Bankruptcy in California is a legal procedure through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are discharged (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult process. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good California bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your individual case.
Types of Bankruptcy in California
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in California will be the same as anywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic types of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy typically used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In California, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as "liquidation." When a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed by the bankruptcy court to do an accounting of the debtor's property. The trustee then decides what pieces of property, if any, should be sold off to pay off the debts. Many types of property are exempt from forced sale up to a certain dollar amount, including houses, cars, and retirement accounts. Once the property is sold, any remaining dischargeable debt is eliminated. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves restructuring, rather than discharging, one's debt. Basically, the court structures a debt repayment plan meant to allow the debtor to pay off his or her debt in manageable installments, while allowing the debtors to eventually collect at least some of what is owed to them.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy, like Chapter 13, involves reorganization of debt. However, it is almost exclusively used by businesses, and not individuals. After filing for Chapter 11, the debtor has to come up with a repayment plan. The plan must then be approved by a majority vote of participating creditors.
How Can a California Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Because bankruptcy is a huge financial and life decision, it is not one to be made without as much information as possible. A California bankruptcy lawyer can help give you this information, and advise you as to whether or not bankruptcy is a prudent course of action, given your particular situation.
Interesting Facts About California
California is located on the Pacific Coast of the United States. With a population of over 37 million people, it is by far the most populous state in the U.S. California's state capitol is located in the city of Sacramento. The California State Capitol building located there serves as home to the state legislature and the Office of the Governor.
The history of California is driven by a series of "booms" centered in major cities, such as the San Francisco gold rush, the Central Valley agricultural booms, the filming industry boom in Hollywood, and the technology boom in Silicon Valley. These industries, as well as California's location on the coast, have led to an influx of people from all over the U.S. and around the world.
California is known for its ornate historical courthouses like the Alameda and Fresno courthouses. Over time most California courthouses have been renovated or rebuilt in a more modern fashion. Currently, California courthouses feature new technologies in the courtrooms. Some of the more active California Superior Courts include the courthouses in Alameda, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Fresno.
California's legislature is always very "busy", and the state is known for its complex set of laws. Lawyers in California are required to pass one of the most rigorous bar exams in the country. This ensures that California lawyers understand the vast network of laws and regulations that are unique to the state. California lawyers offer legal services in a broad range of fields and topics.