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 Ephrata, Washington bankruptcy attorney beforehand.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Ephrata, Washington

In Ephrata, 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 Ephrata, Washington debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Ephrata, Washington

In Ephrata, Washington, Chapter 13 is quite different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your particular situation. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up an altered 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 Ephrata, Washington

The answer to this question depends strongly on your individual situation. If you have enough stable income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 may be a good option. If you don't have much stable income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.

Whatever your situation, you should speak with a local Ephrata, Washington bankruptcy lawyer. Your attorney will be able to advise you of your options and their likely consequences, which will help you make a more educated decision.