro including the Imperial County and have over 12 years of combined experience in California bankruptcy law. We commit ourselves to helping people get out from under the burden of their debts and get a fresh start on life.

How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a fairly straightforward process that allows you to wipe out virtually all of your debt without losing all of your property. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are allowed to keep certain exempt property including a home, a vehicle, your income and other necessary items. Nonexempt property will be sold by the court and the funds disbursed to the people or companies to whom you owe money. After that, the debts are generally considered settled.

Once you file for bankruptcy, the law requires that all collection, foreclosure and repossession activity stop immediately. You will stop receiving harassing phone calls from bill collectors and you will finally be able to relax again. When you hire the law firm of Childers & Associates as your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorneys in El Centro, you will deal directly with your attorney at all times. Our El Centro Chapter 7 lawyers provide personalized service to every client and handle each aspect of your case ourselves.

Contact a El Centro Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney Today!

There are certain criteria you have to meet to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Contact a El Centro Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney today to learn more. Call 760-355-6881 or contact us online for a FREE consultation.

If you are thinking about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy please read the following FAQ information you, it will give you a better understanding of what the law allows when you meet with your Bankruptcy Lawyer or Attorney. If your questions are still not answered after reading the following information please contact us.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, sometimes call a straight bankruptcy is a liquidation proceeding. The debtor turns over all non-exempt property to the bankruptcy trustee who then converts it to cash for distribution to the creditors. The debtor receives a discharge of all dischargeable debts usually within four months. In the vast majority of cases the debtor has no assets that he would lose so Chapter 7 will give that person a relatively quick “fresh start”.

One of the main purposes of Bankruptcy Law is to give a person, who is hopelessly burdened with debt, a fresh start by wiping out his or her debts.

top of page

How difficult will it be to file Chapter 7 under the new bankruptcy laws?

There has been much doom and gloom written about the bankruptcy means test under the new laws and how much more difficult it’s going to be to file Chapter 7. It’s true that there are more hoops to jump through under the new laws and it’s true that the bankruptcy means test will result in some people having to file chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7.

However, for the vast majority of filers Chapter 7 is still available with very little extra effort!

top of page

Will my creditors stop harassing me?

Yes, they will! By law, all actions against a debtor must cease once the documents are filed. Creditors cannot initiate or continue any lawsuits, wage garnishees, or even telephone calls demanding payments. Secured creditors such as banks holding, for example, a lien on a car, will get the stay lifted if you cannot make payments.

top of page

Will my spouse be affected?

Your wife or husband will not be affected by your bankruptcy if they are not responsible (did not sign an agreement or contract) for any of your debt. If they have a supplemental credit card they are probably responsible for that debt. However, In community property states, either spouse can contract for a debt without the other spouse’s signature on anything, and still obligate the marital community. There are a few exceptions to that rule, such as the purchase or sale of real estate; those few exceptions do require both spouse’s signatures on contracts. But the day to day debts, such as credit cards, do NOT require both spouses to have signed.

Community property states are: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

Your lawyer will be able to guide you in this regard.

top of page

Who will know?

Bankruptcy filings are public records. However, under normal circumstances, no one will know you went bankrupt. The Credit Bureaus will record your bankruptcy and it will remain on your credit record for 10 years.

top of page

What are the most common reasons for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

The most common reasons for filing bankruptcy are:

Unemployment: Large medical expenses; Seriously overextended credit; Marital problems, and; Other large unexpected expenses.
A Harvard Study reported that half of US bankruptcies were caused by medical Bills (MSNBC). The study was published online in February of 2005 by Health Affairs. The Harvard study concluded that illness and medical bills caused half (50.4 percent) of the 1,458,000 personal bankruptcies in 2001. The study estimates that medical bankruptcies affect about 2 million Americans annually counting debtors and their dependents, including about 700,000 children.

top of page

Can I keep my credit cards?

Whether a debtor keeps credit cards after filing bankruptcy is up to the credit card company. If you are discharging a credit card they will cancel the card unless you reaffirm the debt. Even if you have a zero balance the credit card company might cancel the card.

top of page

When will I be discharged from bankruptcy?

One of the major purposes of bankruptcy legislation is to afford the opportunity to a person hopelessly burdened with debt to erase his or her debt and thereby get a fresh financial start. A bankrupt’s debt is erased when he or she is discharged.

top of page

If I use a credit counselor won’t I get a better credit rating than if I go bankrupt?

No, you will not. It will cost you less money and you will rebuild your credit rating faster if you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Be cautious if your are considering using a credit counselor. Also read about the problems of unscrupulous companies in the credit counseling industry and the action the IRS has taken against “non-profit” credit counseling groups following widespread abuse.

top of page

Will I ever get credit again?

