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Chapter 7

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often referred to as liquidation because a bankruptcy trustee can liquidate (convert to cash) your non-exempt assets to pay part of the your outstanding bills. The term liquidation is rather misleading, since most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy do not have any non-exempt assets, and thus there is no actual liquidation.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases move relatively quickly, and you may receive your discharge in just a few months. A discharge will eliminate unsecured debts like credit card debt, medical bills, most personal loans, judgments resulting from car accidents, deficiencies on repossessed vehicles, some older tax debts, payday loans, and garnishments. Certain debts are classified “non-dischargeable debts” and cannot be discharged, or can only be discharged under very specific circumstances. These include child support, most student loans, and many tax debts.

Before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will have to qualify through a Chapter 7 means test. Although there was a lot of media hype about the means test disqualifying people from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy when it was introduced in 2005, the truth is that more than 96% of potential Chapter 7 petitioners still qualify. In the unlikely event that you are one of those few who do not, you may still file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy….more

Chapter 13

If you have a job or some source of regular income, but are overwhelmed by debts you can’t handle, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be right for you. You can use Chapter 13 bankruptcy to liquidate many of your debts, set up a reasonable debt repayment plan, and get a fresh financial start. Chapter 13 is primarily used by individuals who are in need of saving their homes from foreclosure, to save their vehicles from repossession, or who owe significant income and/or real estate taxes to the government or municipalities. Chapter 13 gives the honest wage-earner the ability to become current in past due payments and to payoff their tax obligations over a 3 to 5 year period.

The Chapter 13 process should begin well before you enter the courthouse. Bankruptcy law can be complicated, so you should hire an experienced Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney. Your family lawyer or someone you found in the yellow pages may not have the necessary familiarity with all of the requirements, schedules, forms, filings, distributions, and deadlines associated with the bankruptcy process. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can meet with you to assess your financial situation, explain the bankruptcy process to you, and work with you to set up a debt repayment plan that you can live with….more

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