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 product of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Illinois will be the same as anywhere else in the country. Particular courts in Berkeley, Illinois will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Berkeley, Illinois
In Berkeley, Illinois, there are 2 common forms of commonly-used 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 normally includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once all non-exempt assets are sold, and the money from the sales turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. But some types of debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include child support payments, student loans, and criminal fines, among others. If most of your Berkeley, Illinois debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Berkeley, Illinois
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Berkeley, Illinois is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is highly dependent on the facts of each particular case. Chapter 13 does not excuse any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Usually, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this might make it take longer to pay off the debt, if the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, the plan should be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Berkeley, Illinois
The answer to this question depends heavily on your particular 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.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Berkeley, Illinois bankruptcy Attorney. Your Lawyer will be able to advise you of your options and their likely outcomes, which will help you make a more educated decision.