Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be an overwhelming and terrifying decision, especially if you are unsure what the process will entail, how long it will take, and what your life will look like after the bankruptcy. The good news is that statistics show that those that file bankruptcy are better off financially afterward than those people who continue to struggle with their finances. Bankruptcy can be confusing, and understanding the types of bankruptcy and how the process can help you feel more comfortable making the decision to declare bankruptcy.
Types of Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13
There are two options for you if you are considering filing for personal bankruptcy: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remove many of your debts permanently, but also requires that you sell your unprotected assets.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy will not actually remove your debts, but rather will require you to establish a 3 to 5-year debt repayment plan. However, in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be allowed to keep most of your assets.
Length of Bankruptcies
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcies take less time than Chapter 13 bankruptcies. You will file your bankruptcy petition, and your case will be assigned to a bankruptcy trustee. After reviewing all documents, there will be a 341 meeting of the creditors and final decisions will be made regarding the assets that will be distributed or liquidated, and which debts will be discharged in your bankruptcy. The entire process can take just a few months.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy will take much longer than a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy can take years to complete. Typically, a repayment plan is created for the debtor to be able to pay back all of their debts to their creditors over a longer period of time. During this repayment plan, you will be considered to be in the process of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The benefit of this type of bankruptcy is that you are able to keep many of your assets.
Bankruptcies are Considered Public Information
It is important to note that Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies are both considered public information. Your employer may find out about the bankruptcy if you declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy and have to pay creditors directly from your salary. While having this information publicly available may be unsettling or even uncomfortable, the stigma of bankruptcy is less than what it once was, and your financial future is much more important.
Contact an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney Today
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney today to help you understand the process, help you determine what type of bankruptcy to file, what you will need to include in the paperwork you give to the court, how to handle a 341 meeting of creditors, and how long your bankruptcy will last. Contact the experienced West Palm Beach bankruptcy attorneys today at Kelley, Fulton & Kaplan at 561-264-6850 for a consultation.