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. Being a creation of federal law, bankruptcy will go through federal courts. Accordingly, the process for filing for bankruptcy in Florida is essentially the same as the process anywhere else in the United States. However, particular courts in Palm Beach County, Florida will have distinct rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Palm Beach County, Florida
In Palm Beach County, Florida, there are 2 commonly-used types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of part of a debtor's assets. It requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property to be sold to pay off as much debt as possible. The majority of property that most people own, however, is exempt. This typically includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is excused. Some forms of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Palm Beach County, Florida is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Palm Beach County, Florida
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Palm Beach County, Florida differs considerably from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not discharge debt. Instead, it restructures it. This involves the bankruptcy court coming up with a new payment plan that supersedes the terms of the arrangements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an adjusted payment plan that the debtor should find manageable, if he or she can make a few sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Palm Beach County, Florida
Chapter 13 is typically a good option for people who have a stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property that they can't part with. On the other hand, if most of the debtor's property is exempt, and he or she does not have a stable income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an accomplished local Palm Beach County, Florida bankruptcy attorney before you make the decision to file. He or she will be able to advise you of your options, and suggest the best possible course of action for your specific situation.