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 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 Merced County, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Merced County, California
In Merced County, California, there are 2 typical forms of commonly-used consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation of some of the debtor's assets. It requires some percentage of the debtor's property to be sold in order to pay off as much of his or her debt as possible. However, the majority of property that most people own is exempt. This typically includes homes, vehicles, insurance policies, and retirement accounts. These do not need to be sold.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. However, some types of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Merced County, California is not dischargeable, you might want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Merced County, California
In Merced County, 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 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up a modified payment plan, which allows the debtor to pay off most or all of his debts over an extended period of time, through monthly payments that should, assuming that the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Merced County, California
Chapter 13 is typically a good option for people who have a steady 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 steady income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Merced County, California bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of your options and their likely results, which will help you make a more educated decision.