Bankruptcy in Virginia 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 Virginia 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 Virginia
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Virginia 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 Virginia, 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 normally used by businesses, rather than individuals. Much like Chapter 13, it involves reorganization of debts. It compels the debtor to come up with a reorganization plan, but this plan has to be approved by a majority vote of participating creditors. Once it is approved, the company is obligated to carry it out.
How Can a Virginia Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be extremely difficult, given the potential consequences. A Virginia lawyer specializing in bankruptcy can advise you of the likely consequences you will face if you file, and help you determine if they are outweighed by the potential benefits.
Interesting Facts About Virginia
Virginia became a U.S. state in 1788 and was the 10th state to join the Union. The state of Virginia is formally known as "The Commonwealth of Virginia", and its official nickname is the "Old Dominion". Occasionally, people refer to Virginia as "the Mother of Presidents", as 8 U.S. presidents were born in the state.
As one of the original U.S. colonies, Virginia's legal system is also one of the oldest in the country. For example, Virginia's legislature, the Virginia General Assembly, is the oldest legislature operating in the Western hemisphere. The oldest police force in the U.S., the Virginia Capitol Police, is also located in Virginia. Virginia has a well-developed system of case laws, as well as a body of statutes known as the Code of Virginia.
Legal claims in Virginia are processed in the state judicial system, consisting of the state Supreme Court, the Court of Appeals of Virginia, and the General District and Circuit Courts. Many landmark cases have arisen out of Virginia, such as Loving v. Virginia (1967), an important anti-segregation case. Another frequently cited Virginia case is Atkins v. Virginia (2002), which involved the 8th Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Lawyers in Virginia represent clients in all types of legal claims. Although most of these are processed at the trial court level, Virginia lawyers also file appeals through the state's appeal system. A Virginia attorney can assist you by answering legal questions and providing much-needed representation in court.