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. 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. Distinct courts in Washington, Iowa will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Washington, Iowa
In Washington, Iowa, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 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 excused. Fortunately for debtors, many types of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, necessary personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once appropriate assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is excused. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be excused 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 Washington, Iowa.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Washington, Iowa
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Washington, Iowa differs considerably from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 does not excuse debt, but restructures it instead. Typically, various debts are consolidated into a single monthly payment. This is designed to make the debt more manageable, giving the debtor the chance to pay off the debt over a longer period of time, without all of it coming due at once. This is typically manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Washington, Iowa
The answer to this question depends heavily on your distinct situation. If you have enough steady income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 might be a good option. If you don't have much steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an experienced local Washington, 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 specific situation.