DISCLOSURE: BANKRUPTCY LAW IS A FEDERAL LAW. THIS PAGE GIVES YOU SOME GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS IN A BANKRUPTCY CASE. THE INFORMATION HERE IS NOT COMPLETE. YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO OBTAIN LEGAL ADVICE. THIS INFORMATION WAS TAKEN DIRECTLY FROM THE BAPCPA LAW.
To help you have a better understanding about the different bankruptcy options, we have outlined them below. There are four Chapters of the Bankruptcy Code available to individual consumer debtors. They are:
Chapter 7: Liquidation (total fee collected by the courts at filing: $299). Additional Fee: To obtain your Pre-petition Counseling from credit.org, the fee is $55 for counseling over the phone with one of our certified counselors, or $45 for counseling via the internet. This is required if you plan to file a Chapter 7. Click here to learn more or call credit.org at 1-888-425-3453 to speak to a counselor or schedule an appointment.
- Chapter 7 is designed for debtors in financial difficulty who do not have the ability to pay their existing debts. Debtors whose debts are primarily consumer debts are subject to a “means test” designed to determine whether the case should be permitted to proceed under Chapter 7. If your income is greater than the median income for your state of residence and family size, in some cases, creditors have the right to file a motion requesting that the court dismiss your case under § 707(b) of the Code. It is up to the court to decide whether the case should be dismissed.
- Under Chapter 7, you may claim certain of your property as exempt under governing law. A trustee may have the right to take possession of and sell the remaining property that is not exempt and use the sale proceeds to pay your creditors.
- The purpose of filing a Chapter 7 case is to obtain a discharge of your existing debts. If, however, you are found to have committed certain kinds of improper conduct described in the Bankruptcy Code, the court may deny your discharge and, if it does, the purpose for which you filed the bankruptcy petition will be defeated.
- Even if you receive a general discharge, some particular debts are not discharged under the law. Therefore, you may still be responsible for most taxes and student loans; debts incurred to pay non-dischargeable taxes; domestic support and property settlement obligations; most fines, penalties, forfeitures, and criminal restitution obligations; certain debts which are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers; and debts for death or personal injury caused by operating a motor vehicle, vessel, or aircraft while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs. Also, if a creditor can prove that a debt arose from fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, or theft, or from a willful and malicious injury, the bankruptcy court may determine that the debt is not dischargable.
Chapter 13: Repayment of all or part of the debts of an individual with regular income (total fee collected by the courts at filing: $274). Additional Fee: To obtain your pre-petition counseling from credit.org, the fee is $55 by telephone or $45 by Internet. This is required if you plan to file a Chapter 13. Click here to learn more or call credit.org at 1-888-425-3453 to speak to a counselor or schedule an appointment.
- Chapter 13 is designed for individuals with regular income who would like to pay all or part of their debts in installments over a period of time. You are only eligible for Chapter 13 if your debts do not exceed certain dollar amounts set forth in the Bankruptcy Code.
- Under Chapter 13, you must file with the court a plan to repay your creditors all or part of the money that you owe them, using your future earnings. The period allowed by the court to repay your debts may be three years or five years, depending upon your income and other factors. The court must approve your plan before it can take effect.
- After completing the payments under your plan, your debts are generally discharged except for domestic support obligations; most student loans; certain taxes; most criminal fines and restitution obligations; certain debts which are not properly listed in your bankruptcy papers; certain debts for acts that caused death or personal injury; and certain long term secured obligations.
Chapter 11:Reorganization ($1000 filing fee, $39 administrative fee: Total fee collected by the courts at filing: $1039)
- Chapter 11 is designed for the reorganization of a business but is also available to consumer debtors. Its provisions are quite complicated, and any decision by an individual to file a Chapter 11 petition should be reviewed with an attorney.
Chapter 12:Family Farmer or Fisherman ($200 filing fee, $39 administrative fee: Total fee collected by the courts at filing: $239)
- Chapter 12 is designed to permit family farmers and fishermen to repay their debts over a period of time from future earnings and is similar to Chapter 13. The eligibility requirements are restrictive, limiting its use to those whose income arises primarily from a family-owned farm or commercial fishing operation.
Bankruptcy Papers to Law Enforcement Officials
A person who knowingly and fraudulently conceals assets or makes a false oath or statement under penalty of perjury, either orally or in writing, in connection with a bankruptcy case is subject to a fine, imprisonment, or both. All information supplied by a debtor in connection with a bankruptcy case is subject to examination by the Attorney General acting through the Office of the United States Trustee, the Office of the United States Attorney, and other divisons and employees of the Department of Justice.
WARNING: Section 521(a)(1) of the Bankruptcy Code requires that you promptly file detailed information regarding your creditors, assets, liabilities, income, expenses and general financial condition. Your bankruptcy case may be dismissed if this information is not filed with the court within the time deadlines set by the Bankruptcy Code, the Bankruptcy Rules, and the local rules of the court.