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. 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, Massachusetts will have individual rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Barnstable, Massachusetts
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcies in Barnstable, 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 usually 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 discharged. 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, Massachusetts debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Barnstable, Massachusetts
In Barnstable, Massachusetts, chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your situation. 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 Barnstable, Massachusetts
This depends entirely on the facts of your particular case. If you have a decent amount of steady income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 might be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much steady income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
In any case, you should talk with a local Barnstable, Massachusetts bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney 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.