If you have been struggling with your finances and you suspect that you will soon need to take advantage of the bankruptcy law that is in place, you will want to figure out if you need a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Both can be very beneficial, but you may find that you only qualify for one over the other based on your personal financial situation. Here are some of the differences:
Under the chapter 7 bankruptcy law, you need to be able to show the judge that your income is not enough to support the monthly obligation that you have to all of your creditors. If you are able to show that you cannot possibly make monthly payments to everyone and still have money left over for basic living needs, you should qualify for the chapter 7.
With the chapter 7, all of your obligations to your debts are wiped out. This may mean that you have to give up your home and your vehicles. If you want to keep your home or your vehicle and you can show the courts that you can at least afford to continue making payments on those, you may be allowed to do so.
The thing to remember is that should you later find that you are no longer able to keep up with the mortgage or the car payment, you are not protected under the bankruptcy law. This is because you reaffirmed those debts instead of including them in your chapter 7. The result could be additional negative marks on your credit report, repossessions, foreclosures, and lawsuits for the money you owe.
This is a great option within the bankruptcy courts for those who do not want to simply erase all of their debts and who can afford the monthly payments for everything. They just might not have the money to catch up all of their past due payments. Also, this is a good option for those who suffered a temporary financial setback, but have made it through that and are no longer struggling with their finances.
With this option, the bankruptcy court will create a repayment plan for you. You will make one monthly payment and then that money is divided up and distributed among your creditors as outlined in the chapter 13 plan. As long as you stay on the plan, you are protected under the bankruptcy law and will not have to worry about collection calls or the repossession of anything.
Once you are ready to get started with the bankruptcy process, you will want to make an appointment for a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. The sooner you do this, the sooner your case will be filed with the courts.