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 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 Shenandoah, Pennsylvania before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
In Shenandoah, Pennsylvania, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. 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 appropriate assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is excused. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be excused in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, and criminal fines. If most of your debt is non-dischargeable, it may not be a good idea to file for bankruptcy in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Shenandoah, Pennsylvania differs considerably from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. Chapter 13 does not absolve any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Usually, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this might 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 Shenandoah, Pennsylvania
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each distinct case. If you have a steady stream of income (enough to make a payment plan manageable), and a large amount of non-exempt property that you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be best for you. If you don't have a steady income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Shenandoah, Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of your options and their likely results, which will help you make a more educated decision.