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 Renton, Washington bankruptcy lawyer beforehand.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Renton, Washington
In Renton, Washington, there are 2 typical forms of commonly-used consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 liquidates some of the debtor's assets. It requires a certain percentage of the debtor's assets to be sold off to pay as much of his or her debt as possible. However, many types of property that most people own are exempt, meaning that they don't need to be sold. This often includes houses, vehicles, insurance policies, and necessary personal items, like clothing. These assets 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 Renton, 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 Renton, Washington
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Renton, Washington is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is highly dependent on the facts of each distinct case. 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 Renton, Washington
Whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the right choice for you depends heavily on your distinct situation. If you have a steady income stream, and a lot of non-exempt property, Chapter 13 might be right for you. If you don't have a steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be a better way to go.
Of course, you should always seek the counsel of an experienced local Renton, Washington bankruptcy attorney before you make the decision to file. He or she will be able to advise you of your options, and suggest the best possible course of action for your specific situation.