When debts and other financial obligations become unmanageable, Bankruptcy is a powerful tool. Bankruptcy is a process in which both debtors and businesses can eliminate, and in other cases, repay a portion of their debts under the protection of the Federal Bankruptcy Court. Bankruptcy court is one of the few courts geared towards helping the debtor. In many cases, it’s also possible for the debtor to keep most, or all of their assets.

Bankruptcy is governed by the federal law found in Title 11 of the United States Code. As federal law, it supersedes any conflicting state law by reason of the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution. With the exception of exemptions, it is the same from state to state.

Filing for bankruptcy may be your best option if you are have been forced into financial hardship due to medical expenses, job loss or high mortgage or credit card debts. In many instances, filing for bankruptcy can: Eliminate debts Improve your credit rating Prevent creditors from contacting you and from obtaining judgments against you Prevent wage garnishments Structure an affordable repayment plan where necessary Help you get back on track

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy. It is often filed by individuals and married couples; however this bankruptcy protection is also available to corporations, partnerships, and limited liability companies.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the US Federal Bankruptcy Court appoints a Trustee to liquidate the debtor’s non-exempt assets, sell these assets and distribute the proceeds equally among creditors. All remaining debts are then discharged. The typical individual debtor will receive a discharge within 4 – 6 months of filing for bankruptcy. It is very often the case that debtors are able to keep most, if not all of their assets.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy provides a means for restructuring debts and allows the debtors to create an affordable repayment plan. It is typically used by individuals and sole proprietorships that do not qualify for, or desire to, file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This form of bankruptcy also allows debtors to retain all of their personal property.

Under Chapter 13, the US Federal Bankruptcy Court will appoint a Trustee to collect a plan of reorganization payment from money earned by the debtor after filing the bankruptcy petition. This means that a debtor will make monthly payments to the Trustee for a period of three to five years. This payment is determined by assessing the income and expenses of the debtor. Once these funds are collected, the Trustee distributes them to creditors according to the plan approved by the Court. Following successful completion of your customized, three or five-year plan, your remaining unsecured debt will be discharged.