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 Westfield, New Jersey will have individual rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Westfield, New Jersey
There are 2 main forms of consumer bankruptcies in Westfield, New Jersey: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 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 all non-exempt assets are sold, and the money from the sales turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is discharged. But some forms of debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include child support payments, student loans, and criminal fines, among others. If most of your Westfield, New Jersey debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Westfield, New Jersey
In Westfield, New Jersey, 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 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 Westfield, New Jersey
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends strongly on the facts of each individual case. If you have a stable stream of income (enough to make a payment plan manageable), and a large amount of non-exempt property that you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be best for you. If you don't have a stable income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Westfield, New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and their likely consequences, which will help you make a more educated decision.