Bankruptcy is legally defined as an individual’s or business’ inability to pay its creditors. In some cases, known as involuntary bankruptcies, creditors can initiate the bankruptcy process by filing bankruptcy against a debtor in an effort to regain part of the money they are owned.
Primarily, though, bankruptcy is filed by a debtor strapped for cash. This type of bankruptcy is referred to as a voluntary bankruptcy.
Over 126,000 Californians filed for personal bankruptcy in 2008. While filing for bankruptcy can be distressing and upsetting, it’s important that you understand the process and work with one of the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of David S. Chesley, Inc.
Bankruptcy laws are complicated, differ from state to state, and are changing regularly due to the passage of new legislation. Having the right legal representation can make a significant difference in the outcome of your bankruptcy case and your ultimate financial well being.
Types of Bankruptcy
While there are technically six different types of bankruptcies, known as Chapters, the most common forms of bankruptcies include:
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, in which the debtor outlines his/her financial situation in a petition to the court. In addition to listing all of his/her assets and income, debtors filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy also have to list all of their debt and expenses. It tends to take courts between three and four months to process a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, in which businesses (sole proprietors, partnerships or corporations) restructure their operations and form a plan for repaying their creditors. Debtors will have four months to develop and submit their plans. Following this time frame, creditors can draw up and submit restructure and repayment plans to the court.
The plan elected will have to be approved by a majority of the creditors involved in the case. These proceedings vary wildly, depending on how long it takes both parties find a suitable restructure plan.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, in which debt amounts are adjusted and repayment plans are made for individuals with a non-secured debt less than $269,250 and secured debts less than $807,750.
Under the guidelines of Chapter 13 bankruptcies, debtors are allowed to keep their assets but must pay the recalculated debt within three to five years of the judgment.
Meeting with Our Bankruptcy Attorneys
To ensure that your initial consultation with the esteemed bankruptcy attorneys at the Law Offices of David S. Chesley, Inc. is as helpful as possible, here of some tips on how to prepare for this meeting:
- Fill out all preliminary paperwork, as instructed by the legal staff with whom you set up an appointment. These forms, including tax and income forms, may be available on our Web site.
- Be prepared to talk about any debt you may have, including (but not limited to) credit card debt, medical debts and tax debts.
- Be prepared to list and discuss all of your assets, such as real estate, motor vehicles and lawsuit settlements. All of these will be evaluating for their current value, if they were to be resold, rather than how much you paid for them.
To schedule a private consultation with one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys, contact us today.