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 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 Washington, Illinois bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Washington, Illinois
In Washington, Illinois, there are 2 main types of commonly-used consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 liquidates part of the debtor's assets. It requires a certain percentage of the debtor's assets to be sold off to pay as much of his or her debt as possible. However, many forms of property that most people own are exempt, meaning that they don't need to be sold. This often includes houses, vehicles, insurance policies, and essential personal items, like clothing. These assets are not available to creditors.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is discharged. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be discharged 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, Illinois.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Washington, Illinois
In Washington, Illinois, Chapter 13 is quite different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your particular situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not eliminate debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with a new repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original agreements that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, usually involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Washington, Illinois
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends strongly on the facts of each individual case. If you have a stable stream of income (enough to make a payment plan manageable), and a large amount of non-exempt property that you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be best for you. If you don't have a stable income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
In any case, you should talk with a local Washington, Illinois bankruptcy lawyer. Your lawyer can advise you of your options and inform you of their likely consequences. This will make it much easier for your to make an informed choice.