Bankruptcy in Missouri 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 Missouri 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 individual case.
Types of Bankruptcy in Missouri
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Missouri 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 typically 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 Missouri 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. Chapter 13 bankruptcy typically reorganizes, rather than discharges, one's debts. Basically, the court will come up with some type of repayment plan, independent of the terms of the agreements that created the debt in the first place (superseding any acceleration clauses). This is meant to give the debtor some breathing room, allowing them to repay their debts over time, without facing financial ruin in the process.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is typically used by businesses. It also involves reorganization of debts, similar to chapter 13 bankruptcy. It requires the debtor company to come up with a reorganization plan, which its creditors must vote on for approval. If it is approved, the company will then be legally obliged to carry it out.
How Can a Missouri 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 Missouri bankruptcy attorney can help you figure out if bankruptcy is a viable option for your particular situation.
Interesting Facts About Missouri
Missouri has a population of nearly 6 million and is the 18th most populated state in the U.S. It is commonly called "The Show Me State". Missouri also has a number of other informal nicknames, such as "The Ozark State" and "The Lead State". Former President Harry S. Truman was from Missouri, where he served as a judge in Jackson County for some time.
Missouri's court system is divided into three levels: the Circuit Courts of Missouri; the Missouri Courts of Appeals; and the Supreme Court of Missouri. Most claims begin at the Circuit Court level, with appeals being heard in the Appeals Court. The Supreme Court of Missouri was founded in the year 1841 and is located in Jefferson City. Missouri also maintains a municipal court system that processes minor violations and infractions.
Missouri is known for having one of the more lenient bodies of statutes among the states. Since Missouri is a leading producer of alcohol and tobacco in the U.S., its alcohol and tobacco laws are among the most non-restrictive in the country. Several law schools can be found in Missouri, including the University of Missouri School of Law ("MU Law") and Saint Louis University School of Law.
Lawyers in Missouri assist clients in many different legal fields. Missouri lawyers are knowledgeable of the state's unique set of laws and can provide legal expertise for specific matters. A Missouri lawyer can help you with any legal questions or legal disputes you may be involved in.