Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is normally considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some considerable 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, Florida will have particular rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Palm Beach, Florida
In Palm Beach, 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 normally 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 cleared. Some forms of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Palm Beach, Florida is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Palm Beach, Florida
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Palm Beach, Florida differs substantially 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 contracts that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an altered 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, Florida
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your particular situation. If you have a stable income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Palm Beach, Florida. 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).