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Bankruptcy is a remedy available in federal court for consumers and businesses that are seeking to eliminate or restructure their debts. Most individuals will opt for bankruptcy under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code, but some may elect to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Typically, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used by companies seeking to reorganize their debts. Although the vast majority of bankruptcy cases are filed voluntarily, in certain circumstances, creditors may file an involuntary bankruptcy for a person or business.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy usually takes about six months from the time of filing until the court closes the case. In a Chapter 7 case, most debtors are able to shed most of their debt (student loans are one notable exception), without surrendering any of their property for sale. Chapter 7 debtors are often to negotiate with their mortgage company and other secured lenders to retain their home and vehicles.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtors typically repay some portion of their debts over the course of three to five years, from earned income. Chapter 13 is often a good option for those who are behind on their mortgage payments and want to save their home.
Businesses that are struggling may consider filing a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Although it is available for individuals, it is not often used by them. In a Chapter 11 case, the debtor proposes a plan for repaying creditors some or all of the amounts owed over a several year period, and continues to operate. Typically, an independent trustee is not appointed in these cases.
It is important that any attorney you choose to represent you is comfortable filing a case or representing you as a creditor in any of the bankruptcy chapters. At Beadle Smith, PLC, we practice in all chapters and welcome the opportunity to discuss your needs and rights in a bankruptcy case.