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. Being a creation of federal law, bankruptcy will go through federal courts. Accordingly, the process for filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey is essentially the same as the process anywhere else in the United States. However, particular courts in Madison, New Jersey will have individual rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Madison, New Jersey
There are 2 main forms of consumer bankruptcies in Madison, New Jersey: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 liquidates part 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 forms 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 essential 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 excused. However, some forms of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Madison, New Jersey is not dischargeable, you may want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Madison, New Jersey
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Madison, New Jersey is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is very dependent on the facts of each individual case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not eliminate debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with a new repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original agreements that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, usually involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Madison, New Jersey
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your individual 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.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Madison, New Jersey. Your lawyer 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).