If you are struggling financially and feel like there is no way to escape your debts, filing for bankruptcy might be the right option for you. Depending on the level of debt and type of bankruptcy filing, you may even be able to keep your car and your home. The experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Miranda, Magden & Miranda have helped many clients in Salinas discharge their debts through filing for bankruptcy and are here to advise you on the best way forward to a new financial start.
Types of Bankruptcy
Individuals have two main options for filing for bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a person may need to liquidate any nonexempt property to pay his or her creditors. However, California is one of the most generous states in terms of the amount and type of exemptions that protect your assets from liquidation in bankruptcy, and most Miranda, Magden & Miranda clients are able to protect their assets throughout the Chapter 7 process, thereby having enough to successfully start their lives over after bankruptcy. There is no minimum or maximum amounts of debt in order to qualify for Chapter 7 but our attorneys will make sure to walk you through the financial analysis to make sure the numbers add up to a good decision for you.
Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a person filing may be able to keep his or her home and car, even if they are in arrears on these assets, by restructuring debts to pay off the creditors. In order to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor is only allowed to owe so much in secured and unsecured debt and must be earning an income in order to pay back some creditors over a period of time, usually three to five years. Chapter 13 separates all creditors into three tiers known as priority, secured, and unsecured creditors. Payments are made according to the approved Chapter 13 plan, approved by the court, and unsecured debts are paid last or often are discharged.
Under both Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy, the debtor must file considerable documentation with the bankruptcy court and go through mandated credit counseling before and after filing. However, once the bankruptcy process is complete, the debtor is no longer liable for any remaining obligations owed to creditors and can start to rebuild his or her finances, debt-free.
California Bankruptcy Exemptions
Unlike other states, in California a person who files for bankruptcy chooses between two lists of property exemptions. Couples are not allowed to double exempt their property; as a pair they must choose one list of exemptions to apply to their property.
Both lists provide exemptions under the following categories: homestead, motor vehicle, personal property, retirement and pensions, public benefits, tools of the trade, insurance, and other miscellaneous categories. Exemption System 1 also provides exemptions for miscellaneous items such as business or professional licenses, trust funds of inmates, and property of a business partnership. Exemption System 2 also provides exemptions for alimony and child support and a “wildcard” category for any unused burial or homestead amounts.
Contact Our Office Today
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Salinas/Hollister/Marina….but are not sure where to begin, our experienced bankruptcy attorneys are here to help. Call the office or contact us today at Miranda, Magden & Miranda to speak with one of our expert bankruptcy attorneys today about your case.