The Law Offices of

B J Fadem & Associates, APC

Certified Family Law Specialist

Our San Jose Bankruptcy Attorney, Patricia M. Zerbini, has worked with individuals and families struggling with harassing creditors and their impacted finances very compassionately.  Patricia M. Zerbini also works with BJ Fadem, a Certified Family Law Specialist, on family law matters as well.  Being a San Jose Bankruptcy Attorney and working with BJ Fadem on complex family law matters has helped Patricia M. Zerbini to better understand her client’s experiences and struggles.

When you are going through such a stressful situation, you need the best of the best. In attempting to locate a San Jose Bankruptcy Attorney, there are many choices and it can be very challenging. However, when it comes to the crisis you or your family are facing, now is the time to choose someone with experience and who is sympathetic to your needs. We understand that there is a lot of miss-information, a lot of confusing information, and that the laws regarding bankruptcy can be difficult to comprehend. We do not feel threatened, we stay up to date, and our San Jose Bankruptcy Attorney, Patricia M. Zerbini, who works with BJ Fadem, has the knowledge and know how to achieve your freedom from the ever increasing debt you deserve.  If we only had to pay back what we actually borrowed, none of us would even have to think about filing for bankruptcy.

As a San Jose Bankruptcy Attorney, Patricia M. Zerbini, and her team with BJ Fadem, can help you stop the harassing phone calls, stop the wage garnishments or bank levies eating away at your hard earned wages, stop pending lawsuits, stop a pending foreclosure sale, and even buy you time to work on a mortgage home loan modification.


  1. CHAPTER 7

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, also known as the evil “liquidation” bankruptcy, is not as scary as you may have heard.  If you are below income, have limited assets, and cannot make ends meet every month, the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start.   An experienced San Jose Bankruptcy Attorney can help you apply exemptions which are used to protect your assets so as to avoid having to liquidate them.

In as little as 90 days, you will emerge from bankruptcy virtually debt free, and ready to begin establishing a stress-free life.  With a Chapter 7 you can eliminate all dischargeable debt (credit cards, phone bills that have been sent to collections, debts related to previous evictions, repossessed vehicles, debts relating to a foreclosed home, etc.).  This will come as a huge relief if you are currently unable to cover your basic living expenses.


  1. CHAPTER 13

For some individuals and families a Chapter 13 is the better option.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, known as the “reorganization” chapter, allows you to pay back all or some of your dischargeable debt over a three to five year period.  What determines how much you will pay back to creditors is your income and assets.  An experienced San Jose Bankruptcy Attorney can help you to figure out what exactly you will have to pay back, and hopefully even save you some money.  You can even use a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to erase a second mortgage, if you qualify under the bankruptcy code for this type of relief.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop a pending foreclosure sale while you work on a loan modification, so that the bank cannot sell the home right out from under you.  You can also use a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to get caught up on missed mortgage payments, car loan payments, property taxes, personal taxes, and even child support arrears.  In some cases you can even lower the interest rates on certain debts, for example on a qualifying car loan.



What Debts Are Not Discharged in A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Although most unsecured debts (most credit cards, personal loans, phone or cable bills, eviction debts, etc.) can be discharged when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there are certain debts that you will still be responsible for. These would include certain types of taxes, student loans, child support, alimony and any fraudulent debts that you may have incurred.

Due to the complexity of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and ensuring that you are able to get the most out of it, it is important for you to have an attorney that can help you through the process. In the vast majority of cases, individuals who are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are trying to have credit cards and other unsecured debts discharged and they do not have many assets to their name. In those cases, it is quite possible that all of your debt is going to be eliminated once the bankruptcy case has successfully run its course.

Will I Lose Anything I Own?

You may be able to keep certain assets after you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Those may vary from one case to another but may include your automobile, home, bank accounts and household furniture.  There are three factors which affect whether or not you can keep your assets after filing for Chapter 7: (1) amount of equity in the asset, (2) availability of bankruptcy exemption, (3) status of loan payments on a secured debt.

Will I Have to Go to Court?

There are no court appearances during the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, provided you were honest when preparing your bankruptcy petition and schedules.  You are, however, required to attend a 341(a) Meeting of Creditors with your bankruptcy Trustee and attorney before your debts and bankruptcy filing may be discharged.  No judge or jury will be present, but you are required to answer questions about your bankruptcy petition while under oath, and confirm your identity and social security or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) by providing an original driver’s license or other form of government issued identification, social security card or ITIN card.

Why do I Need a Bankruptcy Attorney?

You can only eliminate your debts by filing for Chapter 7 every eight years.  It is therefore critical to prepare and file your bankruptcy paperwork right the first time.  An experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide you through the legal process and help to make the most out of the applicable bankruptcy exemptions and exempt as much of the property you can keep after you file for Chapter 7.

Does Filing for Bankruptcy Stop a Wage Garnishment or Bank Levy?

