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    Just getting started

    Hi. I wanted to introduce myself, as I was just notified on Tuesday that my wages are going to be garnished for a medical bill that I just can't afford to pay. I got a conditional (?) judgement and agreed to pay $60 a month to this creditor, even though I told her that I couldn't afford the $60, they still pushed, and I was scared and nervous about being in court and agreed.

    Well, lookie, lookie, I couldn't pay the first and second payment, so I got notice of wage garnishment, which will be $344 a pay period. Ouch. Thankfully, because of labor day, it was given to my employer on Tuesday, and the next pay period falls on the NINTH day, so I have, essentially, a second pay period to hopefully file for chapter 7.

    I guess for the first time since I became an adult, it's time to pull my head out of the sand and deal with this stuff like an adult. Which is pretty much the most stressful thing I can think of. I haven't comfortably answered my phone or checked my mail in years, so it's going to be a big change.

    I make a decent wage, but I live in California, so rent is pretty high, my partner doesn't work, and we have a child, so I am below the median. I have some old debts, including medical bills and some credit cards that I haven't had in a long time. In fact, even though I haven't been good about paying credit cards in the past, I don't use credit any more, and haven't in years.

    We are current on rent, and on my car payment, and even though we can't pay student loans right now, they are in forbearance, so they aren't defaulted or behind.

    Here's the other hiccup: my partner and I are registered domestic partners. We don't have any "assets", other than a broken down jeep and household stuff. Oh- and some (but not a ton) of camera gear that I use in my part-time side business. Which doesn't even make enough money to call it a business. In California, registered DPs are treated as married, so anything I own, she also owns. But since BK is federal, it's a little murky, but I plan on slogging through. (should we get married before I file just to clear things up? Is that illegal?) We don't really have property anyway, so it may end up being moot. I was hoping to file jointly, since she also has a ton of outstanding medical bills (including a $40k helicopter ride-- when we got that bill, I just laughed! I barely have money for groceries, it may as well have been for a million dollars!) and I figured we should just do it all at once. If we have to file seperately, so be it. I guess this wage garnishment is just a kick in the a** I need.

    Anyway, I really don't have any money, so I would like to try to do this Pro se, if at all possible. I have spent the last couple of days finding out what I can about filing bankruptcy, and will put a lot of time in it this weekend, when I am off work. I guess I should make an appointment for a free consult with a BK attny, right?

    I look forward to meeting you all. It sucks to be in this position, but for the first time in a long time (since I got served with those papers that I was being sued for $1500, which is now $2,000) I feel some hope.

    Welcome to BKforum!

    I think that in order to file a joint BK, you would actually have to be married under California law. But, the SCOTUS ruling is new and as you say, the details of how it will be applied are murky. Even if you get married, I wouldn't file jointly pro-se because it will be good to have an attorney on your side if there is any question about the recognition of the marriage. If you file a alone without getting married, you probably will not be the "simple" case that lends itself well to filing pro se. Here's a recent article

    Yes, consult with more than one BK attorney. Ask about the mechanics of both a joint filing and a separate filing and decide based on the answers whether you feel comfortable filing pro se. There are attorneys in California who specialize in LGBT issues in many areas of the law. I would usually recommend an attorney who does only bankruptcy. But, in your case, you may want to also consult with at least one lawer who focuses on LGBT issues and includes BK as part of their practice.
    LadyInTheRed is in the black!
    Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
    $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


      Welcome to the forum. Read through the Pro Se forum and the Ch7 forum. You may want to go to and order their latest guide for filing a CH7. You can order a downloadable edition. That will be a handy Ready Reference that will be helpful. Just don't depend on it entirely.

      It is my understanding the California has two sets of exemptions that you can choose from--but either use Set A, or Set B. You can't mix and match. However, Lady is in California and is better able to advise.

      Lastly, check into GoogleVoice. I do not have personal experience with it, but many members here swear by it.
      "To go bravely forward is to invite a miracle."

      "Worry is the darkroom where negatives are formed."


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