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. Since it's a product of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Michigan will be the same as anywhere else in the country. Individual courts in Houghton, Michigan will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Houghton, Michigan
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcies in Houghton, Michigan: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 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 the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is eliminated. Some types of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Houghton, Michigan is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Houghton, Michigan
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Houghton, Michigan differs significantly from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not discharge debt. Instead, it restructures it. This involves the bankruptcy court coming up with a new payment plan that supersedes the terms of the agreements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in a new payment plan that the debtor should find manageable, if he or she can make a few sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Houghton, Michigan
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 Houghton, Michigan 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.