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Frequently Asked Questions regarding Bankruptcy

So what is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a Federally created vehicle for individuals or businesses to deal with unmanageable debt. The Federal Statutes offer the option of full discharge of most or all debt, a repayment plan approved by the Court to pay some of the debt, all of the debt and/or eliminate some of the debt under the plan.
Are there different types of Bankruptcy?

Yes. There are different types available for a variety of purposes.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is an option to eliminate (discharge is the legal term) most if not all of your debt, if you qualify. The primary reason one would not qualify for this option is income higher than the median level income provided for under the Statutes. In other words, if you make too much money and your disposable income is at a level that some or all of the disposable income may be used to repay some or all of the debt through a Court approved plan, then you would not qualify for Chapter 7 but need to file Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is considered a liquidation plan and some of your nonexempt personal property could be sold to pay down your debt in exchange for discharge of other debt.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a plan developed by you and your attorney and approved by the Court in which you will pay a certain amount each month to the Trustee who then divvies out the appropriate proportional shares to the Creditors. This plan can run from 3 to 5 years depending on the amount of debt. If at any time during the course of the repayment plan it becomes clear that you cannot continue to pay the specified monthly amount, the plan could be converted once to a Chapter 7 liquidation.

Well which type of Bankruptcy should I file?

To answer this, you should consult with a competent Bankruptcy Attorney who can help you determine which is best for you based on your finances, debt and particular circumstances. The legal staff at Widerman Malek are experienced, compassionate and uniquely positioned to assist you through this complex process.

Can I file without my spouse filing?

Yes, but you should be aware that your spouse will have to provide some financial documentation relative to the household even though he or she may not be filing themselves.

Can both my spouse and I file?

Sure. This is a joint filing and actually saves you money rather than filing individually. You only need to pay one filing fee as opposed to each paying the filing fee. It is likely to be a bit more costly in the fee department due to the additional documentation that must be gathered, reviewed and processed for preparation of the petition for bankruptcy.

You may have many more questions that we at Widerman Malek would be happy to address with you individually. Please give us a call to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys to analyze your particular needs, wants and circumstances. We invite you to visit our Blog which is updated weekly with items of concern regarding the various issues of bankruptcy.