Bankruptcy is a legal procedure allowing a person or business to have their debts excused, in part or in whole. It is typically treated as a last resort, because, while it can prevent financial catastrophe, it has some influential long-term consequences. This warrants careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Bankruptcy is controlled by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Illinois are often the identical as everywhere 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 St. Joseph, Illinois bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in St. Joseph, Illinois
In St. Joseph, Illinois, there are 2 typical types of commonly-used consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of part 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 typically 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 excused. But some forms 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 St. Joseph, Illinois debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in St. Joseph, Illinois
In St. Joseph, Illinois, Chapter 13 is substantially different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your specific situation. Chapter 13 does not absolve any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Typically, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this may 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 St. Joseph, Illinois
The answer to this question depends strongly on your distinct situation. If you have enough stable income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 may be a good option. If you don't have much stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in St. Joseph, Illinois. Your lawyer can make an educated judgment as to what your best option is, and advise you accordingly (of course, the choice to file for bankruptcy is ultimately yours).