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 Indiana 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 South Bend, Indiana bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in South Bend, Indiana
There are 2 common forms of bankruptcy in South Bend, Indiana. They are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. 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 the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is excused. Some forms of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in South Bend, Indiana is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in South Bend, Indiana
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in South Bend, Indiana is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is very dependent on the facts of each individual 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 South Bend, Indiana
This depends entirely on the facts of your particular case. If you have a decent amount of stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much stable income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
In any case, you should talk with a local South Bend, Indiana 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.