Chapter 7 bankruptcy (Title 11 of the United States Bankruptcy Code) is commonly known as a liquidating bankruptcy (liquidation), personal bankruptcy, or just plain “bankruptcy.”

What happens To Your Assets in a Chapter 7?

An asset (property) is anything you own or may have a right to own at some future date (for example, if you are in someone’s will). In Chapter 7 in most cases all of your assets will be exempt. California law provides two separate sets of exemptions from which to choose.

Essentially, you can exempt any items normally used for your support and maintenance, such as clothing, furniture, household goods, and so forth. After you file your case, a Trustee is appointed. He (or she) will liquidate (sell) all of your non-exempt assets and pay your creditors according to the priority afforded to them by the Bankruptcy Code.

You may voluntarily repay any debt upon agreement with the creditor after the Chapter 7 case is completed. Whether this is ever advisable is questionable and is an issue to be discussed with your attorney or lawyer.

Should you file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in California?

The goal of most any personal bankruptcy attorney is to obtain a discharge or “bankrupt” their client’s existing debts and to allow them a *fresh start* on their finances. In other words, once your discharge is granted, you no longer need to repay the debts that were incurred before you filed your bankruptcy. Your creditors are entitled to share in the proceeds obtained from the liquidation of your non-exempt assets. Under Chapter 7, the amount your creditors will get is fixed by the value of your non-exempt assets.

Technically, the word “bankrupt” is not the correct terminology when referring to getting rid of debts, but most people (even many attorneys) use that phrase. “I want to bankrupt my credit cards or bankrupt my student loan debts”. The correct legal term is “discharge”. You discharge your obligation to pay on debts.

If Parents were Unmarried at the Time of Conception

If the parents were not married at time of conception, the State of California adopted a process pursuant to California Family Code §7570 et seq. A hospital administrator will give the man identified as the father by the mother a voluntary declaration of paternity form. If the form is executed by the man and filed with the State Department of Child Support Services, the declaration establishes the paternity and has the same effect as a judgment of parentage issued by the court.

Court Ordered Genetic Testing To Establish Paternity

In a civil action in which paternity is a relevant fact, the court must order the alleged father to submit to genetic testing on the motion of any party. The request for genetic testing must be made within a reasonable time before the hearing, but the court has broad discretion to determine what constitutes a “reasonable” time.

However, you must have “standing” to request a genetic testing. California Family Code § 7541 limits standing to the husband, child, mother, and a “presumed parent.” If you do not fit those categories, then the court will not order genetic testing to establish paternity. You can see the full definition of a “presumed parent” by reviewing California Family Code § 7611.

If you have questions about your divorce proceeding, please contact one of our attorneys so we can set up a free consultation to evaluate your case and determine the best strategic direction to proceed. Our Attorneys here at ABA LAW GROUP have close to 38 years of legal experience. Let us put that experience to work for you. Contact us at (818) 352-0800 to make an appointment to review your case.