Chapter 7 bankruptcy eliminates unsecured debts while allowing debtors to typically protect all of their property through state law exemptions. Chapter 7 can also help debtors stop harassment from creditors and wage garnishments through the automatic stay.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or liquidation bankruptcy, allows qualifying debtors to discharge the majority of their unsecured debts, such as:
Credit card balances
It is important to know that there is no minimum amount of debt needed to qualify for Chapter 7. In order to qualify for a Chapter 7 filing, you must first pass a Means Test. If you are earning less monthly than the median income for your state and household size, you will automatically pass the Means Test. Otherwise, the test will examine your financial records to determine if you have disposable income after deducting allowable expenses for your family size.
Some necessary expenses that can help you pass the means test include:
If you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy through the Means Test, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can still be an option.
If you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can expect to go through the following steps of the process:
Obtain an initial comprehensive consultation
Retain an attorney
Pay attorney's fees
Complete the pre-filing credit counseling course, which is required by law and available online
Attorney completes preparation of bankruptcy petition
The attorney reviews bankruptcy petition with client
Client signs the bankruptcy petition and the petition is filed with the court
Complete mandatory post-filing debtor education course, which is required by law and available online
Attend 341(a) trustee's meeting with an attorney present
Await discharge from the bankruptcy court
In California, it may take anywhere from four to six months to complete a chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. There may be some instances where it may take longer because of many factors such as: the need for more information or documents, a bankruptcy-related lawsuit, or a trustee may sell the debtor’s property.
Debtors with car loans can keep their cars even though they have filed for bankruptcy by reaffirming the contracts. This process means that the car loan survives the bankruptcy; however, certain circumstances may change this result. It is always important that you speak with a Long Beach Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer regarding your specific situation.
Certain debts, such as domestic support obligations, most student loans, recent income taxes, malicious personal injury lawsuits, and fraudulently incurred debts, are not dischargeable. Of course, each individual's situation may vary, and the circumstances surrounding your debts are unique to you, which is why it is always important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible.
Are you ready to move forward with your case? Becoming debt-free can present substantial possibilities for your financial future while stopping harassment from creditors. Contact our Long Beach bankruptcy attorney office right away to discuss the options that may be available to you.
Schedule a meeting with our bankruptcy attorney in the Long Beach area by completing our online free case evaluation form now!