Thomas B. Hjerpe, Esq.

Jocelyn M. Godniho, Esq.

Barbara Voss, Legal Secretary

Nicole Alcorn, Legal Secretary

350 E Street, Suite 403

Eureka, CA  95501

Telephone:  707 442-7262

Law Office of Thomas Hjerpe

We are a debt relief agency.  We help people to file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code

This website is intended to provide general information about bankruptcy and alternatives to bankruptcy.  Bankruptcy laws are applied differently in different jurisdictions.  You should not apply this information to your particular situation without meeting with us so that we can be certain of how the law would be applied in your particular case.

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What Happens If you Can’t Pay Credit Cards?

If you have to stop paying your credit card debts, the credit card companies do not immediately garnish your wages or seize your property.  Credit card companies call and write and demand payment and they damage your credit rating, but it often takes 9 months or more before they start filing lawsuits.    

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If you owe more than your house is worth and you can’t afford the payments your options are foreclosure, short-sale or loan modification.  In different  circumstances one of these options may give you a much better result.  

Foreclosure, Short-Sale or Loan Modification

Credit Reporting

Is there credit after bankruptcy?

Yes.  Credit will be available - but at bad terms.  Interest rates and credit limits will improve quickly.  Your credit will recover more quickly if you take steps to correct errors on your credit reports.

Debt Relief Tax

What is a “Cancellation of Debt” Tax?

The IRS and SFTB treat charged-off debts as “income” for assessing income tax liability. There is no debt relief tax Cancellation of Debt tax after bankruptcy.  

What is “Judgment Proof”?

Someone who is “judgment proof” has nothing that a judgment creditor is allowed to take.  If you are judgment proof you may not need a bankruptcy.

We are your Eureka bankruptcy attorneys.  We have been providing bankruptcy assistance and other debt relief services to individuals and small businesses in Northern California since 1996.  Our bankruptcy law office is in Eureka.  We regularly help people with bankruptcy issues in Fortuna, Arcata, McKinleyville and throughout Humboldt County.  We help people in Crescent City through Del Norte County.  We represent individuals with bankruptcy and alternatives to bankruptcy in Trinity County, Shasta County and any of the communities in the Redding area.  We have many bankruptcy clients in Lake County, Mendocino County, Sonoma County and into the Bay Area.  We offer free consultations either in-person or by telephone.  This has allowed us to provide excellent bankruptcy representation for individuals who live in remote areas and would otherwise have to drive hours to meet with an attorney.  

Student Loans and Bankruptcy:

Student Loans are very hard to eliminate in bankruptcy.  The Federal Student Loan Ombudsman has options if you cannot pay.

Foreclosure vs Short Sale

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:

Bankruptcy Fees:

Alternatives to Bankruptcy:

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common type of bankruptcy.  It is an excellent tool for dealing with credit card debts, medical debts and other unsecured debts.  

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a payment plan that allows you to pay what you can afford to pay over a 5-year term and eliminate remaining unpaid debts.  It is an excellent tool to stop a foreclosure.  A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may allow you to remove and eliminate a 2nd mortgage.

Fees may range from $1500 or less to $5000 or more depending on whether it is a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 and the complications of the particular case.  Payment plans are usually an option.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Alternatives to Bankruptcy

There are alternatives to bankruptcy such as credit counseling to repay debts or negotiating settlements.  Beware of debt settlement agencies.

Defenses to Creditor Harassment

Steps to Take to Repair Your Credit

There are steps you can take to stop creditors who are harassing you.  We maintain a separate website with self-help information at  

There are steps you can take to correct errors on your credit reports.  We maintain a separate website with self-help information at

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Bankruptcy Fees Judgment Proof Student Loans