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 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 San Joaquin County, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in San Joaquin County, California
In San Joaquin County, California, there are 2 main 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 usually includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once the eligible property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is excused. Some forms of debt, however, can't be discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in San Joaquin County, California. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be discharged, Chapter 7 may not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in San Joaquin County, California
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in San Joaquin County, California is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is very dependent on the facts of each individual case. Chapter 13 does not eliminate any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Typically, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this may make it take longer to pay off the debt, if the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, the plan should be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in San Joaquin County, California
This depends entirely on the facts of your particular 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.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in San Joaquin County, California. Your lawyer can make an educated judgment as to what your best option is, and advise you accordingly (of course, the choice to file for bankruptcy is ultimately yours).