Are you drowning in debt, dealing with harassing calls from creditors, and having nightmares about losing your home? If you cannot seem to find a way out of debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be an option to consider to wipe out some or all of your debt and get a fresh start. However, filing for bankruptcy is a serious step that requires a lot of thought and planning, which is why you will want to discuss your situation with an attorney.  

Our Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney at the Law Office of Robert L. Firth helps people in Cathedral City, California, and surrounding areas obtain relief under the bankruptcy code. We understand that financial hardships can be overwhelming, which is why we are prepared to address every case we handle with the personalized attention and urgency it deserves. Law Office of Robert L. Firth serves clients who are overcome by financial problems in Desert Hot Springs, Palm Springs, Palm Desert, and throughout the Coachella Valley.  

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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the “liquidation” form of bankruptcy that allows the debtor to eliminate all of their unsecured debt, which is essentially any debt not guaranteed by collateral property. However, the debtor’s non-exempt assets will have to be liquidated (sold) to pay the creditors. Bankruptcy exemptions differ greatly from one state to another, which is why it is vital to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to determine which assets in your possession are exempt and non-exempt.  

In California, debtors who wish to obtain debt relief through Chapter 7 bankruptcy must take certain steps and meet specific requirements, including:  

  • Fill out the required forms 

  • Complete a credit counseling course 

  • Complete a debt management course 

  • Pass a means test 

  • Provide a full and accurate list of debts and assets 

  • Provide honest and thorough documentation of income 

Whether or not Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option in your situation depends on many factors, including your ability to pay off your debts in the foreseeable future, the amount of secured vs. unsecured debt, which of your assets would be liquidated if you filed, and many others. Our Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in Cathedral City, California, can assess your unique situation to determine how filing for bankruptcy would affect your situation specifically.  

Does Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Get Rid of All Debts?

Many debtors file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 bankruptcy thinking that they would be freed of their obligation to pay back all debts. However, contrary to popular belief, not all debts can be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some of the non-dischargeable debts are: 

  • Most student loans 

  • Delinquent tax debts 

  • Child support and alimony payments 

  • Fines owed to the government 

  • Penalties and restitutions resulting from criminal acts 

  • Debts left off the bankruptcy petition 

If a lender has a lien on your asset (e.g., your house), the lien will stay even if the debt is discharged. That means you could still lose your property even if you successfully file for bankruptcy and get your debts discharged. If this sounds like your situation, you need to discuss the options available to you with an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney.  

California Bankruptcy Exemptions

According to the official website of the Judicial Branch of California, bankruptcy cases are governed by federal law. However, bankruptcy exemptions, which allow debtors to protect property from the bankruptcy trustee, are different in each state.  

Contrary to popular belief, you do not give up all of your property when you file for bankruptcy. California law allows debtors to keep almost all of their property through bankruptcy exemptions. In the state, exemptions are divided into two types: Set 1 (704) and Set 2 (703) exemptions.  

When you file for bankruptcy in California, you do not have the option of selecting between federal and California state exemptions. However, you do have a right to choose between Set 1 and Set 2 exemptions. The biggest difference between these two sets of exemptions is the homestead exemption. Filers who do not own real estate or have little equity in their homes typically opt for the Set 2 exemption, while filers with a real estate portfolio or substantial equity in their property typically choose the Set 1 exemption.  


At the Law Office of Robert L. Firth, we understand that you may be stuck in a desperate financial situation and it is our goal to help you get your finances back on track. Our attorney in Cathedral City, California, can help you determine if filing under Chapter 7 is right for you and help you take the necessary steps to achieve financial freedom. Call now for a free case evaluation.