Bankruptcy allows an individual or business to get rid of some or all of its debt. Usually, 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 considerably 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 Fife, Washington bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Fife, Washington
In Fife, Washington, there are 2 typical forms of commonly-used consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of some 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 typically 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 excused. But some types 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 Fife, Washington debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Fife, Washington
In Fife, Washington, Chapter 13 is substantially different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your specific situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not discharge debt. Instead, it restructures it. This involves the bankruptcy court coming up with a new payment plan that supersedes the terms of the arrangements that gave rise to the debt in the first place. This results in an adjusted payment plan that the debtor should find manageable, if he or she can make a few sacrifices.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Fife, Washington
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each distinct 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.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy attorney in Fife, Washington. 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).