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 creation of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Minnesota will be the same as everywhere else in the country. Individual courts in Columbus, Minnesota will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Columbus, Minnesota
In Columbus, Minnesota, there are 2 commonly-used types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation of some of the debtor's assets. It requires some percentage of the debtor's property to be sold in order to pay off as much of his or her debt as possible. However, the majority of property that most people own is exempt. This usually includes homes, vehicles, insurance policies, and retirement accounts. These do not have to be sold.
Once the eligible property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is excused. Some forms of debt, however, can't be discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Columbus, Minnesota. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be discharged, Chapter 7 may not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Columbus, Minnesota
In Columbus, Minnesota, 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 does not eliminate debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with a new repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original agreements that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, usually involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Columbus, Minnesota
The answer to this question depends strongly on your individual situation. If you have enough stable income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 may be a good option. If you don't have much stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Columbus, Minnesota. Your lawyer can make an educated judgment as to what your best option is, and advise you accordingly (of course, the choice to file for bankruptcy is ultimately yours).