Many factors, from medical emergencies to job loss, could cause people in California to go into debt and fall behind on paying bills. Although many debtors struggle onward with the intention of catching up on their payments, they might benefit more from a bankruptcy filing, especially if their financial situations have little prospect of improving. Filing for bankruptcy could let people temporarily forgo payments on credit cards and medical bills so that they can purchase groceries and gas while the court addresses their cases.

The early recognition of an inability to pay debts could spare someone substantial stress when they seek bankruptcy protection. Once a court begins to process the case, it issues an automatic stay. This is a court order that prevents creditors from making efforts to collect debts. The stay might halt harassment and allow a person to focus on rebuilding a financial life.

To get to this point, debtors must prepare disclosure forms for the court that completely list their assets and debts. People sometimes get into trouble with a court when they fail to provide information about all of their income, assets and sources of debt. Incomplete court filings could delay the case or even cause the court to dismiss a case.

A person who needs information about how to approach a bankruptcy court could consult an attorney. Legal support might allow someone to avoid paperwork mistakes and gain a timely case review. An attorney could also provide information about bankruptcy options and make sure that someone has completed federally required prerequisites to filing, like credit counseling. As the case progresses, an attorney could manage inquiries from the court or trustee and confront creditors that are failing to comply with the automatic stay.