For the average person, there are two types of bankruptcy, namely Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 is considered to be a "liquidation" bankruptcy. Chapter 7 allows you to discharge obligations on unsecured type debts, such as credit cards, medical bills and other accounts which are not secured by collateral. On secured loans (those items such as car loans and house mortgages) you may keep the collateral and "reaffirm" the debt (during the bankruptcy you sign a new agreement under the same terms as those to which you had previously agreed) and then keep paying the debt or you can give the property back to the creditor. There are, however, certain types of debts, such as taxes, student loans, domestic support (child and alimony) and others that are not dischargable.
Chapter 13 allows you time to reorganize your debt into a Chapter 13 "plan" where you can use future income to consolidate your debt. The plan is, in most cases, for five years. If the court approves the plan, your debts are paid according to the terms of the plan, most often to a bankruptcy trustee. You generally get to keep your property as long as your debts to the secured creditors, including past due amounts, are properly considered by the plan.
Bankruptcy remains a part of your credit history for up to 10 years from the date you file. A bankruptcy filing can affect your ability to borrow money in the future or the terms (such as interest rates) you can obtain on new credit.
On this page you will find links to the appropriate questionnaire for your case (individual or businesss). If you think you may file bankruptcy and contact my office, we can send you the questionnaire in a form that is much easier to prepare than the one you print from my website.
When you come to my office for your initial meeting, there are several items that you will need to bring with you. If you don't have them available, you may not be able to file until we receive copies. Prior to filing, you will need: