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Question
I am a one third owner of California S corp that is going through some major financial problems at the moment. The corporation has bank credit cards and a credit line that have personal guarantees with all three principals. We are behind in our payments on the credit card portion and today, they withdraw the limited funds we had in our corporate bank account and a large sum of money from one of the partners but not the other two.

I have three questions. If we can't get our finances in order and decide to file for bankruptcy protection, can the bank continue to take money from the individuals?

If one of the partners is about to file for personal bankruptcy, does the personal guarantee still apply or is there some protection interim or otherwise?

Final question, when the bank collects form an individual under the terms of the personal guarantee, can it also collect from a spouse's individual, private account? The spouse has no connection to the corporation.

Thank you in advance for advise.

Answer
Leon Bayer
Leon Bayer  
Dear Edward,

I am sorry that you are facing this hardship. You have asked a bankruptcy question of considerable complexity. A true legal consultation would involve going into a review of documents and information that was not included with your question.   

I'll keep the answer short to hit the basic issues because this is only intended to give you some general understanding. This does not take the place of obtaining legal advice from your own attorney. To obtain proper legal advice, you must get that from your own attorney.   

You didn't say where you are located. I'll assume that you are in California, which is where I am licensed to practice law. I'll also assume that California law governs as to all events and persons involved.

If only the corporation files bankruptcy, the bank is still entitled to collect from each and every guarantor.

If one guarantor receives a bankruptcy discharge, the bank is still entitled to collect from each of the other guarantors. However, if the party who receives a bankruptcy discharge is married, that party's spouse may enjoy some limited bankruptcy protection.

The bank is entitled to collect from any person who owes the money. That may include a guarantor's spouse if the guarantor's interest in the corporation is community property. If so, that would probably make the guarantor's obligation a community debt. Community debts can be enforced against a spouse's interest in community property. Money saved by the spouse in her own individual bank account may be reached by the bank if the money was derived from the couple's community property. Money derived from community property and then placed into a person's individual bank account does not  cause the money to cease being community propery.

You don't need me to tell you that you are in a world of trouble. Please go see an experienced bankruptcy specialist immediately for legal advice.


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Los Angeles Bankruptcy Lawyer Leon D. Bayer

Expertise

Leon Bayer is a bankruptcy attorney in Los Angeles, California. Leon has successfully represented clients in Los Angeles bankruptcy cases for over 30 years. He is frequently called upon by the media, the California Bar and other associations to provide insight and help educate attorneys on bankruptcy issues. Leon Bayer es un abogado de bancarrota en Los Angeles, California. León ha representado exitosamente a clientes en casos de bancarrota de Los Ángeles por más de 30 años. Él es llamado con frecuencia en los medios de comunicación, la barra de California y otras asociaciones para proporcionar información y ayudar a educar a los abogados en materia de quiebra. Leon's Los Angeles bankruptcy law firm is Bayer, Wishman & Leotta, founded in 1989 and has successfully represented individuals and commercial clients in bankruptcy proceedings for over 22 years. Leon Bayer and his partner, Jeff Wishman, are Certified Bankruptcy Specialists who bring experience, skill and creativity to the highly complex area of bankruptcy law. And not just a little experience. Between the two partners, they have over 60 years of experience as bankruptcy attorneys representing consumer debtors in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Woodland Hills, North Hollywood and the entire Los Angeles basin. As a long-standing expert, Leon is frequently called upon by the media, the California Bar and other associations to give opinions, provide insight and help educate new attorneys on bankruptcy and its changing laws. This blog is one more way that Leon Bayer and Jeff Wishman share their experience with the public and provide resources for individuals struggling with debt problems. You can learn more about Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney Leon D. Bayer at Hyperlink Code

Experience

Leon is a Certified Specialist in Bankruptcy Law by the State Bar of California, and has been a practicing bankruptcy lawyer in Los Angeles, California for 33 years. To learn more about Los Angeles Bankruptcy Attorney Leon D. Bayer, go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_D._Bayer Leon Bayer es un abogado de bancarrota en Los Angeles, California. León ha representado exitosamente a clientes en casos de bancarrota de Los Ángeles por más de 30 años. Él es llamado con frecuencia en los medios de comunicación, la barra de California y otras asociaciones para proporcionar información y ayudar a educar a los abogados en materia de quiebra. Los Angeles bufete de abogados de bancarrota de León es Bayer, Wishman y Leotta, fundada en 1989 y ha representado con éxito a clientes individuales y comerciales en proceso de quiebra desde hace más de 22 años. Leon Bayer y su socio, Jeff Wishman, son Especialistas de Concursos certificados que aportan experiencia, la habilidad y la creatividad a la zona de alta complejidad de la ley de bancarrota. Between the two partners, they have over 60 years of experience as bankruptcy attorneys representing consumer debtors in Los Angeles, Long Beach, Woodland Hills, North Hollywood and the entire Los Angeles basin. Entre los dos socios, que tienen más de 60 años de experiencia como abogados de bancarrota de los deudores que representan a los consumidores en Los Angeles, Long Beach, Woodland Hills, North Hollywood y toda la cuenca de Los Angeles. Como experto de larga data, Leon se llama con frecuencia a los medios de comunicación, la barra de California y otras asociaciones para dar opiniones, proporcionar información y ayudar a educar a los nuevos abogados de la bancarrota y las leyes cambian. Este blog es una manera más que Leon Bayer y Jeff Wishman compartir sus experiencias con el público y proporcionar recursos para las personas que luchan con problemas de deuda.

Organizations
National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Lawyers, California Bar Association, Los Angeles County Bar Association. Presidente, 1995-1996-Los Angeles Forum bancarrota; Miembro - Comité de la Asociación de Abogados del Condado de Los Angeles en la Ley de Bancarrota Comercial, 1988. Law Advisory
Opinión de la Comisión-Personal & Small Derecho Concursal del Colegio de Abogados del Estado de California, 1996-2000

MR. BAYER DICE: Los grandes bancos y de los companys de tarjetas de crédito han estado trabajando horas extras durante muchos años para vulnerar el derecho constitucional que del pueblo estadounidense para que pueda reclamar la protección de bancarrota. En 2005, el lobby bancario logró convencer al Congreso y al Presidente que hacen las leyes y proceedures más complicado, hopeing que va a obstaculizar las personas que sí que la declaración de quiebra. Tuvieron éxito en la obtención de estos nuevos y complejos proceedures legales por engrasar el sistema legislativo con cientos de millones de dólares en contribuciones de campaña "." La buena noticia para el pueblo estadounidense es que mientras que las nuevas leyes han hecho los proceedures innecesariamente complejas hasta el punto donde la gente sin experiencia no puede dejar de tropezar con el laberinto de las nuevas normas y reglamentos, el proceso es aún factible, especialmente con un abogado que está bien entrenado y con experiencia en esta especialidad.

Publications
Author, ?The Essentials Of Chapter 13,? Daily Journal Report, December 18, 1987.
Contributing Editor, Basic Bankruptcy, California Practice Handbook, Matthew Bender 1992, 1993.
CEB Consultant, CEB-Personal and Small Business Bankruptcy Practice in California, 2003.
A free on line bankruptcy books for consumers at www.bestbankruptcybook.com

Education/Credentials
B.A., J.D.

Awards and Honors
President, 1995-1996-Los Angeles Bankruptcy Forum; Member - Los Angeles County Bar Association Committee on Commercial Law & Bankruptcy, 1988. Law Advisory
Commission-Personal & Small Business Bankruptcy Law of the State Bar of California, 1996-2000

MR. BAYER SAYS: The big banks and credit card companys have been working overtime for many years to undermine the Consitutional right of the American people to be able to claim bankruptcy protection. In 2005 the banking lobby successfully convinced Congress and the President to make the laws and proceedures more complicated, hopeing that it will stymie legitimate people from filing bankruptcy. They succeeded in gaining these complex new legal proceedures by greasing the legislative system with hundreds of millions of dollars in "campaign contributions." The good news for the American people is that while the new laws have made the proceedures needlessly complex to the point where inexperienced people can't help but trip over the maze of new rules and regulations, the process is still doable, especially with a lawyer who is well trained and experienced in this specialty.

Past/Present Clients
I have probably handled something on the order of about 15,000 bankruptcy cases throughout my career. Probablemente he manejado algo del orden de alrededor de 15.000 casos de quiebra en toda mi carrera.

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