Bankruptcy is a court proceeding which lets a person or business have some or all of their debts excused. It should typically only be considered as an option of last resort, because it can have significant long-term consequences, even if it can stave off financial disaster. This means that the costs and benefits need to be carefully considered before filing. Bankruptcy is controlled by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Missouri are often the identical as everywhere else in the U.S. However, individual bankruptcy courts have slightly different rules for items such as exemptions, so it would be a good idea to consult with a local Gladstone, Missouri bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Gladstone, Missouri
There are 2 typical types of consumer bankruptcy in Gladstone, Missouri: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 liquidates part of the debtor's assets. It requires a certain percentage of the debtor's assets to be sold off to pay as much of his or her debt as possible. However, many forms of property that most people own are exempt, meaning that they don't need to be sold. This often includes houses, vehicles, insurance policies, and necessary personal items, like clothing. These assets are not available to creditors.
Once the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is excused. Some forms of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Gladstone, Missouri is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Gladstone, Missouri
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Gladstone, Missouri is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your specific case. 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 an extended 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 Gladstone, Missouri
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.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Gladstone, Missouri. 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).