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 ultimately decide that they are outweighed by the benefits. Bankruptcy is governed by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Pennsylvania are often the same as anywhere 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 Berks County, Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Berks County, Pennsylvania

There are 2 main types of bankruptcy in Berks County, Pennsylvania. 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 normally includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.

Once the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is eliminated. Some types of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Berks County, Pennsylvania is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Berks County, Pennsylvania

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Berks County, Pennsylvania differs substantially from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up a modified payment plan, which allows the debtor to pay off most or all of his debts over a prolonged period of time, through monthly payments that should, assuming that the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, be manageable.

Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Berks County, Pennsylvania

Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your particular 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.

Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Berks County, Pennsylvania who is experienced in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely outcomes of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.