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 Santa Maria, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Santa Maria, California
In Santa Maria, 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 Santa Maria, 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 Santa Maria, California
In Santa Maria, California, chapter 13 is extremely 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 revised 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 Santa Maria, 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, you should talk with a local Santa Maria, California bankruptcy lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you of your options and inform you of their likely consequences. This will make it much easier for your to make an informed choice.