Bankruptcy allows an individual or business to get rid of some or all of its debt. Usually, 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 considerably 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 Suffolk, Virginia bankruptcy attorney beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Suffolk, Virginia
In Suffolk, 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 typically includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once the appropriate property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is absolved. Some forms of debt, however, can't be excused in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Suffolk, Virginia. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be excused, Chapter 7 may not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Suffolk, Virginia
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Suffolk, Virginia differs considerably from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your case. 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 arrangements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an adjusted 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 Suffolk, Virginia
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your distinct situation. If you have a stable income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Suffolk, Virginia. Your lawyer can make an educated judgment as to what your best option is, and advise you accordingly (of course, the choice to file for bankruptcy is ultimately yours).