Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is usually considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some significant 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 Palo Alto, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Palo Alto, California
In Palo Alto, California, there are 2 main 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 usually includes homes, vehicles, insurance policies, and retirement accounts. These do not need to be sold.
Once the eligible property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is excused. Some types of debt, however, can't be discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Palo Alto, California. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be discharged, Chapter 7 might not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Palo Alto, California
In Palo Alto, 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 a longer 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 Palo Alto, California
This depends entirely on the facts of your particular case. If you have a decent amount of steady income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 might be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much steady income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Palo Alto, California who is experienced in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely consequences of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.