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 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. Being a product of federal law, bankruptcy will go through federal courts. Accordingly, the procedure for filing for bankruptcy in New York is basically the same as the procedure anywhere else in the United States. However, individual courts in Erie County, New York will have distinct rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Erie County, New York
There are 2 typical types of bankruptcy in Erie County, New York. 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 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 Erie County, New York.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Erie County, New York
In Erie County, New York, Chapter 13 is substantially different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your specific situation. Chapter 13 does not absolve any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Usually, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this might make it take longer to pay off the debt, if the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, the plan should be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Erie County, New York
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each distinct case. If you have a steady 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 steady income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Erie County, New York who is experienced in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely results of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.