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 Fairfax, Virginia bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Fairfax, Virginia
There are 2 main forms of consumer bankruptcy in Fairfax, 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 all non-exempt assets are sold, and the money from the sales turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. But some types of debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include child support payments, student loans, and criminal fines, among others. If most of your Fairfax, Virginia debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Fairfax, Virginia
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Fairfax, Virginia is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is highly dependent on the facts of each particular case. Chapter 13 does not excuse any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Usually, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this might 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 Fairfax, Virginia
The answer to this question depends heavily on your particular situation. If you have enough steady income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 might be a good option. If you don't have much steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.
Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Fairfax, 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.