Bankruptcy in Vermont is a legal procedure through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are discharged (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult process. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good Vermont bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your distinct case.
Types of Bankruptcy in Vermont
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Vermont will be the same as anywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic types of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy normally used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In Vermont, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as "liquidation." The court will conduct an accounting of all of the debtor's assets, and determine which ones should be sold to help pay off the debts. Many classes of property, such as homes and cars, are exempt from this requirement, and therefore don't have to be sold. Once all of the eligible property is sold off, and the proceeds given to the creditors, the rest of the debt is discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves restructuring, rather than discharging, one's debt. Basically, the court structures a debt repayment plan meant to allow the debtor to pay off his or her debt in manageable installments, while allowing the debtors to eventually collect at least some of what is owed to them.
Typically, it is businesses as opposed to individuals that avail themselves of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Similar to Chapter 13, it entails reorganization of debt, rather than discharge. The debtor has to come up with a plan to reorganize its debts, and this plan must then be approved by a vote of the participating creditors. Once the plan is approved, the debtor has to carry it out.
How Can a Vermont Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Because bankruptcy is a huge financial and life decision, it is not one to be made without as much information as possible. A Vermont bankruptcy lawyer can help give you this information, and advise you as to whether or not bankruptcy is a prudent course of action, given your specific situation.
Interesting Facts About Vermont
The state of Vermont is known as one of the more historic places in the U.S. As the 14th state to join the Union, Vermont was the first state apart from the 13 original colonies. Vermont rich in natural resources and its economy is supported by industries like manufactured goods and tourism.
One of Vermont's most important laws is the Land Use and Development Law of 1970 ("Act 250"). Act 250 creates nine separate environmental commissions whose task is to review any land development projects that might impact the natural environment. This law was the first of its kind in the U.S. and has helped to preserve much of Vermont's natural scenery.
In addition to its environmental laws, Vermont also has some very unique laws in the areas of alcohol control, trespass, gun control, and other fields. For example, in Vermont, a person has the right to walk, fish, or hunt on any unposted/unfenced land (trespass is not automatically assumed). Also, concealed and open carry of firearms is allowed for persons without a license, so long as they are over 16 years old. Vermont was also the first state to legalize same-sex marriage through the passage of legislation rather than through the courts.
Lawyers in Vermont have much experience in dealing with the state's distinct body of laws. A Vermont lawyer can provide valuable assistance when it comes to drafting documents, providing legal advice, and other tasks. Attorneys in Vermont also represent clients through the state's multi-tiered court system.