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Bankruptcy Eligibility in California

While bankruptcy is not necessarily the right solution for everyone with financial problems, when debt is insurmountable and you are eligible, it can give you a fresh start. Multiple factors determine your eligibility to file for bankruptcy and your best way to find out about how bankruptcy relates to your financial troubles is to consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. At the Fishback Law Group, we focus our practice entirely on bankruptcy and other legal remedies to help clients get out of debt.

Credit counseling eligibility factor

Filing for any bankruptcy chapter requires that you first complete credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days prior to filing your bankruptcy petition. The Credit Counseling Unit at the Executive Office for U.S. Trustees has a list of approved agencies. Once you complete the counseling, the agency issues you a certificate that you must submit no later than 15 days after submitting your bankruptcy petition.

Repeated bankruptcy filings

There is a difference between bankruptcy filing eligibility and eligibility to receive a discharge. You must wait a minimum of 180 days to file for another bankruptcy when the court dismisses your case because of willfully disobeying a bankruptcy court order or because you requested a dismissal after the court granted a creditor relief from the automatic stay. To receive a discharge for another Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you cannot have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy within the previous eight years or for a Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy within the previous six years. The exception is when your Chapter 12 or 13 repayment plan covered 100 percent of your unsecured claims or paid 70 percent of your unsecured claims when showing a good faith effort. To file and receive a discharge for a new Chapter 13 bankruptcy, receiving a discharge within the previous two years for Chapter 13 or within the previous four years for Chapter 7, 11 or 12 makes you ineligible.

The means test for Chapter 7

Income earnings above a certain level make you ineligible for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Your average income over the past six months must be equal to or less than the median income for a family of your size in California. If your income is greater and you pass the means test, you may also qualify to file for Chapter 7. The means test is based on disposable income calculations.

Debt limitations for Chapter 13

You are not eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy when your debts exceed the following limitations:

  • Secured debt exceeding $1,149,525
  • Unsecured debt exceeding $383,175

By working with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer who handles all aspects of bankruptcy, you can determine the best way to handle overwhelming debt.

Contact an Irvine, CA bankruptcy attorney

Find out about your eligibility to file for bankruptcy. Fishback Law Group focuses exclusively on bankruptcy and other financial remedies to help you get out of debt and get your life back on track. Contact the Fishback Law Corp in Irvine for a free consultation.