Bankruptcy is a legal procedure allowing a person or business to have their debts absolved, in part or in whole. It is normally treated as a last resort, because, while it can prevent financial catastrophe, it has some huge long-term consequences. This warrants careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Since it's a creation of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Michigan will be the same as everywhere else in the country. Particular courts in Grand Rapids, Michigan will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Grand Rapids, Michigan
There are 2 common forms of consumer bankruptcies in Grand Rapids, Michigan: 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 normally 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 absolved. 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 Grand Rapids, Michigan debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Grand Rapids, Michigan
In Grand Rapids, Michigan, chapter 13 is extremely different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your situation. 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 prolonged 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 Grand Rapids, Michigan
Chapter 13 is normally a good option for people who have a stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property that they can't part with. On the other hand, if most of the debtor's property is exempt, and he or she does not have a stable income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Grand Rapids, Michigan bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and their likely outcomes, which will help you make a more educated decision.