Northwest Indiana Best Bankruptcy Attorney
As personal debt compounds and the bills come in each month, the “light at the end of the tunnel” can seem like it is moving further and further away from you. When you are in this situation, bankruptcy can be the lifeline you need to get your finances back to a healthy, manageable place.
Individuals facing personal debt, such as outstanding medical bills or credit card debt, can pursue discharges through Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. There are differences between these two chapters, and whether you qualify for one of the other depends on the circumstances of your situation. You might qualify for both, in which case an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you determine which is right for you.
Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Before examining the differences between Chapters 7 and 13, familiarize yourself with their similarities:
- Both require filers to complete credit counseling before filing a bankruptcy petition;
- Both require filers to fully disclose their debts, assets, and creditors to the court; and
- Under both chapters, a filer’s case is assigned to a bankruptcy trustee, a court representative who oversees the filer’s case.
The primary difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is how the filer’s debts are repaid. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as liquidation bankruptcy because to repay the filer’s debts, the trustee sells all of the filer’s nonexempt assets to turn a profit, then uses it to satisfy the debt. With Chapter 13, the filer must submit a repayment plan and have it approved. He or she then works under the trustee’s supervision to make a good faith effort to repay the debt over the next three to five years, after which certain debts may be discharged.
To qualify for Chapter 7, an individual must pass the Means Test. If his or her income is lower than the median income for a household of his or her size in his or her state, the filer passes and can file for Chapter 7. Otherwise, the individual can file for Chapter 7 if his or her disposable income is below an amount that would realistically enable him or her to complete a Chapter 13 plan.
What Bankruptcy Means for You
Bankruptcy is not a personal failure. Think of it as an opportunity that, although it does come with sacrifices and long-term repercussions, can help you regain control of your finances by eliminating your debt. These repercussions include a lowered credit score, the potential loss of personal items, and the need to adapt your lifestyle to your new budget.
Work with an Experienced Northwest Indiana Bankruptcy Attorney
To learn more about filing for bankruptcy and moving forward with your case to have your debts discharged, contact the Law Office of Kevin M. Schmidt, P.C. today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. During your consultation, we can help you determine whether Chapter 7, Chapter 13, or a bankruptcy alternative is right for you.