Bankruptcy Chapters 7, 13 and 11 – What You Need to Know

There are many different methods that you can use to help eliminate your debt. Options such as credit counseling programs, debt consolidation and even debt settlement are all methods that you can use to get out of debt. What do you do, however, if you cannot use any of these programs to get out of debt? The topics of this article are listed below.

•Steps Before Bankruptcy
•Reasons for Bankruptcy
•Types of Bankruptcy
•After Bankruptcy
•Legal Help with Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is the process by which you either renegotiate, in a court setting, with your lenders to pay off your debt in a manner that is amenable to your current financial situation, or your debt is written off completely. Bankruptcy is a federal process and cannot be circumvented by your creditors/lenders.

Steps Before Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy should only be filed for as a last result. This means that you have attempted to negotiate for credit card debt settlement, tried credit card debt consolidation and/or tried a debt management program.

Debt settlement occurs when you negotiate a payment with your creditor for less than your total debt.

Debt consolidation is the process by which you get a loan to pay of the entirety of your debt. This option is usually only available to people with a reasonable credit score.

Debt management is essentially changing the terms of the payment of your debt with the understanding that you’re going to pay off the entirety of your debt.

Reasons to File for Bankruptcy
Once you’ve exhausted all other options then you might file for Bankruptcy in order to eliminate your debts or potentially save your home, car or other exempt assets. When you file for Bankruptcy, you cannot be sued for the debt that you owe.

Another reason that you might consider Bankruptcy is because things are happening in your life that have caused major financial problems. Things like divorce, bad investments, high medical bills, job loss and so on can all be valid reasons to file for Bankruptcy.

The Types of Bankruptcy
Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 are the three different bankruptcy options. Chapter 11 is specifically for businesses while Chapter 7 and 13 are for individuals.

Chapter 11 makes a way for businesses to negotiate with their lenders so that they can repay their debts. Once a business is approved for Chapter 11, their lenders must abide by the repayment plan agreed upon post contract.

Chapter 7 allows you to eliminate your entire debt once your assets have been sold and that money has been disseminated to your lenders. There are certain things that you will not have to sell, usually your home and/or your car as they are protected assets.

In order to qualify for Chapter 7, you do have to prove that you have no other way to repay your debts. In addition, you need to make less than the average median income for your state. You may not file for Chapter 7 if you’ve filed and been approved for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or completed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in the past 6 years.

Chapter 13 requires you to negotiate with your lenders so that you can repay your debt. Your repayment plan will be based upon your ability to repay based on your income. You have between 3 and 5 years to repay your debt; however, you won’t necessarily have to pay the full balance of your debt. It’s possible that, based on your income and your assets, that the court will order that you pay off the original debt minus fees and interest rates, so that your debt repayment plan will be manageable.

Anyone who earns the median average income for their state and has no more than $250K in unsecured debt and $750K in secured debt may qualify for chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

Your Debts After Bankruptcy
If you file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, then all of your unsecured debts will be discharged. Your previous lenders will be unable to collect on those debts, sue for those debts or ask for garnishment for the payment of the debts. Your Bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for 10 years, although many lenders will consider you for a loan after 3 years.

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy allows for the repayment of your debt. If you don’t stick to your repayment plan, then your creditors can take further action against you. This filing will appear on your credit report for 7 years. Typically, your credit score will recover faster after a Chapter 13 filing because you’re paying off your debts.

Legal Help and Bankruptcy
Although Bankruptcy is filed on a state level, the forms that you need to fill out are federal forms and are the same for every state. While the initial forms aren’t complex, many people find the entire process overwhelming and time consuming. Some people find that the stress of trying to file for Bankruptcy is just as bad as being in a financial bind in the first place.

Because of this, getting legal or financial help for the Bankruptcy process is highly recommended. This can speed up the process and all you have to do is gather information as you’re told. This also ensures that when you go to court to present your paperwork that everything is as it should be, you shouldn’t have to return at a later date because you missed something.

Bankruptcy Chapters 7, 13 and 11 – What You Need to Know

If you can’t afford legal or financial help, then you must ensure that you use authoritative websites to help you through the process. The US Courts provide valuable information about the filing process that can help you, although they also recommend that you get legal counsel for this process.

If Bankruptcy isn’t right for you then you should get a free evaluation to see if other options better suit your needs. You aren’t obligated to make a decision and you have nothing to lose.
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