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Do I qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

Many California residents have, over the years, found themselves in tough financial positions. Living in this state is expensive. Job loss, emergencies, health scares and a number of other things can arise that make paying one's bills impossible. If you've found yourself in a difficult financial bind, there may be debt relief options available to you -- such as bankruptcy.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is just one type of personal bankruptcy that may be available to individuals or couples who cannot meet their debt obligations. There are certain requirements that one must meet, though, in order to receive court approval on this type of bankruptcy.

Do I qualify?

In order to figure out if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, taking a means test is necessary. This is not a stress-inducing test. There are no wrong answers. All this test does is compare your income to the state's median income level.

Taking the test is easy. It is a matter of obtaining the proper forms, going through your personal records -- usually tax records -- and researching state information -- usually via census records. You can get the forms you need from an attorney or online.

After you take the time and fill out the forms completely, you'll be looking at a lot of numbers that may not make a whole lot of sense to you. Reading a means test is actually really simple. If you make less than the state median income level, you may pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is higher, though, you'll likely have to look at other debt relief options -- unless your disposable income is insufficient to pay back creditors. 

I qualify according to the means test. Now what?

If you've taken the means test and it looks like you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, next comes the filing process. This requires gathering all your financial information, filling out the proper forms, submitting the petition and paying court fees. Sounds easy enough, but any small error could result in your petition denial.

If you believe bankruptcy is the right course of action for you, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can review your financial situation and help you pursue this debt relief option -- if it is really deemed appropriate for your situation. 

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