Bankruptcy is a legal process allowing an individual or business to have some or all of their debt excused. 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 Reading, Pennsylvania before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Reading, Pennsylvania
In Reading, Pennsylvania, there are 2 commonly-used types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. 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 excused. Fortunately for debtors, many forms of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, necessary personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. However, some forms of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Reading, Pennsylvania is not dischargeable, you may want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Reading, Pennsylvania
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Reading, Pennsylvania is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is very dependent on the facts of each distinct case. Chapter 13 does not absolve any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Typically, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this may make it take longer to pay off the debt, if the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, the plan should be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Reading, Pennsylvania
Chapter 13 is typically a good option for people who have a stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property that they can't part with. On the other hand, if most of the debtor's property is exempt, and he or she does not have a stable income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an accomplished local Reading, 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 specific situation.