Alabama Bankruptcy Lawyers
Bankruptcy in Alabama is a legal process through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are absolved (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult procedure. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good Alabama bankruptcy lawyer can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your individual case.
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Types of Bankruptcy in Alabama
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Alabama will be the same as everywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic forms of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy typically used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In Alabama, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as "liquidation." When a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed by the bankruptcy court to do an accounting of the debtor's property. The trustee then determines what pieces of property, if any, should be sold off to pay off the debts. Many forms of property are exempt from forced sale up to a certain dollar amount, including houses, cars, and retirement accounts. Once the property is sold, any remaining dischargeable debt is eliminated. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt is typically not excused; instead, it is reorganized. The court will craft a long-term payment plan that allows the debtor to pay off his or her debts in single payments, over time. This usually gives the debtor some breathing room that would not exist if all of his or her debts became due and payable at once.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy, like Chapter 13, involves reorganization of debt. However, it is almost always used by businesses, and not individuals. After filing for Chapter 11, the debtor has to come up with a repayment plan. The plan must then be approved by a majority vote of participating creditors.
How Can a Alabama Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Filing for bankruptcy can be a life-changing decision. Depending on the circumstances, it can change your life for the better, or worse. A Alabama bankruptcy lawyer can help you figure out if bankruptcy is a viable option for your particular situation.
Alabama, the "Yellowhammer State", is situated in the southeastern portion of the U.S. Like many southern states, Alabama began as a primarily agriculture-centered locale. Today it is home to many businesses, particularly high-tech industries. The presence of several military installations also helps to boost Alabama's work force. Alabama's Unified Judicial System is one of the oldest networks of courts in the country.
The state of Alabama is well-noted for its state Constitution. Ratified in 1901, the Alabama Constitution contains over 300,000 words and nearly 800 amendments. This makes it the lengthiest constitution in the entire world. It is about 40 times the length of the United States Constitution. The Alabama Constitution is unique among state constitutions as it grants a great amount of power to the central government and much less power to local authorities.
Alabama's Unified Judicial System operates the state's courts in accordance with the Alabama Constitution. The judicial system is made up of Municipal and District Courts spread out throughout the state. There are also Circuit Courts, a Court of Appeals (Civil and Criminal), and the Alabama Supreme Court. The mission of the Unified Judicial System is to be "the most successful judiciary in the nation".
Lawyers in Alabama contribute to the state's success by providing legal services in strict accordance with high professional standards. Alabama lawyers are trained to handle a diverse array of legal claims and inquiries. The services of an Alabama lawyer are often necessary when dealing with the state's distinct body of laws.