Losing control over your finances is never pleasant. However, it is a part of life for many people. Fortunately, there are ways to gain back some control, ensuring you are able to provide for yourself and your family without a great deal of emotional and financial distress. If you are considering filing bankruptcy, knowing your options is smart. This guide will help you understand the reasons you would need to file chapter 13 instead of chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 is a form of bankruptcy that basically discharges all of your debts, allowing you to start with a clean slate, so to speak. When filing chapter 13, you and the courts will design a repayment plan, allowing you to pay a portion of your debts over a period of time.
If you are like most people, you would probably want to discharge all of your debts to start over, filing chapter 7. Unfortunately, if the courts believe you have the means to pay back some of your debt, you may only qualify for the repayment plan, which is chapter 13 bankruptcy.
To determine if you have the income to pay the debts, you will need to complete a "means test." Basically, this test calculates how much income you have compared to how much debt you have and what your basic living expenses consist of. This will help figure out if you can realistically afford to pay some of your debts or not.
If you have assets, you most likely want to keep them even though you are struggling financially. With certain types of bankruptcies, you will need to sell off your assets to cover the debts that are being discharged.
If you file chapter 7, the bankruptcy courts will require that you sell some of your assets to cover these debts. In many instances, the assets are sold at a less, meaning they may be sold for less than they are actually worth – just to cover the expenses associated with discharging the debt.
Because you are agreeing to pay back the debts over time, you do not have to let go of your assets to cover the cost of the discharged debts. Therefore, filing chapter 13 may be the best option if you have a home with equity, vehicles, cash, collectibles, and other assets.
Filing bankruptcy can be confusing and stressful, but help is available. For more information, contact a chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer.
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