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 Sebastopol, California before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Sebastopol, California
In Sebastopol, California, there are 2 main forms of commonly-used consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of some 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 types of debt, however, can't be discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Sebastopol, 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 Sebastopol, California
In Sebastopol, 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 does not eliminate debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with a new repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original agreements that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, usually involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Sebastopol, California
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each individual case. If you have a steady stream of income (enough to make a payment plan manageable), and a large amount of non-exempt property that you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be best for you. If you don't have a steady income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
In any case, you should talk with a local Sebastopol, California bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney 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.