Consumer Debt Bankruptcy

Decide IF its time to file for debt bankruptcy RELIEF

Filing for bankruptcy is the ultimate, last resort of credit card debt relief. You may feel like you are admitting defeat, but there are many cases where this is really the best option for you to get out of debt and start over. In fact delaying the decision of filing debt relief bankruptcy will risk more financial losses and cause more damage to your credit history. You are not the first, nor the last person, who has to decide whether to file for bankruptcy. However debt relief bankruptcy is a complex, legal debt relief process that requires expert advice to ensure that you achieve the best outcome and move forward with your financial life.

Debt Bankruptcy Relief Options

Pre-bankruptcy counseling

Pre-Bankruptcy Credit Counseling is a requirement of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA) of 2005. It is intended to avoid abuse of the bankruptcy legal process by those consumers who should use other debt relief services to solve their financial situation.

Basically this counseling process gives you an idea of whether you really need to file for bankruptcy or whether an alternative debt relief payment plan is a better solution for you. This counseling process is required regardless if it is obvious that an alternative debt relief option is not viable for your financial situation. That is, your debts are too high and your income is too low or you are facing debts that you find unfair and don’t want to pay.

The credit counseling agency will prepare a budget based on your income and expenses, and then review your options for repaying the debt. In most cases, the agency confirms that you don’t have any feasible options for dealing with the debt other than filing for bankruptcy.

The BAPCPA law requires only that you participate in the credit counseling. You are not required to agree or accept the agency’s payment proposal. However you will be required to file the credit counseling proposal along with your other bankruptcy documents.

 

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the basic liquidation bankruptcy for individuals and is the most popular. It’s goal is to liquidate all of the individual’s assets to pay off the consumer’s creditors.

If you choose this option you must be prepared to lose property and/or be subject to liens and mortgages. The court appointed bankruptcy trustee manages the liquidation of all nonexempt assets under law-mandated procedures and use the proceeds to pay your creditors back. Most people who file bankruptcy can use asset exemption laws to their benefit and retain their property.

An individual must pass the means test if they have above-average income based on similar filings in their state. Also a consumer must also receive credit counseling months before filing for Chapter 7 (with few exceptions). The individual cannot have filed under Chapter 7 or any chapter if a prior bankruptcy petition recently was dismissed by the court

Chapter 11 | Chapter 13

Chapter 11

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a legal process for a corporations, small business and partnership to restructure its finances through a plan of reorganization approved by the bankruptcy court. By reducing obligations and modifying payment terms, a Chapter 11 bankruptcy can help a business balance its income and expenses, regain profitability, and continue in operation. Under Chapter 11, the debtor also can sell some or all of its assets so it can downsize its business if necessary or pay down claims that it owes.

Normally no court trustee is appointed to oversee the operations of a business debtor filing Chapter 11. Instead, the debtor continues to operate its business in the ordinary course as the “debtor in possession” (DIP). However the bankruptcy court can appoint a trustee to take over operations from the debtor if it finds sufficient cause, such as fraud, dishonest or gross mismanagement.

However the business debtor does loses control over major decisions to the bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy court must approve for example:

    • Selling of major assets, such as equipment or real estate.
    • Entering into or breaking a lease.
    • Entering mortgage or other secured financing arrangements that allow the debtor to borrow money after the case is filed.
    • Shutting down or expanding business operations.
    • Entering into/modifying union, vendor, licensing, and other agreements.
Chapter 13

Anyone who is not permitted to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy will be directed to Chapter 13. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, unlike the former, is a court-approved plan for an individual to repay all or part of his/her debts over a period of three to five years. This form of consumer debt relief bankruptcy option adjusts an individual’s debt obligations in a way that the consumer’s debts are repaid, as much as possible.

It is a typical form of debt consolidation for individuals with steady source of income. If the income is within the middle or high income bracket (means test), unsecured debts will not be immediately discharged. However the individual will be allowed to keep some of the valuable assets that would have been liquidated under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Because it does not require liquidating all assets, an individual may be able to keep his/her home, as long as the court mandated payments are continued.

Debt Bankruptcy Relief Considerations

Is It Right For You?

A consumer debt bankruptcy relief option is one you might need to exercise when you have no other means to get out of extreme personal debt. This debt relief option applies when your financial situation is in terminal state. It is generally considered the option of last resort due to its long-term negative impact on your personal assets and  creditworthiness. Consumer bankruptcy law exists to help people who have taken on an unmanageable amount of debt to make a fresh start. But it isn’t a simple process and doesn’t always lead to a happy ending. Make sure that you are really, really sure about it.

The consequences of debt bankruptcy are significant, require careful consideration and legal advice should be consulted before taking this decision. You should be aware that your credit history and personal life will be negatively affected for an extended period of time. Filing debt bankruptcy should not be considered unless you have reviewed all other debt relief options.

But bankruptcy isn’t the end but often the first step toward a new life.  For many, it is the best and only sensible debt relief option for solving excessive debt problems that can happen unexpectedly in life.  If you find yourself in a situation where you are drowning in debt, with no solution in sight, you owe it to yourself and family to seek legal advice as to the potential benefits of consumer debt bankruptcy.

Does It Affect My Credit?

Yes it does.   It is trashed.  A consumer debt bankruptcy judgement is the most negative entry on your credit report.   It is simple to understand.  You  used the bankruptcy legal process to discharge your debt obligations and walk away from your creditors.

However, since you were already in a financial hardship situation prior to the consumer bankruptcy judgement, your credit history profile was already damaged due to late or non creditor payments.

Bankruptcy will affect your credit scores for as long as it remains on your credit reports. That’s because your scores are generated based on information found in your reports.

For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy judgement, it will remain on your credit report for ten years.  A Chapter 13 bankruptcy judgement is somewhat different because you agreed to repay your creditors in a three to five year period of time, so it will remain on your credit report for only seven years.

But the impact of your bankruptcy judgement on your credit scores will diminish over time.

Your credit scores should begin to recover even while the bankruptcy remains on your credit reports.  This assumes that you take steps to pay your bills in full and on time and use credit responsibly.

Finally you need to avoid the biggest mistake people make after eliminating their personal debt. That is, not stopping making new credit card charges.

Your life goes on.


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