Northwest Indiana Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy to discharge the personal debts that are making it impossible for you to live your fullest life, first take some time to educate yourself about the bankruptcy process. There are numerous types, or chapters, of bankruptcy that individuals and corporations can use to discharge their debts. If you are struggling with personal debt, such as credit card or medical debt, your options are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
There are significant differences between these two chapters. You might only qualify for one of them. If you do qualify for both, one might be a better strategy for your case than the other. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer can help you make this determination.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
If you pass the Means Test, which means your annual income is either lower than the median annual income for households of your size in your state or that you do not have sufficient disposable income to complete a Chapter 13 case, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as liquidation bankruptcy. In this type of case, the filer’s bankruptcy trustee sells all of the filer’s nonexempt assets and uses the proceeds to satisfy his or her debts. A Chapter 7 case can be quicker to complete, but the filer has little control over it.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In some cases, individuals who qualify for Chapter 7 choose Chapter 13 instead.
With a Chapter 13 case, you must submit a repayment plan to the court. If the plan is approved, you will repay the debt according to its terms over the next three to five years with your bankruptcy trustee’s guidance. With this type of bankruptcy, the filer retains greater control over the case.
Life After Bankruptcy
You cannot expect to revert back to your old lifestyle after completing your bankruptcy case. And once the case is closed, you probably will not want to return to your old lifestyle. You will emerge from bankruptcy ideally better educated about credit, debt, and budgeting. You will also emerge with the following:
- A lowered credit score;
- The bankruptcy on your credit report for up to a decade; and
- Your name and case in the public record.
Do not let these steer you away from filing for bankruptcy if you need to. Bankruptcy is a tool that can help you recover from debt, but remember that its effects last longer than the duration of your case.
Work with an Experienced Northwest Indiana Bankruptcy Lawyer
The thought of having to work through the bankruptcy process can be an intimidating one. Protect your rights and have an advocate who can give you the guidance you need by working with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. Learn more by contacting the Law Office of Kevin M. Schmidt, P.C. today to schedule your free legal consultation in our office.