Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is usually considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some significant long-term consequences warranting careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Bankruptcy is controlled by federal law, and proceeds in federal courts. So, the process for filing for bankruptcy in California will be very similar to the process everywhere else in the U.S. However, individual bankruptcy courts have different rules for exemptions, so it might be a good idea to consult with a local lawyer in Atascadero, California before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Atascadero, California
There are 2 common forms of bankruptcy in Atascadero, California. They are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a liquidation of some of the debtor's assets, which pays off part of his or her debt. Once this is done, the remaining debt is discharged. Fortunately for debtors, many forms of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, essential personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once all non-exempt assets are sold, and the money from the sales turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is discharged. But some forms of debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include child support payments, student loans, and criminal fines, among others. If most of your Atascadero, California debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Atascadero, California
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Atascadero, California is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your particular case. Chapter 13 does not eliminate any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Typically, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this may make it take longer to pay off the debt, if the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, the plan should be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Atascadero, California
This depends entirely on the facts of your particular case. If you have a decent amount of stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much stable income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Atascadero, California. Your lawyer can make an educated judgment as to what your best option is, and advise you accordingly (of course, the choice to file for bankruptcy is ultimately yours).