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 Maryland is essentially the same as the process anywhere else in the United States. However, particular courts in Bowie, Maryland will have individual rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Bowie, Maryland
In Bowie, Maryland, there are 2 commonly-used types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation of some of the debtor's assets. It requires some percentage of the debtor's property to be sold in order to pay off as much of his or her debt as possible. However, the majority of property that most people own is exempt. This usually includes homes, vehicles, insurance policies, and retirement accounts. These do not have to be sold.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is excused. However, some forms of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Bowie, Maryland is not dischargeable, you may want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Bowie, Maryland
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Bowie, Maryland differs significantly from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up an altered payment plan, which allows the debtor to pay off most or all of his debts over a longer 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 Bowie, Maryland
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 Bowie, Maryland. 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).