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 Vermont 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 Burlington, Vermont bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Burlington, Vermont
In Burlington, Vermont, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 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 eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is cleared. However, some types of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Burlington, Vermont is not dischargeable, you might want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Burlington, Vermont
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Burlington, Vermont differs substantially from Chapter 7. It might be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your 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 Burlington, Vermont
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.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy attorney in Burlington, Vermont. Your attorney 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).