Bankruptcy in South Carolina is a legal procedure through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are discharged (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult process. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good South Carolina bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your individual case.
Types of Bankruptcy in South Carolina
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in South Carolina will be the same as anywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic types of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy typically used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In South Carolina, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as "liquidation." The court will conduct an accounting of all of the debtor's assets, and determine which ones should be sold to help pay off the debts. Many classes of property, such as homes and cars, are exempt from this requirement, and therefore don't have to be sold. Once all of the eligible property is sold off, and the proceeds given to the creditors, the rest of the debt is discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves restructuring, rather than discharging, one's debt. Basically, the court structures a debt repayment plan meant to allow the debtor to pay off his or her debt in manageable installments, while allowing the debtors to eventually collect at least some of what is owed to them.
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is typically used by businesses. It also involves reorganization of debts, similar to chapter 13 bankruptcy. It requires the debtor company to come up with a reorganization plan, which its creditors must vote on for approval. If it is approved, the company will then be legally obliged to carry it out.
How Can a South Carolina Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Filing for bankruptcy is a very big decision, frought with risks. However, in some cases, the benefits might outweigh the costs. Because of this, it is important to seek the advice of a South Carolina bankruptcy attorney, who can advise you of the likely consequences of filing, and whether or not doing so is likely to benefit you.
Interesting Facts About South Carolina
South Carolina is located in the "deep south" of the U.S. and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the east. One of the 13 original colonies, it was the first to separate from the Union and served as the founding state for the Confederate States. Today South Carolina is an important hub of social and economic activity. "Carolina" comes from the Latin word "Carolus", meaning Charles, a reference to a British king.
The capital of South Carolina is Columbia. The capitol building is called "The State House" and is where the legislature creates state laws. The University of South Carolina School of Law is also located in Columbia. South Carolina is noted for its extensive legal history, particularly in the area of alcohol laws. For example, South Carolina is the first U.S. state requiring mandatory videotaping by a police officer administering a breathalyzer test or making a DUI arrest.
South Carolina's judicial branch consists of the Circuit Court level, the intermediate level Court of Appeals, and the state Supreme Court. There are also minor courts below the Circuit Court level. Most trials are processed at the Circuit Court level. South Carolina's Circuit Court system is somewhat unique in that they have limited powers to hear some appeals.
Many lawyers in South Carolina are members of local bar associations in addition to the South Carolina Bar. The South Carolina Bar has over 13,500 members. South Carolina lawyers provide assistance in all types of legal claims and disputes.