WHAT IS BANKRUPTCY?Bankruptcy is a legal procedure designed both to protect an individual or business that can't meet its financial obligations and to protect the creditors involved. To begin the process, proper papers must be filed.
There are specific chapters of the federal bankruptcy law. Proceedings under Chapter Seven (known as straight bankruptcy) involve taking most of the borrower's property. The court appoints a trustee to sell off the assets and distribute the cash among the creditors. Proceedings under Chapter Thirteen (known as wage earner's bankruptcy) involve the borrower proposing a plan for repaying a portion of the debt in installments from the borrower's income. Chapter Eleven of the federal Bankruptcy Act is generally used by corporations and not by consumer debtors. Its proceedings are expensive and complex. Consumer debtors normally use Chapter Seven or Chapter Thirteen.
Once the bankruptcy proceeding ends, the borrower is no longer liable. This occurs when the bankruptcy court enters a discharge order in a Chapter Seven case or the borrower has paid the debts due to the credit grantors according to a plan in a Chapter Eleven or a Chapter Thirteen case. In legal terms, the court has discharged the borrower from the debts. The borrower then starts over again with a clean financial slate, but the record of the bankruptcy will remain on the borrower's credit record for up to ten years.
Bankruptcy may be the best, or only, solution for extreme financial hardship. However, it should be utilized exclusively as a last resort, since it always has long lasting consequences. Be sure to consult a financial expert before resorting to bankruptcy as a means of solving your economic troubles.
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