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 Maryland is basically the same as the procedure anywhere else in the United States. However, individual courts in Montgomery County, Maryland will have individual rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Montgomery County, Maryland
In Montgomery County, Maryland, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. 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 eligible assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is discharged. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, and criminal fines. If most of your debt is non-dischargeable, it may not be a good idea to file for bankruptcy in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Montgomery County, Maryland
In Montgomery County, Maryland, 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 Montgomery County, Maryland
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each individual case. If you have a steady stream of income (enough to make a payment plan manageable), and a large amount of non-exempt property that you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be best for you. If you don't have a steady income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Montgomery County, Maryland bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of your options and their likely consequences, which will help you make a more educated decision.