Santa Cruz County presents some unique challenges to the bankruptcy filer. The entire county is part of the Northern District of California (remember, bankruptcy uses federal, not state, courts), Santa Cruz is actually in the San Jose Division. What that means is the judge assigned to your case will be in San Jose, and if there is ever a court hearing, it should occur in San Jose. Luckily, most cases avoid needing to have a hearing, and even when a Court appearance is necessary, the attorney can often handle it without you taking time off work to travel
However, the trustee's hearing (the meeting of creditors, or "341 hearing") will require your attendance. Depending on your chapter, that might be in San Jose, or in Santa Cruz.
Some of the Chapter 7 Trustees hold their hearings in Santa Cruz. However, a Chapter 13 hearing will be held in either Salinas or San Jose. South County residents tend to get Salinas, while Aptos on north end up in San Jose. Either way, it is important to read your 341 notice carefully (and call if you're at all confused) the moment you receive it.
California's exemptions are less than ideal for protecting a home, topping out at $175,000 for disabled or retired individuals. With housing values climbing, one of the most important steps in preparing a filing is to make sure we are protecting your assets. Often, people will elect a Chapter 13 bankruptcy so they have more control and protection in their bankruptcy filing.
I grew up in Aptos, and highway 1 was a mess then - and its a bigger mess now. I know how busy my clients are, and how difficult it can be to get from one end of the county to the other.
Because of this, I have offices available by appointment to meet clients in both Santa Cruz and Watsonville.