Bankruptcy is a court proceeding which lets a person or business have some or all of their debts discharged. It should usually only be considered as an option of last resort, because it can have serious 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 governed by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Missouri are often the same as anywhere 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 Kansas City, Missouri bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Kansas City, Missouri
There are 2 common forms of consumer bankruptcy in Kansas City, Missouri: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a liquidation of some of the debtor's assets, which pays off part of his or her debt. Once this is done, the remaining debt is discharged. Fortunately for debtors, many types of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, essential personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is discharged. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, and criminal fines. If most of your debt is non-dischargeable, it may not be a good idea to file for bankruptcy in Kansas City, Missouri.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Kansas City, Missouri
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Kansas City, Missouri is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your particular case. Chapter 13 does not eliminate any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Usually, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this might make it take longer to pay off the debt, if the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, the plan should be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Kansas City, Missouri
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.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy attorney in Kansas City, Missouri. Your attorney 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).