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 Petersburg, Virginia bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Petersburg, Virginia

In Petersburg, Virginia, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of some of a debtor's assets. It requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property to be sold to pay off as much debt as possible. The majority of property that most people own, however, is exempt. This normally includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.

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 Petersburg, Virginia.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Petersburg, Virginia

In Petersburg, Virginia, chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your 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 Petersburg, Virginia

Chapter 13 is normally a good option for people who have a steady income, and a large amount of non-exempt property that they can't part with. On the other hand, if most of the debtor's property is exempt, and he or she does not have a steady income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.

Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Petersburg, 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.