Bankruptcy is a court proceeding which lets a person or business have some or all of their debts absolved. It should normally 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, Missouri bankruptcy attorney beforehand.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in St. Louis, Missouri

There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcy in St. Louis, 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 cleared. Some forms of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in St. Louis, Missouri is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in St. Louis, Missouri

Chapter 13 bankruptcy in St. Louis, Missouri is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your individual case. Chapter 13 does not absolve debt, but restructures it instead. Normally, 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 normally manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.

Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in St. Louis, Missouri

Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your particular 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.

Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in St. Louis, Missouri who is accomplished in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely outcomes of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.