Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is typically considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some substantial long-term consequences warranting careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Bankruptcy is controlled by federal law, and proceeds in federal courts. So, the process for filing for bankruptcy in Alabama will be very similar to the process everywhere else in the U.S. However, individual bankruptcy courts have different rules for exemptions, so it might be a good idea to consult with a local lawyer in Bay Minette, Alabama before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Bay Minette, Alabama
In Bay Minette, Alabama, there are 2 commonly-used types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a liquidation of some of the debtor's assets, which pays off part of his or her debt. Once this is done, the remaining debt is excused. Fortunately for debtors, many forms of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, necessary personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. However, some forms of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Bay Minette, Alabama is not dischargeable, you may want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Bay Minette, Alabama
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Bay Minette, Alabama differs considerably from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 does not absolve any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Typically, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this may make it take longer to pay off the debt, if the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, the plan should be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Bay Minette, Alabama
The answer to this question depends strongly on your distinct situation. If you have enough stable income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 may be a good option. If you don't have much stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Bay Minette, Alabama. Your lawyer can make an educated judgment as to what your best option is, and advise you accordingly (of course, the choice to file for bankruptcy is ultimately yours).