Experienced. Dedicated. Successful.

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 felt that he always had my best interest in mind!

    “I selected Jeff to represent me because he specialized divorce cases and had worked with the Ventura County judges for many years. He was very patient with me as dealt with the emotions of getting a divorce after a 19-year marriage, and helped me through the terrible stress of facing my ex-spouse and being in the courtroom. He gave me very good advice on how to manage the property settlement, especially on when I should capitulate and when I should hold my ground. I felt that he always had my best interest in mind (rather than just collecting his fee) and worked diligently to bring the case to a fair conclusion.”

    Mrs. M

  • He understands family dynamics because he has experience working with many different types!

    “Jeff is very kind and always takes time to listen to my issues and questions. He is very professional. Jeff is always prepared for court and his experience is obvious when you see that all the judges know him and regard him with great esteem. Jeff understands family dynamics because he has experience working with many different types of issues which characterized my case. If you would like to be able to trust that your lawyer is going to resolve your issue to the best possible outcome while being professional and courteous, Jeff Graff is the attorney for you.”


  • I have faith in Jeffery Graff.

    “I am a battered woman. Jeffrey saw this when I walked in a year ago to hire him to get a divorce. I was not ready. I thought I could save my 27yr marriage. He knew I would be back when I was ready. He never pushed me to follow through, he waited for me to make to be ready for the long haul. I finally did it! I got tired of being abused in so many ways. Jeffery is a very patient man. I know he will take care of me!!!!! So far so good. I know he is going to keep me in my house for now or ever. He was honest and said we may have to sell but I know the job will get done in my best interest!”

    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

  • Long story short, Jeff was able to get the monthly amount we paid cut down by more than half!!

    “Jeffrey handled my Family matter. Jeff is great!! He really helped me and my husband fight my husband’s ex. My husband got hurt at work and we were really having a tough time. My husband ex’s got a big child support order against my husband and we didn’t even know that she went to Jeffrey handled my family matter. Jeff is great!! He really helped me and my husband fight my husband’s ex-wife. My husband got hurt at work and we were really having a tough time. My husband ex-wife had a huge child support order against my husband and we didn’t even know that she went to court for that!! Then, she started coming after us for this big child support money every month. She wouldn’t even let her kids come over to visit with us and my kids, but just wanted the money and my husband wasn’t working. My co-worker went to Jeff for her divorce and she told me to call and talk to him. I am so thankful that I called him. I talked to him and he explained everything to me. I needed that because I didn’t know what to do. My husband and I met with him in his office. Jeff and the secretary were both so nice and very professional. I completely trust them! Long story short, Jeff was able to get the monthly amount my husband pays to his ex-wife cut down by more than half!! And on top of that got the judge to make my husband’s ex let the kids come and visit with my husband, who is still hurt, and my kids. Everything worked out so much better than I thought it could. I didn’t know we had a choice and that we could go to the judge to lower the support AND let us see the kids. I would recommend Jeff to anyone who need help with family law. Very Helpful.”