In Elmwood Park, Illinois, bankruptcy is a court procedure in which a person or business has some or all of their debts cleared (or "discharged"), theoretically allowing them to begin with a clean slate, and move on with their lives no longer drowning in debt (and hopefully having learned to better manage their use of credit in the process). Bankruptcy should be treated as an option of last resort, and should not be viewed as a proper way to get out of debt that you just don't feel like paying. Bankruptcy can have severe consequences, including but not limited to damage to your credit rating. A bad credit score can impact your ability to receive loans in the future, to rent an apartment, and possibly even your ability to get hired at some jobs (as some employers now run credit checks on prospective employees).
For that reason, it would be prudent to speak with a good Elmwood Park, Illinois bankruptcy attorney. This attorney will be able to advise you as to whether or not filing for bankruptcy is a good idea, given your individual situation. This determination is highly dependent on the details of each individual case, so an Elmwood Park attorney's advice is absolutely indispensable.
Types of Bankruptcy in Elmwood Park, Illinois
In Elmwood Park, Illinois, there are three basic bankruptcy schemes that are most often used. They are recognized as Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11. Being a product of federal law, the procedural rules governing bankruptcy in Elmwood Park, Illinois will be very similar to those in any other part of the United States. Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires the debtor to liquidate some of his or her assets in order to pay off as much debt as possible. Once the sale of the assets is complete, and the proceeds handed over to the creditors, the debt is viewed as discharged. Liquidation is basically selling assets to the highest bidder. Not all of the debtor's assets will need to be sold, and many types of property are completely or partially exempt, including homes, cars, retirement accounts, and insurance policies. This means that the debtor can keep them. It should be noted that some types of debts are not dischargeable in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including student loans, criminal fines, taxes, and child support payments. Even when the bankruptcy process is complete, these debts will have to be paid in full.
The other popular bankruptcy system in Elmwood Park is Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Under this system, the debtor's debts are restructured, instead of discharged. This involves creating a new repayment plan that the debtor will find manageable, given his or her income, and that will result in the creditors being paid in a reasonable amount of time. When a repayment plan is approved by a court, creditors are legally barred from attempting to collect under the original terms of their contract with the debtor. Though accessible to individuals, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is generally used by businesses. Like Chapter 13, Chapter 11 requires the restructuring of debts. Under this system, the debtor must come up with a plan to reduce debt, cut costs, and improve operations. Once this plan is presented, it is submitted to the participating creditors, who must approve it by a majority vote before it can be implemented.
One main advantage of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that it allows businesses to continue their operations while the process plays out. Additionally, their stock can still be bought and sold.
How Can a Elmwood Park Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
One should not make the decision to file for bankruptcy in Elmwood Park lightly. Before making any such decision, it would be highly advisable to contact an accomplished Elmwood Park bankruptcy attorney.