Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy offer different forms of protection. If you’re facing a financial crisis, a local bankruptcy attorney can help you determine whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the right answer for you.
Generally speaking, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is intended to wipe the slate clean by discharging unsecured debt—debts like credit card debt, medical bills, and unsecured loans. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, is intended to give a debtor time to catch up past due payments over a period of 3-5 years, while keeping secured property like houses and cars.
What is Bankruptcy?
There are two types of consumer bankruptcy. Each is intended to help consumers in financial crisis, but the solutions offered are very different.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or liquidation, is more common. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy may eliminate a lot of unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, old utility bills, unsecured personal loans, etc.), and can generally be completed within just a few months. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, the trustee can liquidate (sell) non-exempt assets to pay creditors, but most people who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy don’t have any non-exempt assets, and so are able to keep their property while eliminating unsecured debts.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often the solution of choice for people who have a lot of secured debt, such as car loans and mortgages, and want to keep the property that serves as security for the loans. In a Chapter 13 case, the debtor enters into a repayment plan that allows 3-5 years to catch up on past due payments.
Since the bankruptcy law change in 2005, there have been a lot of misunderstandings about bankruptcy. For instance, many people have been led to believe that almost no one can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy anymore. That’s simply not true. Although the new bankruptcy law that took effect in October, 2005 added some hoops for debtors to jump through, consumer bankruptcy attorneys and credit counseling agencies have found from the beginning that the Chapter 7 means test actually prevents very few debtors from filing under Chapter 7. In fact, some credit counseling agencies have said that by the time most debtors come to them for the newly-required pre-filing credit counseling, they have no other realistic option! The safety net of bankruptcy is still available to most consumers in financial crisis.
What is Total Bankruptcy?
Total Bankruptcy is sponsored by participating consumer bankruptcy attorneys from across the country, and provides hundreds of pages of free consumer bankruptcy information, articles, blog posts, and other resources on its website at www.TotalBankruptcy.com. Total Bankruptcy’s President, Kevin Chern, is the former managing partner of the largest consumer bankruptcy law firm in the United States, and has personally filed thousands of consumer bankruptcy cases.
Although Total Bankruptcy provides extensive free information about Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and regular updates on bankruptcy news and developments, many consumers need help understanding how the bankruptcy laws apply in their particular circumstances and making good decisions about their next steps. A consumer bankruptcy attorney may be the best source of that information, so Total Bankruptcy makes it easy for consumers by scheduling free, no-obligation calls with local bankruptcy attorneys.