Bankruptcy in Wisconsin is a legal procedure through which some of the debts of an individual or a business are discharged (excused). You should not view bankruptcy as an opportunity to eliminate your debts just because you don't feel like paying them - it can be a long and difficult process. Bankruptcy is designed to be a last resort to prevent complete financial ruin, while allowing creditors to collect at least some of their debts in an orderly fashion. Filing for bankruptcy can have major negative effects on one's credit score, which will make it more difficult to get loans in the future.
Accordingly, if you are considering bankruptcy as an option, you need to thoroughly examine the costs and benefits. A good Wisconsin bankruptcy attorney can advise you as to the pros and cons of bankruptcy, and give his or her expert opinion about whether or not bankruptcy is a good option, based on the facts of your particular case.
Types of Bankruptcy in Wisconsin
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, so the procedures in filing for bankruptcy in Wisconsin will be the same as anywhere else in the United States. There are 2 basic types of bankruptcy that consumers typically use: Chapter 7, and Chapter 13, owing their names to where they are found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Additionally, there is a form of bankruptcy usually used by businesses called Chapter 11. Chapter 11 is available to individuals, but it is rarely the best option for them.
In Wisconsin, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as "liquidation." The court will conduct an accounting of all of the debtor's assets, and determine which ones should be sold to help pay off the debts. Many classes of property, such as homes and cars, are exempt from this requirement, and therefore don't have to be sold. Once all of the eligible property is sold off, and the proceeds given to the creditors, the rest of the debt is discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves restructuring, rather than discharging, one's debt. Basically, the court structures a debt repayment plan meant to allow the debtor to pay off his or her debt in manageable installments, while allowing the debtors to eventually collect at least some of what is owed to them.
Normally, it is businesses as opposed to individuals that avail themselves of Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Similar to Chapter 13, it entails reorganization of debt, rather than discharge. The debtor has to come up with a plan to reorganize its debts, and this plan must then be approved by a vote of the participating creditors. Once the plan is approved, the debtor has to carry it out.
How Can a Wisconsin Bankruptcy Lawyer Help?
Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be very difficult, given the potential consequences. A Wisconsin attorney specializing in bankruptcy can advise you of the likely consequences you will face if you file, and help you determine if they are outweighed by the potential benefits.
Interesting Facts About Wisconsin
Wisconsin claims most of the nation's milk and dairy production, most notably its cheese production. Wisconsin residents often embrace the state's nickname of "America's Dairyland" by wearing foam "cheese hats" at Green Bay Packer games and other sporting events. Interestingly, the iconic cheese hats are legally considered to be a hat. Wisconsin is also known for its output in manufacturing and consumer goods.
In its early days, the Wisconsin state legislature created several ground-breaking laws and government procedures. For example the state was the first to implement a statewide primary election procedure, and the first to establish workplace injury compensation laws. Wisconsin also had the first state income tax system based on actual earnings proportions.
More modernly, Wisconsin's law-making legislature has made legislative activity more transparent by providing information on the internet. Three major cities in Wisconsin provide residents with internet access to all public records in the city databases. The Wisconsin Supreme Court also operates a "Justice on Wheels" program, where it travels to different parts of the state to hear cases. This program helps to educate the Wisconsin population on the inner workings of the state's legal system.
Lawyers in Wisconsin handle many different types of legal claims in various fields. Wisconsin lawyers perform such tasks as representing clients in lawsuits, editing legal documents, and issuing legal advice. Many Wisconsin attorneys are experts in specialized legal fields.