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Westlake Village Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer

Understanding Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in California

Many individuals overwhelmed by their liabilities (often in the form of debts) choose to file for bankruptcy to regain financial stability. Depending on your unique circumstances, such as your income, and whether you're filing as an individual or for a business, you will find yourself using one of several "chapters" to file for bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is one of the most common types of bankruptcy filings, particularly for higher-income individuals who don't want to liquidate their property. A Westlake Village Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney can help you move through the bankruptcy process with confidence.

For over three decades, I've worked with residents of California to help them file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To learn more about how my firm can help you with your bankruptcy case, contact me online or give me a call at (805) 633-4999.

What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcies are most often used by individuals who fail to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your income must be under the median monthly income for your state (roughly $3,983 gross in California).

If you fail to meet the eligibility requirements for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will probably file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves filling out a variety of bankruptcy forms for your local bankruptcy court (a bankruptcy lawyer can help you ensure all forms are filled out correctly). These forms include details such as your income and how much debt you currently owe. To file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy successfully, you must have a steady income, and your debts must not exceed a certain amount.

How Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Work?

Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, property and assets are not sold to creditors to repay debts in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In other words, if you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your property and assets will be safe from creditors.

Once you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the Office of the United States Trustee appoints a bankruptcy trustee to your case. The bankruptcy trustee works as an independent contractor with the bankruptcy court to help you and your creditors reach an agreement. You must also receive credit counseling education from an agency approved by the Trustee's Office.

During the bankruptcy process, you'll draft a repayment plan proposal. Since you don't liquidate assets to pay off unsecured debts in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to come up with a repayment plan for your creditors instead. A bankruptcy attorney can help you draft a comprehensive debt repayment plan that not only allows you to repay your creditors but is also financially manageable for you.

Once you propose the repayment plan, the trustee will work with creditors to see whether they accept or reject the repayment plan. If your creditors reject the plan, you may need to modify the repayment plan to meet their demands.

Once the trustee and your creditors are satisfied with the repayment plan, the court will finalize the plan, and you'll need to start repaying your creditors.

During the repayment phase, priority debts (also called priority claims) take precedence. These debts include child support or alimony payments, as well as tax obligations. Secured debts, such as the mortgage for a house you want to keep or the payments for your primary vehicle, also take a front seat. These are debts you must repay in full.

You'll also need to put money towards unsecured debts, such as credit card balances or medical bills. However, unlike priority claims and secured debts, you don't need to pay these debts in full, or even at all (depending on the desires of the creditor). Instead, you're simply required to put money towards these debts as you can.

Bankruptcy Attorney with More Than Three Decades of Experience

How long your repayment plan lasts depends on your bankruptcy case, but many Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plans last around five years. A lot can change during that time. If your income decreases or increases significantly, it may be possible to work with a bankruptcy attorney and the bankruptcy court to modify your repayment plan to suit your current circumstances.

I have the tools to help you file for bankruptcy with confidence at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Graff. To work with a seasoned Westlake Village Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer who will handle your case with care and compassion, contact me online or via phone at (805) 633-4999.

Hear it From Our
Happy Clients

  • I cannot give Jeffrey Graff enough accolades.

    “I knew Jeffrey personally as a proud family man and a pillar of the community with an stellar reputation as a family/divorce attorney. When my daughter was going through her divorce and had several bad experiences with two attorneys, in the Westlake Village area, I recommended Jeffery to her. After meeting with us to discuss the situation and issues, Jeffery and his staff went to work, we went to court, Jeffery not only got the results my daughter had hoped for, but also managed to have the opposing party cover his fees, he is beyond knowledgeable, professional and fair, he's brilliant at what he does and worth every penny. I have since recommended Jeffrey to all my friends and acquaintances who need legal help and will continue to do so. I cannot give Jeffrey Graff enough accolades and thanks for his help and exceptional negotiating skill in settling the case, thank you, again.”

    Dianne R.

  • Mr. Graff, thank you so very much for all you have done for me and my family.

    “I am writing this to let you know how much I appreciate all your past services in completing my divorce and inter-spousal transfer deed! I want to express my sincere appreciation and gratitude for your expertise, patience, and professionalism during a very difficult time in my life.Thanks to you taking good care of my case, I refinanced my home in March of this year, and finally have the new deed in my name! This blessing is because you agreed to take my case and you and your staff completed the transaction through the end ... thank you! Mr. Graff, thank you so very much for all you have done for me and my family I am very appreciative and wanted you to know.”

    Former Client

  • I highly recommend!

    “My experience with Jeff's expertise was non other than A-one! He tackled my case swiftly and efficiently with the utmost professionalism. I highly recommend!”

    Former Client

  • He worked efficiently to get the best and honest result for my family in child support matters.

    “I chose Mr. Graff to represent me in my divorce since he was also knowledgeable with bankruptcy law. He promptly returned phone calls, was quite helpful and consistent in advising me. He knew and understood my case and was very professional in representing me. Furthermore, I knew he was well respected in the courtroom and by other attorneys. He worked efficiently to get the best and honest result for my family in child support matters. I would absolutely hire him again and definitely recommend him to anyone in need of family law representation.”


  • His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.

    “Jeff and his team are by far the best to work with. His staff is kind, courteous, and he is excellent at getting the job done in a timely fashion. He is very straight forward and makes it easy to understand what is going on step by step in your case. His experience and insight into the family law field is excellent. Jeff and his office have helped my family tremendously and I would recommend him to anyone who is looking for family law help. If you wants to be sure it is done correct the first time and that your family's best interest are always cared for, he is the guy. His team helped restore hope into our family in a time of uncertainty. That alone make Jeff a fantastic attorney aside from his knowledgeable legal skills.”