Bankruptcy is a federal court process designed to help consumers and businesses eliminate their debts or repay them under the protection of the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy is an option that often has to be considered when an individual cannot pay their debts as they fall due.
Bankruptcy is not something I recommend any more than I would recommend divorce. Along with a divorce, bankruptcy is listed in the top 5 life-altering negative events that we can go through, along with severe illness, disability, and loss of a loved one. In its simplest form, bankruptcy is a legally declared inability or impairment of ability of an individual or organizations to pay their creditors.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides for the discharge, or elimination of, unsecured debts in order to start financial recovery. Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a repayment plan for secured debts, such as a home mortgage. There are pros and cons to each of the consumer bankruptcy options as well as personal financial circumstances that may limit your options.
Because it completely rids you of your unsecured debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the easiest way to come out of debt. Since all your debt is, in essence, wiped clean in a Chapter 7 filing, people have started abusing it. In a bankruptcy case under chapter 7, you file a petition asking the court to completely discharge your debts. Chapter 7 relief is available only once in any eight year period. Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is sometimes referred to as total bankruptcy, stays on your credit report for 10 years.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, more like a payment plan, stays on your credit report for seven years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the most common type of "reorganization" bankruptcy for consumers: You get to keep all of your property, but you must make monthly payments over three to five years to repay all or some of your debt. The specific amounts of your repayment are determined by the courts.
Although bankruptcy can help with your financial situation, it does not help in every circumstance. Debts that are not eligible to be discharged include child support payments, some taxes, and student loans. Debts that can be discharged include personal loans, credit card debts, and medical bills.
Filing bankruptcy is a very serious move, and you must consider your options in comparison to your financial future. Filing bankruptcy involves a series of steps that you must be aware of. Filing bankruptcy is a major decision, with many benefits, including its ability to stop foreclosure, wage garnishment and creditor harassment. Filing can provide borrowers with clean financial slates either by discharging debt so that the one no longer is liable for its repayment, or by instituting a realistic repayment plan under the discretion of the bankruptcy court.
Filing for bankruptcy may be one of the most difficult decisions a person can make. There will always be those who file bankruptcy because of irresponsible financial behavior while others have simply fallen into unfortunate circumstances. For many who are forced to consider bankruptcy, the actual decision to file is usually the hardest part. Even with the negative implications of filing bankruptcy, most who have filed will agree that the psychological relief is a huge strain removed from their lives. Filing for bankruptcy is not the end of the world.
Bankruptcy is not a substitute for financial responsibility. Bankruptcy is not a quick fix for all credit problems. Bankruptcy is designed as a legal option to help resolve such a crisis, and act as a financial life preserver for those drowning in debt. Bankruptcy is the process by which you are legally allowed to get rid of your debt. Filing bankruptcy should only be used as a last resort effort to help people crawl out of a credit hole and get back on their feet.