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Ellen, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience:  Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
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I have 52K in unsecured consumer debt with an annual income

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I have 52K in unsecured consumer debt with an annual income of about the same. is bankruptcy my best choice? I have a 403b with 65k (shrinking daily due to the economy) and I already have a load against it.


Thank you for your question. I am happy to assist you.

You will want to consider filing bankruptcy.

The assets that you may retain in a bankruptcy depend upon the Chapter bankruptcy you file and the state exemptions.

As an individual, there are two types of bankruptcy available. A Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13. There are distinct differences in between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy could discharge (erase) all of your unsecured debt such as credit cards, judgments and personal loans. It would be an opportunity for a fresh financial start. However, you may have to surrender assets that exceed your exemption.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan for an individual. It may require that you repay some of your unsecured credit card debt over a 3 -5 year period. However, you may retain assets that exceed your exemption.

Here are the exemptions for California:

I hope that the information which I provided was helpful to you.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.


I believe I wil qualify under chapter 7 based on the research i have done. I have no real assets, no property, a 8 year old vehicle. I fall just above the limit on the means test. Will my retirement be safe? That's my biggest concern.


The statute states that the pension is "exempt only to the extent necessary to providefor the support of the judgment debtor when the judgment debtor retires and for the support of the spouse and dependents of the judgment debtor".

You can read the statute is full here.
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