Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is typically considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some substantial long-term consequences warranting careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Bankruptcy is a formation of federal law, and goes through federal courts. Therefore, the process governing bankruptcy in California will be roughly the same as it is everywhere else in the U.S. But individual courts have different rules for what property is exempt, so you should consult a local Los Altos, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Los Altos, California
There are 2 typical types of consumer bankruptcy in Los Altos, California: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 states that a certain percentage of the debtor's property be liquidated to pay off at least a small part of their debt. However, many forms of property are exempt, and do not need to be liquidated, such as cars, homes, insurance policies, and retirement accounts.
Once the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is excused. Some forms of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Los Altos, California is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Los Altos, California
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Los Altos, California is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your specific case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not absolve debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with an adjusted repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original arrangements that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, typically involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Los Altos, California
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your distinct situation. If you have a stable income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Los Altos, California who is accomplished in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely results of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.