Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is normally considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some considerable 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 Atherton, California before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Atherton, California
There are 2 main forms of bankruptcy in Atherton, 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 absolved. Fortunately for debtors, many forms of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, basic 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 absolved. 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 Atherton, California debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Atherton, California
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Atherton, California is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your individual case. Chapter 13 does not excuse 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 Atherton, California
Chapter 13 is normally a good option for people who have a stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property that they can't part with. On the other hand, if most of the debtor's property is exempt, and he or she does not have a stable income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an accomplished local Atherton, California bankruptcy attorney before you make the decision to file. He or she will be able to advise you of your options, and suggest the best possible course of action for your individual situation.