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 Lakewood, Washington bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Lakewood, Washington
In Lakewood, 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 the appropriate property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is absolved. Some types of debt, however, can't be excused in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Lakewood, Washington. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be excused, Chapter 7 might not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Lakewood, Washington
In Lakewood, Washington, chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not absolve debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with an adjusted repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original arrangements that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, typically involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Lakewood, Washington
Chapter 13 is typically a good option for people who have a steady income, and a large amount of non-exempt property that they can't part with. On the other hand, if most of the debtor's property is exempt, and he or she does not have a steady income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Lakewood, Washington who is experienced in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely results of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.