Most people in the United States have two options when it comes to filing for bankruptcy: chapter 13 or 7. Few people, however, understand the differences between the two. Working with a bankruptcy attorney is the best way to determine which option is right for your financial situation. Here is a brief guide to get some initial insight.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
This option is typically reserved for individuals who have an income over a particular threshold and, as such, can repay at least a portion of their debts. With chapter 13, debtors make payments to their creditors for a specified period—typically five years—after which some or all of the remaining debt is discharged. Chapter 13 filers are permitted to keep all property such as their home and vehicles.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
This option is reserved for low-income individuals. Debtors who file Chapter 7 have little, if any, disposable income and few nonexempt assets. This option is used to wipe away unsecured debts like credit cards and medical bills. Any nonexempt assets are used to pay back creditors, but if there aren’t any assets, they receive nothing.
Which Option Is Right for You?
In most cases, your income level will determine which option is right for you. If it’s determined you have enough income, you may be required to file chapter 13 instead of chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is also the better choice if you have nonexempt property you’d like to keep, such as a home or car, provided you can maintain the court-ordered monthly payments for those assets.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney will help you determine which option you qualify for and assist you throughout the filing process. Financially struggling individuals throughout Alabama, Georgia, and Florida know the importance of having a skilled and knowledgeable attorney on their side, which is why they choose The Gil Law Firm in Dothan. Since 2000, these attorneys have provided filers with expert legal counsel to help lift the weight of debt off their shoulders. Call (334) 673-0100 to schedule a free consultation and visit the firm’s website for more information about their practice areas.