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. Being a product of federal law, bankruptcy will go through federal courts. Accordingly, the procedure for filing for bankruptcy in Massachusetts is basically the same as the procedure anywhere else in the United States. However, individual courts in Barnstable County, Massachusetts will have distinct rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Barnstable County, Massachusetts

There are 2 typical types of consumer bankruptcies in Barnstable County, Massachusetts: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of some 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 types 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 Barnstable County, Massachusetts debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Barnstable County, Massachusetts

In Barnstable County, Massachusetts, 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 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up a modified payment plan, which allows the debtor to pay off most or all of his debts over an extended period of time, through monthly payments that should, assuming that the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, be manageable.

Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Barnstable County, Massachusetts

The answer to this question depends heavily on your distinct situation. If you have enough steady income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 might be a good option. If you don't have much steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.

Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Barnstable County, Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of your options and their likely results, which will help you make a more educated decision.