Yes.  After filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are granted an automatic stay.  This means that most creditors and debt collectors cannot contact you, garnish your wages, levy your bank accounts or repossess your property during the bankruptcy process.  In most cases, the bankruptcy discharges the debt that led to the garnishment or bank levy and it permanently ends the moment you file your bankruptcy petition.

Domestic support orders (child support) garnishments will, however, remain in effect as it is considered a non-dischargeable debt as discussed above.

Can I Keep my Car that has a Loan?

A bankruptcy discharge also eliminates your car loan.  If you would like to keep the car, your lender may require you to sign a reaffirmation agreement which basically says that the car loan survives the bankruptcy filing.  Since this debt will survive your bankruptcy filing, it is important to speak with a qualified attorney to discuss the benefits and potential side effects before signing a reaffirmation agreement.

Can I Choose What Debts Get Discharged Under Chapter 7?

No.  You must disclose all of your debts in your bankruptcy filing to receive a discharge at the end of your claim.  Even personal debts you may want to pay back, such as money owed to family members or friends, must be disclosed.

How Much Debt is needed to File Chapter 7?

There is no minimum debt required to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Anyone who can pass the means test is eligible to file.  Chapter 7 is not the right option for everyone with debt problems.  Bankruptcy should only be considered if you are no longer able to pay your debts and you are facing lawsuits, repossessions, bank levies, or wage garnishments from creditors.

Should I Stop Using My Credit Cards If I Am Planning on Filing for Bankruptcy?

You should avoid unnecessary charges on your credit cards if you are facing enough debt to consider bankruptcy.  Federal bankruptcy law states that you cannot discharge debts of more than $600 for goods or services not classified as living expenses that were made within 90 days of your bankruptcy filing.

Your bankruptcy Trustee and creditors can examine your finances beyond the 90 days of filing for evidence of bankruptcy fraud.  Your case can be dismissed – meaning none of your debts will be discharged – or a creditor may file an adversary proceeding – meaning that creditor’s debt will not be discharged – if it is discovered that you charged luxury goods and other non-necessities with no plan to pay back the debt in the future.

When Can I Get Credit After Filing for Bankruptcy?

There are no laws stopping you from receiving new lines of credit immediately after filing for bankruptcy.  You may even receive credit offers in the mail soon after your debts are discharged.  But many of the lenders that cater to people who have filed for bankruptcy have strict terms and high interest rates.  It is important to carefully evaluate your finances before taking on any new lines of credit.

How Long Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Affect my Credit Score?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can appear on your credit report for 10 years from the date of your filing.  If you had bad credit before filing for Chapter 7, you can expect your credit score to drop slightly after you file.  However, if you credit was already in bad shape, filing for bankruptcy will have a very short term effect on your score.

Can My Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case Be Converted to Chapter 13?

Yes.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases can be converted to Chapter 13 cases voluntarily, or involuntarily when a creditor has reason to believe you have sufficient sources of income to repay your debt.




What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case and How Does It Work?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is a proceeding under federal law in which the debtor seeks relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.  Chapter 13 allows a debtor to repay all or a portion of his or her debts under the supervision and protection of the bankruptcy court.  A Chapter 13 debtor must submit to the court plan for the repayment of all or a portion of the debts.  The plan must be approved by the court in order to become effective.  When the court approves the debtor’s plan, most creditors will be prohibited from collecting from the debtor on debts owed.  The debtor must make regular monthly Trustee payments, who collects the money paid by the debtor and distributes it to creditors as outlined in the Debtor’s plan.  Upon completion of all plan payments (36 to 60 months), the debtor is released from liability on the outstanding balance (if any) on the debts.

How Is A Chapter 13 Different from a Chapter 7?

The simple difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is that in a Chapter 7, the debtor’s nonexempt property (the property that cannot be protected) is liquidated to pay as much as possible of the debtor’s debts, where as in a Chapter 13, a portion of the debtor’s future income and balance of the debtor’s nonexempt assets are used to pay as much of the debtor’s debts as is feasible under the circumstances, without having to lose any assets.

When is A Chapter 13 Better than A Chapter 7?

Chapter 13 is usually preferable for a person who –

(1) Wishes to repay all or most of their debts and has the income to do so,

(2) Has valuable nonexempt property or has valuable exempt property securing debts, either of which could be lost in a Chapter 7,

(3) Is not eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge,

(4) Has one or more substantial debts that are dischargeable under Chapter 13 but not under Chapter 7, or

(5) Has sufficient assets with which to repay most debts, but needs temporary relief from creditors in order to do so.

Will I Have to Go to Court?

There are generally no court appearances during the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process, provided you were honest when preparing your bankruptcy petition and schedules.  You are, however, required to attend a 341(a) Meeting of Creditors with your bankruptcy Trustee and attorney before your debts and bankruptcy filing may be discharged.  No judge or jury will be present, but you are required to answer questions about your bankruptcy petition while under oath, and confirm your identity and social security or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN) by providing an original driver’s license or other form of government issued identification, social security card or ITIN card.   There is a confirmation hearing scheduled with the Bankruptcy Judge and Trustee in order to approve your plan.  Generally, however, no appearance is required at the confirmation hearing when your plan has been prepared correctly.

