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 Washington 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 Bainbridge Island, Washington bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Bainbridge Island, Washington
In Bainbridge Island, Washington, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property be liquidated to pay off at least a small part of their debt. However, many types of property are exempt, and do not need to be liquidated, such as cars, homes, insurance policies, and retirement accounts.
Once the non-exempt property is sold, the rest of the dischargeable debt is absolved. Some types of debt, however, is non-dischargeable, including student loans, criminal fines, and others. If most of your debt in Bainbridge Island, Washington is not dischargeable, Chapter 7 may not be the best option.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Bainbridge Island, Washington
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Bainbridge Island, Washington 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 absolve debt, but restructures it instead. Normally, various debts are consolidated into a single monthly payment. This is designed to make the debt more manageable, giving the debtor the chance to pay off the debt over a longer period of time, without all of it coming due at once. This is normally manageable, as long as the debtor can make some sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Bainbridge Island, Washington
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each particular case. If you have a steady stream of income (enough to make a payment plan manageable), and a large amount of non-exempt property that you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be best for you. If you don't have a steady income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Bainbridge Island, Washington who is experienced in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely outcomes of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.