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 Ephrata, Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Ephrata, Pennsylvania
There are 2 main types of bankruptcy in Ephrata, Pennsylvania. They are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. 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 types of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, basic personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once all non-exempt assets are sold, and the money from the sales turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. But some types of debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include child support payments, student loans, and criminal fines, among others. If most of your Ephrata, Pennsylvania debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Ephrata, Pennsylvania
In Ephrata, Pennsylvania, Chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your individual 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 contracts that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an altered 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 Ephrata, Pennsylvania
This depends entirely on the facts of your individual 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.
In any case, you should talk with a local Ephrata, 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.