Does Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Stop a Wage Garnishment or Bank Levy?

Yes.  The filing of a Chapter 13 case automatically stops all lawsuits, attachments, garnishments, foreclosures, and other actions by creditors against the debtor or the debtor’s property.  Most creditors are prohibited from proceeding against the debtor during the entire course of the Chapter 13 case.  Child support is one collection creditor that may continue its efforts to collect on a debt.  When the debtor receives their discharge, the creditors will be prohibited by federal bankruptcy law from collecting on the discharged debts from the debtor.

How Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Affect My Credit Rating?

It may worsen a debtor’s credit score, temporarily.  However, if most of a person’s debts are ultimately paid off under a Chapter 13 plan that fact may be taken into account by credit reporting agencies.  If very little is paid on most debts, the Chapter 13’s effect on a person’s credit rating is similar to that of a Chapter 7 case.

Can your Law Firm file our Legal documents in any County?
Yes.  We can file in all California Counties and cities, including but not limited to: Alameda County, Alpine County, Amador County, Butte County, Calaveras County, Colusa County, Contra Costa County, Del Norte County, El Dorado County, Fresno County, Glenn County, Humbolt County, Inyo County, King County, Lake County, Lassen County, Madera County, Marin County, Mariposa County, Mendocino County, Merced County, Modoc County, Mono County, Monterey County, Napa County, Nevada County, Placer County, Plumas County, Sacramento County, San Benito County, San Francisco County, San Joaquin County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, Santa Cruz County, Shasta County, Sierra County, Siskiyou County, Solano County, Sonoma County, Stanislaus County, Sutter County, Tehama County, Trinity County, Tulare County, Tuolumne County, Yolo County, and Yuba County.


Seeking sound legal counsel with regard to filing Bankruptcy is a very important decision.  Making the wrong or uninformed decision could cost you.  Helping families is what Attorney B J Fadem does.


Our Attorneys are skilled at helping clients with Bankruptcy legal issues and making the process as smooth as possible.


Your issue may be time sensitive.

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Client Testimonials
  • BJ Fadem was my lawyer in a child custody case. He was incredible. He knew my fears and took the time to ease everyone of them. BJ was helpful with everything. He is about fair and what is best. I would not have made it through the process without him. BJ is a compassionate, knowledgeable, and straight forward. I would recommend him for anyone that is in need of a Family Law lawyer. Hated going through it, but he made it incredibly painless!Posted by Scot
  • I hired BJ Fadem and Associates to enforced my divorce settlement. BJ Fadem and Associates read through the entire divorce settlement and wrote a letter to my ex-husband pointing out what was not being enforced. BJ is very kind and makes you feel comfortable talking about the situation. BJ and his staff followed through on getting the tasks done and my ex husband complied with his responsiblities. The best possible outcome I could have expected and I couldn't have reached that result without BJ Fadem and his team!Anonymous
  • I have had several opportunities to consult with this law firm over the past few years. I have always received timely and courteous responses to my inquiries. The reason I return time and time again is knowledgeable employees and the respect I am treated with. I also think that the noncondensending matter in which I was treated was a prime factor. It was hard enough to go through what I did, I appreciated not being talked down to by some old stuffy lawyer. Though I have only consulted with Fadem Law, I have referred a few family members who were totally happy with the outcome of their cases.Posted by Claude
  • Mr Fadem is extremely knowledgeable of the laws. Felt he was very in tuned to my needs and fought those. Would definitely would use again. HIGHLY RECOMMENDPosted by Sharon
  • I endorse Mr FADEM Loved The Way He Went To Bat For Me Very Skilled!!! Mostly He Listened When I Thought I Had No Hope!!! Thanks For CaringPosted by Darrell Fears
  • I had a previous attorney who so screwed up my divorce that I almost lost my home, custody and my business!!! When I did my initial consultation with Mr. Fadem, him and and his staff immediately started working on my case to get things saved! The professionalism, customer service and legal knowledge this firm has is incredible!! I can't say enough!! My case is still going on. However, I am so grateful for all they have done and are doing on my behalf!Posted by anonymous
  • I have worked with Mr. Fadem on many occasions and he is as intelligent, professional, and dedicated as they come. His knowledge of family law is outstanding and I refer him to anyone who needs a specialized and highly skilled family law attorney.Posted by Emily
  • As a father with an extremely challenging custody situation, I went through several attorneys before retaining BJ Fadem. Without a doubt BJ has helped my case and my family reach favorable results more quickly and effectively than the collective effort of my first three attorneys combined. Based on years of favorable results and such a positive experience there is no way I would use any other law firm for custody or family law matters. BJ Fadem is absolutely one of the finest custody attorneys in the bay area.Posted by Gary
  • Professional and Skilled. Great Law Office! Mr. BJ Fadem is a knowledgeable and skilled attorney with great experience. Thank you!Larry
    California Jan 27, 2014