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 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 St Louis County, Missouri bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in St Louis County, Missouri
There are 2 common types of consumer bankruptcy in St Louis County, Missouri: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 states that a certain percentage of the debtor's property be liquidated to pay off at least a small part of their debt. However, many forms of property are exempt, and do not need to be liquidated, such as cars, homes, insurance policies, and retirement accounts.
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 St Louis County, Missouri is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in St Louis County, Missouri
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in St Louis County, 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 discharge debt, but restructures it instead. Usually, various debts are consolidated into a single monthly payment. This is designed to make the debt more manageable, giving the debtor the chance to pay off the debt over a longer period of time, without all of it coming due at once. This is usually manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in St Louis County, Missouri
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends strongly on the facts of each individual case. If you have a stable 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 stable income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local St Louis County, Missouri bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and their likely consequences, which will help you make a more educated decision.