As a general note, bankruptcy is a complex area of law. This guide should be taken as an overview only, and is not legal advice regarding claiming bankruptcy through a Beecher bankruptcy attorney under any specific chapter of the bankruptcy code. No guide or resource can replace a competent bankruptcy attorney, and anyone considering filing for bankruptcy is strongly advised to seek legal advice before moving forward.
Bankruptcy is the legal process through which an individual or entity can obtain relief from debt under Title 11 U.S.C. Any particular bankruptcy case is generally referred to by the chapter of the bankruptcy code under which it is filed. Depending on the chapter and situation, a successful bankruptcy filing can eliminate, reduce, or restructure debt to provide partial or total debt relief.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can assist in the filing under Chapter 7 and it is the prototypical bankruptcy and involves the complete discharge of most debts, and in some situations, the liquidation of all significant assets. Chapter 9 is a filing for municipalities and Chapter 12 is for family farmers or fishermen. Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy for consumers. Chapter 11 is a reorganization bankruptcy for businesses or consumers with debt beyond the limits of Chapter 13.
Chapters 9, 11, and 12 are beyond the scope of this article and will not be discussed. The focus will be on filings under Chapters 7 and 13, which are the vast majority of consumer filings. Any person or entity filing for bankruptcy is known as a debtor. The first step in any bankruptcy filing is to meet with the debtors and review the case.
The best bankruptcy advice starts at the initial consultation and it is perhaps the most important aspect of any bankruptcy case – and is the most important aspect to get right. A proper initial consultation will accomplish two things: (1) it will inform the debtors of exactly what bankruptcy can do for them; and (2) it will provide the attorney with all the necessary information to properly complete the bankruptcy petition. Fulfilling these goals can be very difficult, as the circumstances leading up to a bankruptcy filing tend to involve financially unsophisticated people under great stress, and that stress can cloud the debtors’ ability to understand the often-complex web of bankruptcy law effectively.
Without proper bankruptcy advice, the case can be dismissed or worse. The debtor can even lose significant property which could have otherwise been protected under a different chapter of the bankruptcy code. Many people try alternatives to bankruptcy only to eventually filing for relief. There are plenty of advertisements claiming to end debt without the necessity of filing for bankruptcy. Most of those advertisements are false in that they simply don’t have the strength that chapter 7 and chapter 13 have against creditors.