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 creation of federal law, bankruptcy will go through federal courts. Accordingly, the process for filing for bankruptcy in Massachusetts is essentially the same as the process anywhere else in the United States. However, particular courts in Boston, Massachusetts will have individual rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Boston, Massachusetts
There are 2 main forms of consumer bankruptcies in Boston, Massachusetts: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 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 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 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 Boston, Massachusetts debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Boston, Massachusetts
In Boston, Massachusetts, 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 discharge debt. Instead, it restructures it. This involves the bankruptcy court coming up with a new payment plan that supersedes the terms of the agreements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in a new payment plan that the debtor should find manageable, if he or she can make a few sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Boston, Massachusetts
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your individual situation. If you have a stable income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Boston, Massachusetts. 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).