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 Montana 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 Columbia Falls, Montana bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Columbia Falls, Montana
There are 2 typical forms of bankruptcy in Columbia Falls, Montana. They are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of part of a debtor's assets. It requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property to be sold to pay off as much debt as possible. The majority of property that most people own, however, is exempt. This typically includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once appropriate assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is excused. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be excused 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 Columbia Falls, Montana.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Columbia Falls, Montana
In Columbia Falls, Montana, chapter 13 is extremely different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not discharge debt. Instead, it restructures it. This involves the bankruptcy court coming up with a new payment plan that supersedes the terms of the arrangements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an adjusted payment plan that the debtor should find manageable, if he or she can make a few sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Columbia Falls, Montana
This depends entirely on the facts of your specific case. If you have a decent amount of stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much stable income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an accomplished local Columbia Falls, Montana bankruptcy attorney before you make the decision to file. He or she will be able to advise you of your options, and suggest the best possible course of action for your specific situation.