Yes! A number of banks now offer “secured” credit cards where a debtor puts up a certain amount of money (as little as $200) in an account at the bank to guarantee payment. Usually the credit limit is equal to the security given and is increased as the debtor proves his or her ability to pay the debt. Two years after a bankruptcy discharge, debtors are eligible for mortgage loans on terms as good as those of others, with the same financial profile, who have not filed bankruptcy. The size of your down payment and the stability of your income will be much more important than the fact you filed bankruptcy in the past. The fact you filed bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years. It becomes less significant the further in the past the bankruptcy is. The truth is, that you are probably a better credit risk after bankruptcy than before.

top of page

Can my boss fire me for filing bankruptcy?

No. U.S.C. Sec. 525, prohibits any employer from discriminating against you because you filed bankruptcy.

top of page

How much am I allowed to keep?

You are allowed to keep certain assets, depending on the state in which you reside.

top of page

What don’t I keep?

In a bankruptcy, assets in excess of your allowed personal exemption, or non exempt assets such as, real estate, automobiles and boats will be liquidated by the trustee.

top of page

I was bankrupt before. When can I file again?

A person can file Chapter 7 again if it has been more than 8 years since he or she filed the previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Also refer to: Chapter 13.

top of page

What are the key or major events in the bankruptcy process and when will the bankruptcy be over?

The Steps in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

  1. Day 1: The Bankruptcy documents are filed with the Bankruptcy Court.
  2. Day 14: Creditors are advised that a petition has been filed.
  3. Day 20-40: A meeting of creditors is held at the court (341 Meeting).
  4. Day 20-30 and After: The trustee will sell any non-exempt assets.
  5. Day 90 (after the 341 Meeting): Unsecured creditors must have filed their claims.
  6. Day 60-90 (after the 341 Meeting): The debtor is discharged and all debts (with some exceptions) are written off.

top of page

What debts are erased by a bankruptcy?

Most unsecured debt is erased in a bankruptcy except for:

  • Child support and alimony;
  • Debts for personal injury or death caused by your drunk driving;
  • Student Loans.
  • Income tax debt.

Note on Private Student Loans: On June 7 2007, US Senator Dick Durbin introduced a Bill to make private student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy, as they were before 2005. The 2005 changes to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code made the treatment of private student loans equivalent to the treatment of government-guaranteed student loans, which were not dischargeable. This bill would reverse the 2005 amendment, so that private student loans again would be fully dischargeable in bankruptcy.

More Detailed information about debt that might survive bankruptcy

The following debts are not erased in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. If you file for Chapter 7, these will remain when your case is over. If you file for Chapter 13, these debts will have to be paid in full during your plan. If they are not, the balance will remain at the end of your case:

Debts you forget to list in your bankruptcy papers, unless the creditor learns of your bankruptcy case;

Child support and alimony; Debts for personal injury or death caused by your intoxicated driving; Student loans from government organizations, unless it would be an undue hardship for you to repay; Fines and penalties imposed for violating the law, such as traffic tickets and criminal restitution, and Recent income tax debts and all other tax debts.

This is a complicated area of the bankruptcy law and an attorney should be consulted. You can discharge (wipe out) debts for federal income taxes in Chapter 7 bankruptcy only if all of these four conditions are met:

  1. The IRS has not recorded a tax lien against your property. (If all other conditions are met, the taxes may be discharged, but even after your bankruptcy, the lien remains against all property you own, effectively giving the IRS a way to collect.)
  2. You didn’t file a fraudulent return or try to evade paying taxes. The liability is for a tax return (not a Substitute or Return) actually filed at least two years before you file for bankruptcy.
  3. The tax return was due at least three years ago.
  4. The taxes were assessed (you received a notice of assessment of federal taxes from the IRS) at least 240 days (eight months) before you file for bankruptcy. (11 U.S.C. §§ 523(a)(1) and (7).)

In addition, the following debts may be declared non-dischargeable by a bankruptcy judge in Chapter 7 if the creditor challenges your request to discharge them. These debts may be discharged in Chapter 13. You can include them in your plan, and at the end of your case, the balance is wiped out:

  1. Debts you incurred on the basis of fraud, such as lying on a credit application; Credit purchases of $1,225 or more for luxury goods or services made within 60 days of filing; Loans or cash advances of $1,225 or more taken within 60 days of filing; New Bankruptcy Law taking effect on October 17, 2005: Debts you incurred on the basis of fraud, such as lying on a credit application; Credit purchases of $500 or more for luxury goods or services made within 90 days of filing; Loans or cash advances of $750 or more taken within 70 days of filing;
  2. Debts from willful or malicious injury to another person or another person’s property; Debts from embezzlement, larceny or breach of trust, and
  3. Debts you owe under a divorce decree or settlement unless after bankruptcy you would still not be able to afford to pay them or the benefit you’d receive by the discharge outweighs any detriment to your ex-spouse (who would have to pay them if you discharge them in bankruptcy).

top of page

Bankruptcy Attorney Practice Areas:

Imperial County Bankruptcy Attorney

  • El Centro Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Brawley Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Imperial Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Westmorland Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Calipatria Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Calexico Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Ocotillo Wells Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Ocotillo Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Niland Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Salton City Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Holtville Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Seeley Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Heber Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Palo Verde Bankruptcy Attorney
  • Winterhaven Bankruptcy Attorney