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 Napa County, California before you file.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Napa County, California

In Napa 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 all non-exempt assets are sold, and the money from the sales turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is excused. 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 Napa County, California debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Napa County, California

Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Napa County, 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 does not excuse debt, but restructures it instead. Typically, 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 typically manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.

Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Napa County, California

Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your distinct situation. If you have a steady income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.

Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Napa 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.