Think About Your Bankruptcy Options
If you are considering bankruptcy as an option, it’s best to learn about the basics before you see a bankruptcy attorney. There are several bankruptcy options to choose from, and your unique individual circumstances will help determine what’s right for you. Going over the fundamentals of bankruptcy here will give you time to think about what you’re comfortable with before you discuss your case with the lawyer.
A Federal Matter
Bankruptcy is a federal matter that requires a trip to the federal courthouse in your area. Federal bankruptcy law has chapters that describe each type of bankruptcy, and the commonly used names for the bankruptcy options are these chapter numbers.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: For Businesses
Chapter 11 is generally just for businesses, although an individual could file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. It involves reorganizing the finances of the business as a way to keep the business “afloat” even though it’s going bankrupt. The business gets to keep operating while the creditors get paid at least some of what is owed them.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most or all of an individual’s or married couple’s debts are wiped out (the term used is “discharged”). The people filing the bankruptcy have to give up some or all of their non-exempt” property to help pay off creditors, such as:
- equity in a home, vacation home, another real estate
- expensive clothing such as furs
- high-price, non-essential electronic equipment
- expensive vehicles that the debtors do not require for their work
A completed Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges the remaining debt, in a process that takes at least three to six months. Some bankruptcy courts are very busy these days, so find out from your attorney how long you can expect your bankruptcy to take.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor doesn’t have to give up any of his or her non-exempt property. However, this type of bankruptcy schedules a pay-off of most or all of the debts, over a specified period of time — generally three to five years. Thus, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a tool to consolidate your debts and possibly reduce your obligation. It can be the best option when a mortgage or car payments, unsecured debts such as credit cards or medical bills, or other debts are overwhelming you but you prefer to pay at least some of the debts.
Contact a Bankruptcy Attorney in Your Area
Bankruptcy is a serious step to take. Discuss your circumstances in-depth with an experienced bankruptcy attorney today, and begin your journey to financial recovery.