How to file for bankruptcy in california?

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Filing for bankruptcy in California can be a complex and overwhelming process. It is a legal procedure that allows individuals or businesses to seek relief from overwhelming debt and obtain a fresh financial start. In this article, we will provide an in-depth guide on how to file for bankruptcy in California, including the necessary steps, requirements, and considerations.

Types of Bankruptcy

Before diving into the filing process, it is essential to understand the different types of bankruptcy available in California. The two most common types are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: This type of bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, involves the sale of non-exempt assets to repay creditors. It is suitable for individuals or businesses with limited income and significant unsecured debts.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Unlike Chapter 7, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individuals with a regular income to create a repayment plan to pay off their debts over a period of three to five years. This type of bankruptcy is ideal for those who want to keep their assets and catch up on missed payments.

Steps to File for Bankruptcy in California

Evaluate Your Financial Situation: Before proceeding with bankruptcy, assess your financial situation thoroughly. Consider your income, assets, debts, and expenses. It may be helpful to consult with a bankruptcy attorney or credit counseling agency to understand your options.

Complete Credit Counseling: Under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, individuals filing for bankruptcy must complete credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days before filing. The agency will provide a certificate of completion, which is required when filing for bankruptcy.

Gather Required Documents: To file for bankruptcy in California, you will need to gather various documents, including your income records, tax returns, bank statements, property deeds, loan documents, and a list of your creditors. These documents will be crucial in determining your eligibility and creating a repayment plan.

File Bankruptcy Forms: The next step is to complete the necessary bankruptcy forms. These forms include the petition, schedules, and statements that provide detailed information about your financial situation. It is highly recommended to seek the assistance of a bankruptcy attorney to ensure accuracy and compliance with the legal requirements.

Pay Filing Fees: When filing for bankruptcy in California, you will be required to pay filing fees. The current fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $335, while Chapter 13 bankruptcy has a fee of $310. In some cases, individuals with low income may qualify for a fee waiver or installment payments.

Attend the Meeting of Creditors: After filing for bankruptcy, you will be required to attend a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 meeting. During this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee and your creditors have the opportunity to ask questions about your financial situation. It is crucial to be prepared and provide honest and accurate information.

Complete Financial Management Course: Before receiving a discharge, individuals filing for bankruptcy must complete a financial management course from an approved agency. This course aims to provide financial education and help individuals make better financial decisions in the future.


Filing for bankruptcy in California is a complex process that requires careful consideration and adherence to legal requirements. It is crucial to evaluate your financial situation, understand the different types of bankruptcy, and gather the necessary documents before proceeding. Seeking the guidance of a bankruptcy attorney can greatly assist in navigating through the process and ensuring a successful outcome.


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