Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is usually considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some significant long-term consequences warranting careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Since it's a product of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Iowa will be the same as anywhere else in the country. Individual courts in Spirit Lake, Iowa will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Spirit Lake, Iowa
In Spirit Lake, Iowa, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of some 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 usually includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once the eligible property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is excused. Some types of debt, however, can't be discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Spirit Lake, Iowa. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be discharged, Chapter 7 might not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Spirit Lake, Iowa
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Spirit Lake, Iowa differs significantly 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 agreements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in a new 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 Spirit Lake, Iowa
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your individual situation. If you have a steady income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an experienced local Spirit Lake, Iowa 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 particular situation.