Bankruptcy is a legal process allowing an individual or business to have some or all of their debt absolved. It is almost always considered as a last resort because it can have some negative long-term consequences which must be considered, even if you eventually decide that they are outweighed by the benefits. Bankruptcy is controlled by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Ohio are often the identical as everywhere else in the U.S. However, individual bankruptcy courts have slightly different rules for items such as exemptions, so it would be a good idea to consult with a local Westlake, Ohio bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Westlake, Ohio
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcy in Westlake, Ohio: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a liquidation of some of the debtor's assets, which pays off part of his or her debt. Once this is done, the remaining debt is absolved. Fortunately for debtors, many forms of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, basic personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once qualified assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be absolved 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 Westlake, Ohio.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Westlake, Ohio
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Westlake, Ohio is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your individual case. Chapter 13 does not absolve debt, but restructures it instead. Normally, 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 normally manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Westlake, Ohio
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your particular 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.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Westlake, Ohio bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and their likely outcomes, which will help you make a more educated decision.