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 Salinas, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Salinas, California
In Salinas, California, there are 2 typical types of commonly-used consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of part of a debtor's assets. It requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property to be sold to pay off as much debt as possible. The majority of property that most people own, however, is exempt. This typically includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once the appropriate property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is absolved. Some forms of debt, however, can't be excused in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Salinas, California. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be excused, Chapter 7 may not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Salinas, California
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Salinas, California is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is very dependent on the facts of each distinct case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not discharge debt. Instead, it restructures it. This involves the bankruptcy court coming up with a new payment plan that supersedes the terms of the arrangements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an adjusted payment plan that the debtor should find manageable, if he or she can make a few sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Salinas, California
This depends entirely on the facts of your specific case. If you have a decent amount of stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much stable income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an accomplished local Salinas, 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 specific situation.