In Irwin, Pennsylvania, bankruptcy is a judicial process in which the debts of a person or business can be eliminated or restructured. This allows the debtor to climb out of a financial hole, and move on with a clean slate, which is sometimes more economically efficient than requiring the debtor to pay off everything they owe. Of course, one should never view bankruptcy as a "get out of debt free" card, allowing someone to be absolved of their obligation to pay their debts just because they don't want to. It is meant to serve as a lifeline, preventing unmanageable debt from resulting in complete financial ruin. Accordingly, it is best treated as an option of last resort, because it can carry with it significant negative consequences, which must be weighed against the possible benefits. For example, filing for bankruptcy can severely damage a person's credit rating.

Therefore, it is prudent to consult with an experienced Irwin, Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney, who can advise you of the costs and benefits of bankruptcy. Because the decision to file for bankruptcy depends very heavily on the facts of each individual case, the advice of a Irwin bankruptcy attorney cannot be substituted.

Types of Bankruptcy in Irwin, Pennsylvania

In Irwin, Pennsylvania, there are 3 types of bankruptcy in common use: Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and Chapter 11. Because bankruptcy is a creation of federal law, the procedures governing bankruptcy in Irwin, Pennsylvania will be similar anywhere else in the U.S. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation of many of the debtor's assets in order to pay off as much of the debt as possible. This sounds harsh, but there is an upside: once the liquidation is complete, the debts are legally viewed as having been paid in full, whether or not the full amount was covered by the liquidation. Liquidation involves selling some personal property, and using the proceeds to pay off debt. Varied types of property are exempt from liqudiation, and therefore may not need to be sold. They include homes, cars, and insurance policies, among others. You should know that some types of debt cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, including taxes, student loans, and child support.

Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Irwin, most of the debtor's debt is not discharged. Instead, the bankruptcy court, working with the debtor and participating creditors, work out a payment plan that allows the debtor to pay off most of his or her debts over a prolonged period of time, thus theoretically making the debt far more manageable. Once a payment plan is approved by the court, creditors are prohibited from attempting to collect payment under their original agreements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. Though accessible to individuals, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is generally used by businesses. Like Chapter 13, Chapter 11 requires the restructuring of debts. Under this system, the debtor must come up with a plan to reduce debt, cut costs, and improve operations. Once this plan is presented, it is submitted to the participating creditors, who must approve it by a majority vote before it can be implemented.

A main advantage of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that businesses can continue their operations while going through the process. Also, they can continue to buy and sell their stock.

How Can a Irwin Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?

One should not make the decision to file for bankruptcy in Irwin lightly. Before making any such decision, it would be highly advisable to contact an accomplished Irwin bankruptcy attorney.