Bankruptcy is a legal process allowing an individual or business to have some or all of their debt discharged. 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. Since it's a creation of federal law, bankruptcy is handled in federal courts. Therefore, the rules and procedures governing it in Texas will be the same as everywhere else in the country. Individual courts in Odessa, Texas will have some unique rules, however, so you should consult with a local lawyer before you file.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Odessa, Texas
There are 2 common types of consumer bankruptcy in Odessa, Texas: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation of some of the debtor's assets. It requires some percentage of the debtor's property to be sold in order to pay off as much of his or her debt as possible. However, the majority of property that most people own is exempt. This usually includes homes, vehicles, insurance policies, and retirement accounts. These do not have to be sold.
Once the eligible property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is excused. Some forms of debt, however, can't be discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Odessa, Texas. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be discharged, Chapter 7 may not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Odessa, Texas
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Odessa, Texas is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your particular case. Chapter 13 does not eliminate 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 Odessa, Texas
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends strongly on the facts of each individual case. If you have a stable 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 stable 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 Odessa, Texas bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and their likely consequences, which will help you make a more educated decision.