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 Cheltenham, Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania
There are 2 main types of bankruptcy in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania. They are known as 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 basic 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 cleared. 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 Cheltenham, Pennsylvania is not dischargeable, you might want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania
In Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, 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 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 Cheltenham, Pennsylvania
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each particular 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.
In any case, you should talk with a local Cheltenham, Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney can advise you of your options and inform you of their likely outcome. This will make it much easier for your to make an informed choice.