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. Since it's a product of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Texas will be the same as anywhere else in the country. Distinct courts in Jefferson County, Texas will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jefferson County, Texas
There are 2 typical types of consumer bankruptcies in Jefferson County, Texas: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 liquidates some of the debtor's assets. It requires a certain percentage of the debtor's assets to be sold off to pay as much of his or her debt as possible. However, many types of property that most people own are exempt, meaning that they don't need to be sold. This often includes houses, vehicles, insurance policies, and necessary personal items, like clothing. These assets are not available to creditors.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. However, some types of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Jefferson County, Texas is not dischargeable, you might want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Jefferson County, Texas
In Jefferson County, Texas, Chapter 13 is substantially different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your specific situation. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up a modified payment plan, which allows the debtor to pay off most or all of his debts over an extended period of time, through monthly payments that should, assuming that the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Jefferson County, Texas
This depends entirely on the facts of your specific 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.
In any case, you should talk with a local Jefferson County, Texas bankruptcy attorney. Your attorney can advise you of your options and inform you of their likely result. This will make it much easier for your to make an informed choice.