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How does a California resident file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

On Behalf of | Sep 8, 2022 | Bankruptcy

In California or across the United States, if you are having extreme financial struggles, you will need to find a solution to those problems so that you can live a better life without tremendous debt hanging over your head.

Many people think of bankruptcy as a defeat but instead of thinking about it in negative terms, you can  consider it the way to save you from the oppressive debt that is causing you tremendous hardship in your life.

What do I need to do to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in California?

If you are resident of California, there are several specific steps that you will need to follow to successfully complete the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process.

  1. Gather the documents from California that you will need to file for Chapter 7: There are some bankruptcy forms that you will need to fill out, which are required by the bankruptcy court. You will need your financial documents for information that is needed on the bankruptcy forms. There are other documents that you may need to provide as well during the process, such as two months’ worth of pay stubs, bank statements form the last six to 12 months, creditor and lender statements, letters from collection agencies, and your most current credit report.
  2. Fill out your bankruptcy filing form completely: Most likely, the forms are the same ones that everyone completes across the country. If you are working with an attorney, they can help you to complete the forms. However, you will need to provide the attorney with the necessary documentation.
  3. Pay the filing fee: If you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will have to pay $338. However, if your income is less than 150% of the federal income poverty guidelines, you may be able to waive the fee. If you don’t qualify for that but you don’t have the $338, you may be able to apply to the court to cover your filing fee in four installments over a period of 120 days of filing for bankruptcy.
  4. Print your completed bankruptcy forms: You will need to print your forms, which should be in black & white, on 8.5 x 11 paper and printed on one side only. You will want to print two copies (one for your records).
  5. File your forms with the California bankruptcy court: California has four districts and each one has their own filing rules.
  6. Attend your 341 meeting: Most likely, you will only have to go to court once, which is also known as a 341 creditors’ meeting. Many of the courts are holding online instead of in-person meetings nowadays.
  7. If you are filing for Chapter 7, you will need to take a means test: This is designed to stop people from abusing the process. If you are filing for bankruptcy, you will need to prove your eligibility. If you make over a certain income, you won’t qualify.

Advice from a California bankruptcy attorney

If you want to file for Chapter 7, the expertise of a Sacramento, California, bankruptcy attorney may make the process less daunting. The attorney can help you navigate the process and will help you to protect your rights and get back on your feet again so that you have a promising future.