Bankruptcy is a legal procedure allowing a person or business to have their debts discharged, in part or in whole. It is usually treated as a last resort, because, while it can prevent financial catastrophe, it has some major long-term consequences. This warrants careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Bankruptcy is governed by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Illinois are often the same as anywhere else in the U.S. However, individual bankruptcy courts have slightly different rules for items such as exemptions, so it would be a good idea to consult with a local Madison, Illinois bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Madison, Illinois

In Madison, Illinois, 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 discharged. Fortunately for debtors, many types of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, essential personal items, and retirement accounts.

Once eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is excused. However, some types of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Madison, Illinois is not dischargeable, you might want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Madison, Illinois

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Madison, Illinois differs significantly from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 does not discharge debt, but restructures it instead. Usually, 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 usually manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.

Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Madison, Illinois

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 Madison, Illinois 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.