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 Wakefield, Massachusetts will have individual rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Wakefield, Massachusetts
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcies in Wakefield, Massachusetts: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property be liquidated to pay off at least a small part of their debt. However, many types of property are exempt, and do not need to be liquidated, such as cars, homes, insurance policies, and retirement accounts.
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 Wakefield, Massachusetts debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Wakefield, Massachusetts
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Wakefield, Massachusetts is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is highly 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 Wakefield, Massachusetts
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your individual situation. If you have a steady income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Wakefield, Massachusetts who is experienced in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely consequences of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.