Cara O'Neill

Attorney

Cara O'Neill is a legal editor at Nolo, focusing on bankruptcy and small claims. She also maintains a bankruptcy practice at the Law Office of Cara O’Neill and teaches criminal law and legal ethics as an adjunct professor. Cara has been quoted in bankruptcy, finance, small claims, and litigation articles by news outlets that include USA Today, CNBC, U.S. News & World Report, Nerd Wallet, and Yahoo Finance.

Cara received her law degree from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, where she graduated a member of the Order of the Barristers—a highly-selective honor society that gives national recognition to top law school graduates demonstrating excellent skills in trial advocacy, oral advocacy, and brief writing.

Working at Nolo. Cara started writing for Nolo as a freelancer in 2014 and became a full-time legal editor in 2016. She has authored a number of Nolo self-help legal books, including How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, The New Bankruptcy, Everybody's Guide to Small Claims (national version), and Everybody's Guide to Small Claims in California. She also co-authors and edits Solve Your Money Troubles and Credit Repair and has written hundreds of articles for Nolo.com, Lawyers.com, TheBankruptcySite.org, and AllLaw.com.

Early legal career. Before joining Nolo, Cara spent 20 years working as a trial attorney litigating criminal and civil cases. She also served as an administrative law judge mediating disputes between auto manufacturers and dealerships and began teaching law as an adjunct professor in 2004. She added bankruptcy to her practice after the 2008 financial downturn.

Origins of litigation and writing career. Thanks to her mother, Cara’s advocacy training began early and involuntarily. In junior high school, she took second place two years running in the local Optimist Club speaking competition. She also successfully competed on her high school speech and debate team for several years, eventually serving as president of the same. During law school, she competed on a nationally ranked ABA moot court team for two years (and was recruited for a third, but declined) and served as a law journal editor.


Articles By Cara O'Neill

Do I have to pay my late spouse's debts if I live in a community property state?
Question My husband of 45 years recently died after a lengthy illness and the other day I received a call from a debt collector. The caller said that my husband owed almost a thousand dollars in unpaid telephone charges. I was unaware of this bill and told him I was not going to pay it. He said that
Filing for Bankruptcy in Maine
In this complete guide to filing bankruptcy in Maine, you’ll learn about the differences between Chapters 7 and 13, the debts you can discharge, and the property you can keep using Maine’s exemption laws. It also explains how to qualify for bankruptcy chapters 7 and 13 in Maine, and includes checklists to help you navigate the process and organize bankruptcy documents, and links to a DIY bankruptcy quiz and other helpful resources.
The Maine Homestead Exemption
If you file for bankruptcy in Maine, the homestead exemption protects between $80,000 and $160,000 of your home equity.
Small Business Closed Due to Coronavirus? How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Help
With small business stimulus loan funding already exhausted, business owners turn to Chapter 7 bankruptcy for help. Chapter 7 can help a service-oriented sole proprietor stay in business, and erase a former business owner's personal liability for some types of business debt.
Laid Off Due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19)? Bankruptcy Can Help.
If you’re one of the millions laid off because of the coronavirus outbreak, it might make sense to file for bankruptcy—especially if you’re struggling with debt. Learn how a “last resort” bankruptcy plan can give you a sense of control during this unpredictable time and, if necessary, help get you back on your feet financially.
How to Protect Your CARES Act Stimulus Check and Bank Accounts in California
Learn how new California laws protect coronavirus assistance and bank account funds from creditor collection actions.
Civil Statutes of Limitations
Know the time limits for filing a lawsuit (statutes of limitations) in your state.
New York Bankruptcy Exemptions
Learn how you can use New York's bankruptcy exemptions to protect your home, car, and personal property in Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy using the homestead exemption, motor vehicle exemption, and more.
Filing for Bankruptcy in New Jersey (NJ)
In this complete guide to filing bankruptcy in New Jersey, you’ll learn about the differences between Chapters 7 and 13, the debts you can discharge, and the property you can keep using New Jersey’s exemption laws. It also explains how to qualify for bankruptcy chapters 7 and 13 in New Jersey, and includes checklists to help you navigate the process and organize bankruptcy documents, and links to a DIY bankruptcy quiz and other helpful resources.
Filing for Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania
In this complete guide to filing bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, you’ll learn about the differences between Chapters 7 and 13, the debts you can discharge, and the property you can keep using Pennsylvania’s exemption laws. It also explains how to qualify for bankruptcy chapters 7 and 13 in Pennsylvania, and includes checklists to help you navigate the process and organize bankruptcy documents, and links to a DIY bankruptcy quiz and other helpful resources.