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 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 Whitefish, Montana bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Whitefish, Montana

There are 2 main types of bankruptcy in Whitefish, Montana. They are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Chapter 7 liquidates some of the debtor's assets. It requires a certain percentage of the debtor's assets to be sold off to pay as much of his or her debt as possible. However, many types of property that most people own are exempt, meaning that they don't need to be sold. This often includes houses, vehicles, insurance policies, and basic personal items, like clothing. These assets are not available to creditors.

Once eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is cleared. However, some types of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Whitefish, Montana is not dischargeable, you might want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Whitefish, Montana

In Whitefish, Montana, chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not excuse debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with an altered repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original contracts that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, normally involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.

Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Whitefish, Montana

The answer to this question depends heavily on your particular situation. If you have enough steady income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 might be a good option. If you don't have much steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.

In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy attorney in Whitefish, 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).