Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows individuals or businesses to discharge or restructure their debts under the supervision of a bankruptcy court.
For most individuals, when considering bankruptcy, one is looking at Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Here is an overview of how bankruptcy works:
Filing for Bankruptcy: The first step in the bankruptcy process is to file a petition with the bankruptcy court. This can be done by the individual or business seeking bankruptcy protection, or by creditors who are seeking to collect on debts owed to them.
Automatic Stay: Once the bankruptcy petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect. This means that creditors are prohibited from attempting to collect on debts during the bankruptcy process. There can be limitations to the automatic stay when a person has filed bankruptcy more than once.
Creditors Meeting: The bankruptcy court will schedule a meeting of creditors, where the debtor and their attorney will meet with the bankruptcy trustee and any creditors who wish to attend.
Liquidation or Repayment Plan: Depending on the type of bankruptcy being filed, the debtor will either be required to liquidate their assets to pay off creditors (Chapter 7 bankruptcy), or propose a repayment plan to pay back creditors over a period of time (Chapter 13 bankruptcy).
Credit Counseling and Financial Education: Bankruptcy law requires that individuals seeking bankruptcy protection undergo credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy and complete a financial education course before the discharge order is issued.
It is important to note that bankruptcy can have long-term consequences on a person's credit score and financial reputation, and should only be considered as a last resort after other options have been exhausted. It is recommended that individuals seeking bankruptcy protection consult with a qualified bankruptcy attorney to understand their options and navigate the bankruptcy process.
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