Bankruptcy is a legal procedure allowing a person or business to have their debts excused, in part or in whole. It is typically treated as a last resort, because, while it can prevent financial catastrophe, it has some influential 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. Distinct courts in Kalamazoo County, Michigan will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Kalamazoo County, Michigan

There are 2 typical forms of consumer bankruptcies in Kalamazoo County, 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 typically includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.

Once the appropriate property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is absolved. Some forms of debt, however, can't be excused in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Kalamazoo County, Michigan. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be excused, Chapter 7 may not be the best choice for you.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Kalamazoo County, Michigan

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Kalamazoo County, Michigan is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is very dependent on the facts of each distinct 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 arrangements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an adjusted 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 Kalamazoo County, Michigan

Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your distinct 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.

Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Kalamazoo County, Michigan bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and their likely results, which will help you make a more educated decision.