Bankruptcy in South Dakota is a legal process through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are absolved (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 procedure. 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 Dakota bankruptcy lawyer 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 particular case.
Types of Bankruptcy in South Dakota
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in South Dakota will be the same as everywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic forms 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 usually used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In South Dakota, 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 excused. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves restructuring, rather than discharging, one's debt. Essentially, 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 usually 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 Dakota Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Filing for bankruptcy is a major decision. While it can be beneficial, it's virtually guaranteed that there will be some negative consequences, such as damage to one's credit. Of course, with the advice of a South Dakota bankruptcy lawyer, it's possible that you will find the benefits to outweigh the costs, but only a bankruptcy lawyer can help you make that decision.
Interesting Facts About South Dakota
South Dakota is the 40th U.S. state and has a population of over 800,000 people. Most of South Dakota is rural in character and has retained much of its agricultural foundation. The region is popular for its national parks and monuments. In particular, the iconic monument Mount Rushmore draws many visitors to South Dakota annually. Over time the state has incorporated other industries in its economy like financing and defense spending.
The judicial branch of South Dakota is composed of the state Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, and Magistrate Courts. Most lawyers in South Dakota assist clients through the Circuit Courts, as the Magistrate Court does not hear jury trials. The Circuit Courts have jurisdiction over both criminal and civil claims, and serve as the general trial courts for the state.
South Dakota has a complex body of case law. An influential South Dakota ruling can be found in South Dakota v. Opperman (1976), which defined the "community caretaking" functions of police forces. Under the Opperman ruling, police authorities must engage in "community caretaking", which includes duties like ensuring the safe flow of traffic. The case also discussed search and seizure provisions.
Lawyers in South Dakota represent clients in order to help them defend their interests and help them obtain legal relief. South Dakota lawyers can assist you with legal questions, represent you in a court of law, and help you with legal documents and many other tasks. Attorneys in South Dakota are well-known for their expertise in many areas.