Bankruptcy by definition is a proceeding in Federal court in which an insolvent debtor’s assets are liquidated and the debtor is relieved of further liability. If you have questions concerning bankruptcy, you should seek the advice of a licensed bankruptcy attorney. Here are a few basic insights into this tricky financial move.
Types of Bankruptcy
There are two types of bankruptcy.
Chapter 7: This is when the court appoints a Trustee who may liquidate or sell some things that you own to pay your creditors. Most of your debt will be canceled. However, you may choose to pay some creditors, usually to keep a car or home in which the creditor has a lien.
Chapter 13: This is when your debt is reorganized into a single monthly payment. The payment will continue for 36 to 60 months. In no case may a plan provide for payments over a period longer than five years. You do not have to repay all of your debt. You pay only as much as you can afford. But, the minimum payment may be affected by property you want to keep. When you complete the payments, debt not paid is discharged.
Is Bankruptcy Right for You?
To understand if something is right for you, must follow a comprehensive analysis of advantages and disadvantages. This also applies to bankruptcy. Take a look at these advantages and disadvantages of bankruptcy to see where you might land.
- Bankruptcy gives you the opportunity for a fresh start.
- If you are eligible for Chapter 7 most of your unsecured debts may be forgiven or discharged. A secured debt is one which the creditor is entitled to collect by seizing and selling certain assets of the debtor if payments are missed, such as a home mortgage or car loan.
- You may be able to keep (that is, exempt) many of your assets, although state laws vary widely in defining which assets you may keep.
- Collection efforts must stop as soon as you file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
- You cannot be fired from your job solely because you filed for bankruptcy.
- It can remain on your credit report for 7-10 years and can affect your future finances.
- It may impede your chances of getting a mortgage or car loan for some time.
- Not all debt will be discharged. Examples of debt that cannot be discharged include child support, alimony, some student loans, divorce settlements and some income taxes. You should check with an attorney on the specific categories of debt that will be allowed for discharge.
Filing bankruptcy does not necessarily eliminate debt. The process simply restructures existing debts – this leaves you responsible for all future payments. It is a public record and will be reflected on your credit report but not permanently. You can speak with a certified counselor at ACCC for credit counseling tips.
Anyone who is considering bankruptcy needs to fully understand the process and the laws surrounding it. Questions about the process should be addressed by a licensed bankruptcy attorney.
If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC can help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today.