Bankruptcy allows an individual or business to get rid of some or all of its debt. Typically, bankruptcy should only be considered when the debt is completely unmanageable, impossible to pay off, and there are no other options. However, in some cases, the benefits of bankruptcy can substantially outweigh the costs. Bankruptcy is governed by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Virginia are often the same as anywhere else in the U.S. However, individual bankruptcy courts have slightly different rules for items such as exemptions, so it would be a good idea to consult with a local Dumfries, Virginia bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Dumfries, Virginia
There are 2 main forms of consumer bankruptcy in Dumfries, Virginia: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves a liquidation of some of the debtor's assets, which pays off part of his or her debt. Once this is done, the remaining debt is absolved. Fortunately for debtors, many types of property are exempt from liquidation, including homes, vehicles, basic personal items, and retirement accounts.
Once qualified assets are sold, and the money turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. However, there are certain types of debt that cannot be absolved in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, and criminal fines. If most of your debt is non-dischargeable, it may not be a good idea to file for bankruptcy in Dumfries, Virginia.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Dumfries, Virginia
In Dumfries, Virginia, Chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your individual situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not discharge debt. Instead, it restructures it. This involves the bankruptcy court coming up with a new payment plan that supersedes the terms of the contracts that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an altered payment plan that the debtor should find manageable, if he or she can make a few sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Dumfries, Virginia
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each particular case. If you have a steady 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 steady 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 Dumfries, Virginia bankruptcy attorney. Your lawyer will be able to advise you of your options and their likely outcomes, which will help you make a more educated decision.