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 Washington 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 Des Moines, Washington bankruptcy attorney beforehand.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Des Moines, Washington

In Des Moines, Washington, there are 2 main types of commonly-used 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 all non-exempt assets are sold, and the money from the sales turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is discharged. But some forms of debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include child support payments, student loans, and criminal fines, among others. If most of your Des Moines, Washington debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Des Moines, Washington

In Des Moines, Washington, chapter 13 is extremely different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your situation. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up a revised payment plan, which allows the debtor to pay off most or all of his debts over a longer period of time, through monthly payments that should, assuming that the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, be manageable.

Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Des Moines, Washington

This depends entirely on the facts of your particular case. If you have a decent amount of stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much stable income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.

Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Des Moines, Washington who is accomplished in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely consequences of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.