This post was updated on February 21, 2017.
Are you considering filing bankruptcy in the Los Angeles metro area, but aren’t sure where the court is located?
We’ve created this quick guide so you can better plan travel time to the meeting of creditors or a court hearing.
Bankruptcy cases in Los Angeles are filed with the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. The L.A. division serves most of Los Angeles County, while the rest of the district includes Orange, Riverside, San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara, San Bernardino, and Ventura counties. Riverside, Santa Ana, San Fernando Valley and Santa Barbara have their own courthouses.
Not sure where you should go? Locate your court here by entering your ZIP code under “Filing Location” in the upper lefthand corner.
What Happens in Bankruptcy Court
Every bankruptcy proceeding involves a meeting with creditors and a bankruptcy trustee, the latter of whom oversees your bankruptcy estate and determines if there is any property to distribute to creditors. This is called a 341(a) meeting and usually takes place about six weeks after filing for bankruptcy. The bankruptcy trustee will want to review your tax returns from the most recent fiscal year at the meeting, or later on as part of reviewing your case.
If you file for bankruptcy, you’ll be obligated to attend a meeting of creditors approximately 30 days after your case is filed. As long as you’re honest with the court, the meeting of creditors will be relatively painless.
The meeting of creditors is presided over by your case trustee, not the judge. It isn’t until the trustee objects to one of your claimed exemptions or files a lawsuit objecting to your discharge that your case would be set for a hearing before the judge at the courthouse.
In the vast majority of cases, clients never have to step foot in a courthouse other than the meeting of creditors.
How to Get to Court or a Creditors Meeting
The Central District of California is part of the Ninth Circuit, which includes the federal courts in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The Ninth Circuit area is larger, more populous, and hears more cases than any of the other federal circuits.
Make sure whenever you visit a courthouse, you have proper identification and are prepared to pass through a medical detector. All courts are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, excluding federal holidays.
For automated toll-free case information, call (866) 222-8029. For general info, call (855) 460-9641.
Here are the courthouses in the Los Angeles metro region, and how to get there:
1. Los Angeles Division Courthouse
Serves: Most of L.A. County.
Where: Edward R. Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse, 255 E. Temple St., Room 940, Los Angeles, CA 90012.
Parking situation: No public parking is available at the courthouse, but there is local parking nearby at the City of Los Angeles Public Parking Lot 2 (330 E. Temple St.) across the street from the courthouse for $8 a day, cash only; Aiso Parking Garage a half block away (101 N. Judge John Aiso St.) for $1 per hour for the first two hours upward, max $14 per day; and Los Angeles Mall Public Parking (225 N. Los Angeles St.), for $2.50 every 20 minutes, max $16 per day.
Getting around: 341(a) meetings are located at 915 Wilshire Blvd., about a 10-minute drive from the courthouse. All meeting rooms are located on the 10th floor, Suite 1050.
2. Riverside Division Courthouse
Serves: Riverside and San Bernardino counties.
Where: 3420 12th St., Riverside, CA 92501.
Parking situation: No public parking is available at the courthouse, but there is local parking nearby at two parking structures across the street: 12th Street Parking Structure (3535 12th St.), $2/hour, $8/max; Riverside County Administrative Center, 4090 Lemon St., $2/hour, $8/max. There’s also metered parking on the streets near the courthouse.
Getting around: 341(a) meetings are located a little over a half-mile away at 3801 University Ave. Chapter 7 and 13 meetings are held on the first floor, and Chapter 11 meetings are held on the seventh floor. Parking is available at several lots nearby.
3. Santa Ana Division Courthouse
Serves: Orange County.
Where: Ronald Reagan Federal Building and U.S. Courthouse, 411 W. Fourth St., Santa Ana, CA 92701.
Parking situation: No public parking is available at the courthouse, but there city-owned public parking at $7 per day is located at Third and Birch streets, Third Street and Broadway, and Fifth and Main streets. Metered parking also is available on Third, Fourth and Birch streets.
Getting around: 341(a) meetings are located at the courthouse. Chapter 7 meetings are held on the third floor, and Chapter 11 and 13 meetings are located on the first floor.
4. San Fernando Valley Division Courthouse
Serves: Portions of Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Where: 21041 Burbank Blvd., Woodland Hills, CA 91367.
Parking situation: Free parking on site.
Getting around: 341(a) meetings are located at the courthouse, with all chapters’ meeting rooms on the first floor.
5. Northern Division Courthouse
Serves: San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties, portion of Ventura County.
Where: 1415 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101.
Parking situation: Free parking on site. Enter on Sola Street.
Getting around: 341(a) meetings are located a little over a half-mile away at 128 E. Carrillo St., with all chapters’ meeting rooms on the first floor. Park at Anacapa and Carrillo streets in the Santa Barbara City Lot #9.
Barry Edward Borowitz is the founding partner of Borowitz & Clark, LLP, a leading bankruptcy law firm that represents clients petitioning for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code. Mr. Borowitz has been practicing bankruptcy law exclusively for more than 15 years. View his full profile here.