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 Montana 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 Kalispell, Montana bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Kalispell, Montana
There are 2 common types of bankruptcy in Kalispell, Montana. They are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of some 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 usually includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is eliminated. Some types of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Kalispell, Montana is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Kalispell, Montana
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Kalispell, Montana is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is highly dependent on the facts of each individual case. 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 agreements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in a new 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 Kalispell, Montana
This depends entirely on the facts of your particular case. If you have a decent amount of steady income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 might be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much steady income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy attorney in Kalispell, Montana. 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).