What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person who owes money (the debtor) can be permanently released from most debts. Bankruptcy is a civil, not a criminal, court proceeding. As a debtor, you do not forfeit your civil and constitutional rights by filing a bankruptcy petition.
What are the most common forms of bankruptcy?
Chapter 7--Liquidation, also known as a straight or consumer bankruptcy, is the most common kind. Most debts are discharged, but you must turn over all non-essential, luxury assets, if any, to the bankruptcy trustee, (the person appointed by the bankruptcy court to oversee your case). The trustee will sell the non-essential property to pay at least some money to your creditors. A Chapter Seven bankruptcy petition may be filed every eight years.
Chapter 13--Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income, also known as a payment plan bankruptcy. You can stop foreclosures and repossessions by forcing creditors to accept adjusted payments for three-to-five years. You make payments to the trustee, who pays your creditors under the terms of the plan. Many debts that cannot be discharged under other chapters can be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, including certain taxes, and debts arising from fraud. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be filed almost any time a Chapter Seven bankruptcy is not pending.