Bankruptcy Attorneys in Ventura
Helping Clients Get Back on Their Feet from Our Offices in Encino & Ventura
Bankruptcy is the legal process by which a person who can no longer pay their bills and loans gains a fresh financial start. Federal law grants all United States citizens the right to file for bankruptcy, and the federal court handles all cases. For these reasons, you need a bankruptcy attorney who is well-versed in all aspects of the law and can skillfully prepare you for the proceedings ahead. At Zahn Law Office, our Ventura bankruptcy lawyers can help you regain sound financial footing by first filing for bankruptcy to eliminate the debts currently holding you back. We work exclusively with Chapter 7 bankruptcies.
When you file for bankruptcy, you may be able to:
- Eliminate all legal obligations to your debts
- Halt foreclosure and catch up on missed payments
- Prevent repossession of property
- Halt wage garnishment, debt collection harassment, and other creditor actions
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
There are four different types of bankruptcy you can file in California, and our attorneys can help you discover which would be best for your situation. The most common type of filling is Chapter 7, also known as 'straight bankruptcy.' When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you're filing a petition asking the court to discharge your debts. However, to discharge your debts, you must exchange the debt for property you own (except for exempt property).
The three other types of bankruptcy are:
- Chapter 11: This is used by businesses or people who have large debts.
- Chapter 12: This is used exclusively by family farmers.
- Chapter 13: This is similar to Chapter 7, but requires the debtor to file an official payment plan with the court.
In most scenarios, all property will be exempt. However, non-exempt property is sold, and the money is distributed to creditors. Therefore, chapter 7 does not eliminate the right of car loan creditors and mortgage holders to seek payments. For this reason, we will help you construct a payment plan that works best for you and these lenders.
In California, certain property is exempt from liquidation. This property includes:
- Real or personal property you reside in (house, condo, mobile home, etc.)
- Social Security deposits (up to $2,000 for a single individual and $3,000 for a married couple)
- Materials to construct a home
- Burial plots
- Health aids
- Insurance payments
- Public benefits
- Tools of the trade
Can a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Be Denied?
Under certain circumstances, a chapter 7 bankruptcy can indeed be denied.
As part of filing for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors must attend a credit counseling course. If they fail to do so, their attempt to file for bankruptcy could be denied. Additionally, if a debtor attempts to defraud a bankruptcy court or creditors, or had previous debts discharged within the past six years under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy or within the past eight years under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, their attempt to file could be denied.
More commonly, bankruptcy courts deny chapter 7 bankruptcy filings from individuals who the court decides must instead file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you fail to pass the means test to file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy or your income exceeds a certain limit, you may instead need to file for chapter 13 bankruptcy, and your filing may be denied.
What Is the Income Limit for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in California?
As we mentioned earlier, to file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy in California, you must pass a bankruptcy means test. This means proving your income falls below a certain limit, based on your total monthly income. Should you fail to pass the means test, you may need to instead file for a chapter 13 bankruptcy.
As long as your total monthly income over the next sixty months amounts to less than $7,475, you should be eligible to file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your total monthly income is between $7,475 and $12, 475 over that amount of time, you may be able to file for a chapter 7 bankruptcy, depending on the details of your case.
If your total monthly income over the next sixty months amounts to more than $12,475, you will not pass the means test and must find a different path forward in your bankruptcy case.
How Much Does It Cost to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in CA?
The total cost of filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy in California typically amounts to $299.00. Filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy typically costs $274.00.
You must pay these fees as part of filing for bankruptcy with the court. For low-income individuals who cannot supply the court with the necessary filing fees, alternative opportunities to reduce or waive filing fees may be available.
More Than 30 Years of Legal Experience
At Zahn Law Office, our Ventura bankruptcy attorneys are more than capable of handling your case. We will help you itemize your assets and debts and create a solid plan for your financial stability moving forward. From filing the motion for bankruptcy to the conclusion of your case, we will help you protect your best interests and rights. We Serve residents of Los Angeles County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and throughout the entirety of Southern California!