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. 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. Distinct courts in Westchester County, New York will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Westchester County, New York
There are 2 typical forms of consumer bankruptcy in Westchester County, New York: Chapter 7 and 13. 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 necessary personal items, like clothing. These assets 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 Westchester County, New York.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Westchester County, New York
In Westchester 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 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 arrangements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an adjusted 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 Westchester County, New York
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your distinct situation. If you have a steady income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an experienced local Westchester 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 specific situation.