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Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a liquidation proceeding. The Debtor turns over all non-exempt property to the bankruptcy trustee, who then converts it to cash for distribution to the creditors.
How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you provide the court a list of all of your debts and a list of everything you own. You also answer questions about your past financial dealings. You can claim as exempt the property you are allowed by law. This property you may keep. The trustee has the right to liquidate any property that cannot be claimed as exempt and then apply the cash to your debts.
The only restriction on keeping exempt property is that you still must pay purchase-money liens, the liens placed on property you buy. For example, if you plan to keep your car or house, you are still required to make the regular contractual payments to the creditor.
The Most Common Reasons for Consumer Bankruptcy
- Large medical expenses
- Seriously over extended credit
- Marital problems
- Large unexpected expenses
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
A chapter 13 bankruptcy gives you the chance to reduce the amount you pay on debts, allowing you to keep your property you otherwise might not be able to afford to keep, and it protects you from your creditors. Debtors facing home foreclosure or interest accruing on back tax debt would benefit from filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
A Debtor must meet certain qualifications in order to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You must have stable and regular income. Your income must be high enough so that after you pay for your basic human needs, you are likely to have money left over to make periodic (usually monthly) payments to the bankruptcy court for three to five years. In addition, your debts must not be too high. There are limitations on how much secured as well as unsecured debt you are allowed to claim on a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
What is a Bankruptcy Discharge and How Does It Work?
One of the reasons people file bankruptcy is to get a "discharge” of their debt. A discharge is a Court order, which states you are no longer obligated to pay the discharged debt back. Some debts cannot be discharged. For example, you cannot discharge debts for:
- Most taxes
- Child support
- Most Student loans
- Court fines and criminal restitutions; and
- Personal injury caused by driving drunk or under the influence of drugs.
The Judge can also deny your discharge if something dishonest has been done in connection with your bankruptcy case, such as destroying or hiding property, falsifying records, lying or ignoring a Court Order.
If you’re looking for a bankruptcy lawyer to fight for you, contact us today.
NOTE: The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for individual advice regarding your own situation.
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