Most people have experienced the stress of being in debt at one point or another in their life – whether it’s a hefty student loan, unexpected medical bill, annual taxes or a sky-high credit card bill. Owing money to another entity and not being able to pay is a very overwhelming feeling, and often times in these situations the consequences are very serious if the debts are not repaid. If you owe money to a creditor in the state of California, they will file a lawsuit against you where they can put a lien against any assets you own, take control of your bank accounts, garnish your wages or force you to sell any personal property and assets that you own. Depending on your unique situation, sometimes you can work with a company that handles debt negotiation and you can work out a payment plan that will work in your favor. Other times, your best option is to file for bankruptcy, which relieves you of the legal obligation to pay back your debt.
If you are declaring bankruptcy as an individual in the state of California you can choose between two different types – Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 – each of these offers different options and protections.
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, allows you to eliminate any debt owed that is eligible. Certain debts are eligible with limitations – these include student loans, tax debt, child support, debt owed for injury caused as a result of a DUI or restitution owed from a criminal conviction. Once all the eligible debt is eliminated, some of your personal assets may need to be sold by a Trustee to satisfy any outstanding debt. Certain assets are exempt from this, including retirement accounts, your primary residence, your primary vehicle and any household items that are worth less than $675. It’s important to note that many debtors usually don’t have to surrender any property in bankruptcy as there are options for exemptions to look into. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option for those who are most in need of debt relief, so you will have to qualify for this option.
- The other option in California is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which settles your eligible debts within a few months and reorganizes your existing debt. You will work with an appointed Trustee to put together a plan to pay off all, or a part of your debt over three to five years. Your unique financial plan can help you catch up on mortgage and car payments while continuing to make any regular payments.
- One additional option for in California is Chapter 11 bankruptcy, this is the usual option for large businesses, corporations or partnerships looking to restructure their debt.
In order to determine the best option for your unique situation, we strongly advise working with an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. Our team at Gale, Angelo, Johnson & Pruett can help guide you through the process of filing for bankruptcy, assist in collecting the necessary paperwork, explain everything in detail and ensure that you are prepared and informed from start to finish.
Give us a call at 916-290-7778 for help with your financial concerns or fill out the inquiry form below to schedule a thorough case evaluation with our team.