Bankruptcy is a legal process allowing an individual or business to have some or all of their debt discharged. 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 proceeds in federal courts. So, the procedure for filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania will be very similar to the procedure anywhere 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 attorney in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcies in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property be liquidated to pay off at least a small part of their debt. However, many types of property are exempt, and do not need to be liquidated, such as cars, homes, insurance policies, 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 discharged. 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 Luzerne County, Pennsylvania debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Luzerne County, Pennsylvania is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is highly dependent on the facts of each individual case. 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 agreements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in a new 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 Luzerne County, Pennsylvania
This depends entirely on the facts of your particular 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.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an experienced local Luzerne County, Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney before you make the decision to file. He or she will be able to advise you of your options, and suggest the best possible course of action for your particular situation.