Legal Assistance/Advice For Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows debtors relief through the discharging of their debts or creating a debt repayment plan. Bankruptcy can be considered a “last resort” option due to the length of time it can stay in your credit report. Bankruptcy has a negative impact on your credit score and some people only qualify for the Ch 13 (repayment plan in which you will be beholden to a Court) not the Ch7 (total dissolution of debt). The Bankruptcy laws were changed in 2013 and are different for each state and are now much more focused on Income & Assets and repayment ability.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Individuals—and in some cases businesses, with few or no assets—typically file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It allows them to dispose of their unsecured debts, such as credit card balances and medical bills. Those with nonexempt assets, such as family heirlooms (collections with high valuations, such as coin or stamp collections); second homes; and cash, stocks, or bonds must liquidate the property to repay some or all of their unsecured debts. A person filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is basically selling off their assets to clear their debt. People who have no valuable assets and only exempt property—such as household goods, clothing, tools for their trades, and a personal vehicle worth up to a certain value—may end up repaying no part of their unsecured debt.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Businesses often file Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the goal of which is to reorganize, remain in business, and once again become profitable. Filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows a company to create plans for profitability, cut costs, and find new ways to increase revenue. Their preferred stockholders, if any, may still receive payments, though common stockholders will not.

For example, a housekeeping business filing Chapter 11 bankruptcy might increase its rates slightly and offer more services to become profitable. Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows the business to continue conducting its business activities without interruption while working on a debt repayment plan under the court’s supervision. In rare cases, individuals can also file Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Individuals who make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may file under Chapter 13, also known as a wage earner’s plan. It allows individuals—as well as businesses, with consistent income—to create workable debt repayment plans. The repayment plans are commonly in installments over the course of a three- to five-year period. In exchange for repaying their creditors, the courts allow these debtors to keep all of their property, including otherwise nonexempt property.

Declaring bankruptcy can help relieve you of your legal obligation to pay your debts and save your home, business, or ability to function financially, depending on which kind of bankruptcy petition you file. But it also can lower your credit rating, making it more difficult to get a loan, mortgage, or credit card, or to buy a home or business, or rent an apartment.

Bankruptcy filings vary among states, which can lead to higher or lower filing fees, depending on the location of the filing.

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