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. Since it's a creation of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Iowa will be the same as everywhere else in the country. Particular courts in Dubuque, Iowa will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Dubuque, Iowa
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcy in Dubuque, Iowa: Chapter 7 and 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 absolved. Fortunately for debtors, many forms of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, basic personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once qualified assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be absolved in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, and criminal fines. If most of your debt is non-dischargeable, it may not be a good idea to file for bankruptcy in Dubuque, Iowa.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Dubuque, Iowa
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Dubuque, Iowa is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your individual case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not excuse debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with an altered repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original contracts that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, normally involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Dubuque, Iowa
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 Dubuque, Iowa. 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).