Bankruptcy allows an individual or business to get rid of some or all of its debt. Generally, 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 significantly outweigh the costs. Bankruptcy is controlled by federal law and handled in federal courts, so the procedural and substantive rules involved in Virginia are often the identical as everywhere 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 Richmond, Virginia bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Richmond, Virginia
In Richmond, Virginia, there are 2 commonly-used types of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of part 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 usually includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is cleared. Some forms of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Richmond, Virginia is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Richmond, Virginia
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Richmond, Virginia is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is very dependent on the facts of each individual case. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not eliminate debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with a new repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original agreements that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, usually involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Richmond, Virginia
Chapter 13 is usually a good option for people who have a stable 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 stable income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an accomplished local Richmond, Virginia bankruptcy attorney before you make the decision to file. He or she will be able to advise you of your options, and suggest the best possible course of action for your particular situation.