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 proceeds in federal courts. So, the process for filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania will be very similar to the process everywhere else in the U.S. However, individual bankruptcy courts have different rules for exemptions, so it might be a good idea to consult with a local lawyer in Hamburg, Pennsylvania before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Hamburg, Pennsylvania
There are 2 common forms of consumer bankruptcies in Hamburg, Pennsylvania: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 liquidates part 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 forms 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 the qualifying property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is cleared. Some forms of debt, however, can't be absolved in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Hamburg, Pennsylvania. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be absolved, Chapter 7 may not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Hamburg, Pennsylvania
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Hamburg, Pennsylvania 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 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up an altered 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 Hamburg, Pennsylvania
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.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Hamburg, Pennsylvania who is accomplished 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.