How Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidating your assets and using the proceeds to pay some of your debts. The remainder of your debts are discharged — and you owe nothing more. At the Leventhal Law Group, P.C. in Woodland Hills, California, I help people file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process
I will walk you through the bankruptcy process, explaining what happens at each stage and what you will need to do. Your Chapter 7 bankruptcy (also known as “liquidation bankruptcy”) will require you to take the following steps:
- Credit counseling. Attend a required credit counseling session no more than six months before filing.
- Submit petition with the bankruptcy court. You will also need to supply lists of assets and debts, statements of current income and expenditures, your most recent tax return, a certificate documenting your attendance at the credit counseling, pay stubs, and your most recently filed tax return and other information.
- Identify exempt property. You will also need to identify property that is exempt under California law — that is, property that is not subjection to liquidation by the bankruptcy trustee. This is the property you get to keep!
- Automatic stay issued. Once you have filed this petition, the court will issue an automatic stay that stops most collection actions against you. In fact, once you have retained me as your attorney, you can immediately begin referring all creditor calls to me.
- Meeting of creditors. About 30 days after filing your case, the court schedules a meeting of all your creditors, known as a 341(a) meeting. Creditors are able to ask you questions about your finances. It is important to have your attorney present at this meeting.
- Means test. The trustee decides whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, applying the means test.
- Non-exempt property sold. Your house and car may be foreclosed or repossessed, depending on the amount of equity you have. The proceeds are distributed to your creditors.
- Take required financial management class.
- Discharge hearing. Although rare, sometimes a discharge hearing is held before a bankruptcy judge.
Call a Los Angeles-area bankruptcy law firm at 818-347-5800 for a free initial consultation.
Reaffirming Debt and Keeping Your Car or House
Secured debts such as a car loan or home mortgage can be reaffirmed during the bankruptcy process. In choosing to reaffirm a particular debt, you are making a promise to repay the amount owed. Accordingly, these debts will not be discharged in bankruptcy and you will be allowed to maintain your car, your home or other item which is secured by your promise to repay.
Please note that Chapter 7 debtors may only receive a discharge once every eight years.
Keeping Costs Down
I ask Chapter 7 bankruptcy clients to submit much of the required information via a secure website. This allows me to keep costs down and gives me more time to answer questions about the process.
Contact a Los Angeles Debt Liquidation Lawyer
Contact the Leventhal Law Group, P.C.. Call 818-347-5800 to find out how a lawyer can help you with a Chapter 7 debt liquidation bankruptcy filing.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.