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Westlake Village Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney

Using Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to Regain Financial Stability

If you're in a precarious position financially, you may want to consider filing for bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most common types of bankruptcy you can file for, allowing you to wipe out most of your unsecured debts.

For more than 35 years, I've been helping California residents file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As a Westlake Village Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, I understand the bankruptcy process and can help you navigate your case.

To receive a free consultation from my firm, contact me online or give me a call at (805) 633-4999.

What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the Office of the United States Trustee appoints a bankruptcy trustee to oversee your case. The trustee acts as an independent contractor appointed by the bankruptcy court to help you and your creditors reach an agreement and navigate the process.

The premise of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is relatively simple: The trustee works to cancel all your unsecured debts, typically by liquidating your nonexempt assets to repay your debts.

To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must first pass an eligibility test. Only individuals who make less than their state's median income (roughly $3,983 gross in California) on a monthly basis and submit to a means test can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you do not meet the requirements to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (typically, this occurs if your income is too high), you may have to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.

How Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Work?

To file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy successfully, you must petition your local bankruptcy court for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. An attorney can help you petition for bankruptcy correctly and understand which chapter of bankruptcy suits your specific circumstances. Some items on the petition forms include:

  • Your income, assets (like property), and monthly expenses, including assets you owned and sold or income you spent in the previous two years;
  • your liabilities (a list of your debts);
  • property you claim is exempt from the bankruptcy process. During Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee may negotiate with creditors to liquidate your assets to pay off your debts. However, certain property and assets (such as essential assets such as your home, basic furnishings, your primary vehicle, etc.) are typically exempt from this process.

While the bankruptcy process takes place, you receive an automatic stay, and creditors can no longer pursue your liabilities (debts). During the bankruptcy process, you essentially place your nonexempt assets in the hands of the bankruptcy court. The court may liquidate as many assets as it needs to for your creditors to wipe your unsecured debts clean.

It's important to note that after Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you still need to pay off any secured debts. Secured debts include items such as child support payments. The trustee negotiates with creditors to implement a repayment plan deemed feasible for your current circumstances.

The repayment plan, as well as the sale of any assets, is determined during the creditors meeting. At the creditors meeting, the bankruptcy trustee discusses repayment options with you and any creditors who decide to attend the meeting. This is the only time during the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process that you will visit the courthouse.

It's important to note that in many Chapter 7 bankruptcies, nonexempt property isn't claimed for liquidation by creditors. Since many of the assets that individuals filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy own are often worthless for repaying debt, many creditors choose to forgive unsecured debts instead and allow the individual filing for bankruptcy to retain their property.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can allow you to get a leg up on your debts and regain financial control of your life. With a seasoned Westlake Village Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney at your side, you can take the necessary steps towards financial stability with Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

To learn more about how my firm can help you navigate your Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact me online or via phone at (805) 633-4999 for a free consultation.

Hear it From Our
Happy Clients

  • 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

  • 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 was easy to work with!

    “Fees were reasonable and he helped me work through my divorce to ensure it was done in a timely manner. He was easy to work with!”

    Former Client

  • 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.

  • 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.”

    Paul