In San Diego, CA, how much money can a chapter 7 debtor keep as exempt? Is there a wild card? If so how much? After I file a voluntary chapter 7 petition, can I negotiate a settlement of my debts to pay all creditors a portion of what is owed with the exempt funds I have or money I can borrow from family? I filed an emergency bk ch. 7 petition and now want to dismiss it and work out the debts with the creditors. Please advise. Thanks
3 Answers from Attorneys
There is a wild card available to Debtors who are eligible for the exemption set listed in CCP 703. Whether you would be eligible and whether the wildcard could exempt your bank balances along with your other assets is really a question you need to ask of a bankruptcy attorney in person during a consultation. If you filed Chapter 7, you shouldn't need to negotiate settlement of your debts, bankruptcy should discharge (wipe out) almost all debts. Before you dismiss your case, you should meet with a local bankruptcy attorney. Consultations are usually free and they probably can give you much better options than you trying to negotiate settlements with creditors on your own. If you filed an emergency case and did not turn in all required forms and schedules, then you have a very short period of time to turn in the remaining documents, so I would advise you consult with a local bankruptcy attorney immediately. Good luck.
There is a "wildcard" exemption that is available to most bankruptcy filers in California ($26,925 presently-- the dollar amount is periodically adjusted). Absent prior conversions, a chapter 13 debtor may dismiss her case at any time [11 USC 1307(b)]. Chapter 7 does not have a similar provision for voluntary dismissal. Time is of the essence to avoid pitfalls in this case. Please seek legal counsel; you can visit our (San Diego bankruptcy) site for more information.
Filing a bankruptcy without the help of an attorney was a mistake and you might not have the opportunity to get it dismissed. Settlement with the use of exempt assets would also be a mistake.
You can use a wild card of up to $26,925 and there are other exemptions available to you. Mr. Abrams is very qualified to assist you and I am in the San Diego area as well. Most attorneys in San Diego will charge about $2000-$2500 for Chapter 7 case.
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