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 a creation of federal law, and goes through federal courts. Therefore, the procedure governing bankruptcy in California will be roughly the same as it is anywhere else in the U.S. But individual courts have different rules for what property is exempt, so you should consult a local Lakewood, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Lakewood, California
There are 2 main forms of consumer bankruptcy in Lakewood, California: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property be liquidated to pay off at least a small part of their debt. However, many types of property are exempt, and do not need to be liquidated, such as cars, homes, insurance policies, 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 types 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 Lakewood, California debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Lakewood, California
In Lakewood, California, chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your situation. Chapter 13 does not absolve debt, but restructures it instead. Normally, various debts are consolidated into a single monthly payment. This is designed to make the debt more manageable, giving the debtor the chance to pay off the debt over a longer period of time, without all of it coming due at once. This is normally manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Lakewood, California
The answer to this question depends heavily on your particular situation. If you have enough steady income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 might be a good option. If you don't have much steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an experienced local Lakewood, 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.