Bankruptcy can be an intimidating word.  The stigma associated with it could not be further from the truth. It exists because we deem it good for society to give people a second chance. The bankruptcy legal process was created under Federal law to help people get a fresh start who can no longer pay their debts.  The purpose of bankruptcy is to start over by liquidating assets to pay debts or by creating a repayment plan.  If you are facing severe debt problems, this can be a very powerful remedy.  You are protected from creditors the moment you file your case with the bankruptcy court.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy eliminates most types of debt, including credit cards, medical bills, and personal loans.  It is commonly referred to as “liquidationâ€.  This is ideal for unsecured debt.  When the bankruptcy court grants your petition.

Typically, approximately 40 days after the petition is filed, the trustee will hold a “meeting of creditors,†which should be the only meeting you will need to make during the course of the bankruptcy process. The debtor’s creditors usually do not attend the meeting of creditors. Once the bankruptcy is granted, you should receive an immediate discharge of debts.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will restructure your debt into a manageable payment plan over a three to five year period.  It is commonly referred to as “wage earners†bankruptcy.  This may be ideal if you are seeking to retain your assets but you need time to get current on your payments.

In this type of bankruptcy, the debtor submits a plan to repay creditors the money owed to them over a three to five year period. The payments under the plan are made from your future income by the Chapter 13 trustee who distributes them to creditors.

You do not receive an immediate discharge of debts as you would with Chapter 7. Under Chapter 13, you must complete the payments required under the plan before the discharge is received. However, you are protected from lawsuits, garnishments, and other creditor actions while the plan is in effect.

When filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 personal bankruptcy, you may be able to keep your home, car and other personal belongings.  We always recommend that you hire an attorney to see if Bankruptcy is the right decision and if you qualify for this form of relief.  Call the lawyers at Sherris Legal, P.A. for a free consultation.  

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