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. Since it's a product of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in New York will be the same as anywhere else in the country. Individual courts in Niagara County, New York will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Niagara County, New York
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcies in Niagara County, New York: 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 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 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 Niagara County, New York is not dischargeable, you might want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Niagara County, New York
In Niagara County, New York, 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 does not discharge debt, but restructures it instead. Usually, various debts are consolidated into a single monthly payment. This is designed to make the debt more manageable, giving the debtor the chance to pay off the debt over a longer period of time, without all of it coming due at once. This is usually manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Niagara County, New York
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.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an experienced local Niagara County, New York bankruptcy attorney before you make the decision to file. He or she will be able to advise you of your options, and suggest the best possible course of action for your particular situation.