There are a number of details about bankruptcy that many Americans often do not know or think about.
That’s why it’s critical that you know about what bankruptcy is and what kinds are available before making this very serious, life-changing decision.
One of the main things to know about bankruptcy is that it is a process designed to help in difficult financial situations. It should not be taken lightly, but it is a valid option that can be beneficial if exercised correctly. The Street offers a helpful guide that focuses largely on the types of bankruptcy, but they also note a few factors that anyone considering bankruptcy should know.
Before filing, debtors must take a credit counseling course. Bankruptcy courts in the United States require debtors to have completed such a course within the six months prior to filing. This is also just a good idea—it is possible that the financial problems can be resolved in the counseling, and then bankruptcy would not be necessary, anyway. After that is completed, the debtor will need to file specific forms that are available from the government. A bankruptcy lawyer is helpful at this stage as they can look over the case and determine what forms will be necessary.
There are three primary types of bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcy is designed for businesses, so we will focus on the other two: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the faster of the two options, as filers can have their debts discharged in as few as six months. This type of bankruptcy requires that the debtor lacks the resources to pay off all of their debt, however, and involves liquidating assets to pay off as much as possible.
For individuals and families that do have the means to pay off their debts with significant financial restructuring, Chapter 13 can provide the help needed. This process can take up to five years to discharge the debt, but does not require assets to be liquidated to make it work.
For more information on each type of bankruptcy and how the process works, we encourage you to visit our Bankruptcy FAQ page to find general information on a variety of related topics. The details of your situation may change the answers to very important questions, however. That’s why it’s critical that you contact us today to learn how we can best help you.