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 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 Angeles, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Los Angeles, California
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcy in Los Angeles, 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 cleared. Some forms of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Los Angeles, California is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Los Angeles, California
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Los Angeles, 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 bankruptcy does not excuse debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with an altered repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original contracts that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, normally involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Los Angeles, 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 Los Angeles, 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.