The United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California has jurisdiction over seven counties in Southern California and the Central Coast, including Ventura, Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and Orange Counties. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California is the largest bankruptcy court in the United States. Divisional offices can be found in Los Angeles and Santa Ana, as well as Woodland Hills serving the San Fernando Valley and the Northern division serving Santa Barbara and portions of Ventura County.
The main website of the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts has a host of helpful information for consumers, including topics such as Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Bankruptcy Basics.
Click here to download the U.S. Bankruptcy Code from the website of the U.S. House of Representatives. There are options to download the entire code or individual chapters such as Chapter 7 liquidation, Chapter 11 reorganization and Chapter 13 adjustment of debts.
In most bankruptcies, a court-appointed trustee will determine which assets should be sold and oversee other matters related to a bankruptcy proceeding. The United States Trustee Program maintains a website here at the U.S. Department of Justice.
Click here for bankruptcy publications available for purchase from the American Bar Association’s Division for Public Education, such as the Guide to Credit and Bankruptcy or the ABA Legal Guide for Small Business. You can also access free questions and answers regarding Chapter 7 straight bankruptcy, Chapter 13 wage earner’s bankruptcy, and bankruptcy pros and cons.
The State Bar of California provides “tips for the overextended” in its pamphlet entitled What Can I Do If I Can’t Pay My Debts?, available to order or download for free from the State Bar’s website.
At the website for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), you can find consumer information on debt collection as well as the text of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.
Visit the National Foundation for Credit Counseling to connect with a credit counselor trained in helping consumers drive down debt and take back control of their finances.
The law entitles you to obtain a free copy of your credit report from the three main consumer credit reporting agencies each year. The official site for getting your credit report is AnnualCreditReport.com.
Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) changed the way credit card companies have to disclose their interest rates and other terms on your credit card bill.
Real Estate Resources
Helpful government resources for businesses include the California Secretary of State, California Department of Insurance, California Department of Corporations and California Franchise Tax Board. The California Department of Real Estate provides a great deal of real estate business resources and is also helpful to make sure you are dealing with appropriately licensed agents and brokers.
The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) provides abundant information on green cards and permanent residence, citizenship and naturalization, working in the U.S. on a temporary or permanent basis, and family-based immigration policies and procedures. The enforcement arm of U.S. immigration policy, including deportation and removal actions, is the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Personal Injury Resources
What Should I Do If I Have An Auto Accident? is another excellent resource from the California Bar. Valuable car crash and vehicle safety information can found at many sites, including the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the California Department of Motor Vehicles.
Helpful resources for individuals arrested under criminal charges and their families include the State Bar pamphlet What Should I know If I Am Arrested?, the California Penal Code and California Criminal Jury Instructions, and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
The State Bar of California makes many helpful and informative pamphlets available free of charge to the public, including Do I Need A Will?, Do I Need Estate Planning?, and Do I Need A Living Trust