Maine Bankruptcy Lawyers
Bankruptcy in Maine is a legal procedure through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are discharged (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult process. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good Maine bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your distinct case.
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Types of Bankruptcy in Maine
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Maine will be the same as anywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic types of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy normally used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Maine is sometimes called "liquidation" because it involves the forced sale of some (though certainly not all) of the debtor's assets. The bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee to oversee the appraisal and sale of some of the debtor's property, and the proceeds from the sale will go to the creditors, in their order of priority. Certain types of property are exempt, and do not need to be sold, including houses and insurance policies. Once the property is sold, and the proceeds given to the creditors, the rest of the debt is discharged. When Chapter 13 bankrutpcy is filed, the debt is reorganized instead of discharged. Essentially, the court, the debtor, and the creditors will work out a repayment plan that the debtor can manage, and will result in most of the debt being paid off, hopefully in a reasonable period of time.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy, like Chapter 13, involves reorganization of debt. However, it is almost exclusively used by businesses, and not individuals. After filing for Chapter 11, the debtor has to come up with a repayment plan. The plan must then be approved by a majority vote of participating creditors.
How Can a Maine Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Filing for bankruptcy can be a life-changing decision. Depending on the circumstances, it can change your life for the better, or worse. A Maine bankruptcy attorney can help you figure out if bankruptcy is a viable option for your specific situation.
Maine is situated on the eastern coast of the U.S., and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean. As a coastal state, Maine's laws, economy and culture are heavily influenced by coastal and maritime aspects. Maine was contained within Massachusetts before it became a separate state.
Maine's legal system is organized according to the Maine Constitution. It consists of the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, the Maine Superior Court, and the District Courts. The Supreme Court is among a handful of state Supreme Courts that are authorized to issue advisory opinions. These provide information and clarification on specific issues, as requested by the legislature or by the governor. The Maine Supreme Judicial Court is somewhat atypical because it is located in Portland and not in the capital city of Augusta.
Maine is an "alcohol beverage control state" (ABC state). This means that the state of Maine exercises strict control over the retailing and wholesaling of alcoholic beverages. However, Maine is not an alcohol monopoly state, since the state does not directly run liquor establishments. Instead, the state contracts with private businesses and takes a commission on sales of alcoholic beverages in the state.
Lawyers in Maine are knowledgeable of the particular details that shape the state's laws. An experienced attorney in Maine can provide advice on legal questions and can help clients obtain legal relief. Maine lawyers are licensed by the state bar and practice law according to state standards.