Archive for the ‘chapter 7’ Category

Debt Consolidation vs. Bankruptcy

Sunday, April 27th, 2008

Maybe you are in a pinch currently and either debt consolidation or bankruptcy is lurking at your back door. You and the rest of America are having trouble currently with the down turn in our economy. Whether anyone wants to realize it or not, matters financially for most Americans could be a lot better currently. With the rise in energy costs, this trickles down into everything we buy. The result of all of this is causing a loss of jobs, people going into debt, families loosing their homes, and even bankruptcy is on the rise. The entire real estate sector has been extremely traumatized and has sent a ripple all across our country. So the point is times are tough and we understand at In this article we wanted to discuss the bankruptcy and debt consolidation options for individuals and families that may be having issues as a result of our current economy in the United States.

Credit Solutions of America, Inc.

Debt Consolidation
Debt consolidation is where you get help from a third party to put all your debt into one loan typically with a low interest rate. The advantage of this is you get a payment that you can afford as opposed to letting your creditors go to collection. Obviously this is better on your credit report than just not paying it at all. As this may not be for everyone there are alternate options as well. You can also use the debt settlement method that will reduce your obligations. There are companies that will negotiate a lesser balance on credit card debt that you owe. So you might look at your options to see which makes sense for you.

Personal bankruptcy generally is considered the debt management option of last resort because the results are long-lasting and far reaching. People who follow the bankruptcy rules receive a discharge — a court order that says they don’t have to repay certain debts. However, bankruptcy information (both the date of your filing and the later date of discharge) stay on your credit report for 10 years, and can make it difficult to obtain credit, buy a home, get life insurance, or sometimes get a job. Still, bankruptcy is a legal procedure that offers a fresh start for people who have gotten into financial difficulty and can’t satisfy their debts.
There are two primary types of personal bankruptcy: Chapter 13 and Chapter 7. Each must be filed in federal bankruptcy court. As of April 2006, the filing fees run about $274 for Chapter 13 and $299 for Chapter 7. Attorney fees are additional and can vary.
Effective October 2005, Congress made sweeping changes to the bankruptcy laws. The net effect of these changes is to give consumers more incentive to seek bankruptcy relief under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7. Chapter 13 allows people with a steady income to keep property, like a mortgaged house or a car, that they might otherwise lose through the bankruptcy process. In Chapter 13, the court approves a repayment plan that allows you to use your future income to pay off your debts during a three-to-five-year period, rather than surrender any property. After you have made all the payments under the plan, you receive a discharge of your debts.
Chapter 7 is known as straight bankruptcy, and involves liquidation of all assets that are not exempt. Exempt property may include automobiles, work-related tools, and basic household furnishings. Some of your property may be sold by a court-appointed official — a trustee — or turned over to your creditors. The new bankruptcy laws have changed the time period during which you can receive a discharge through Chapter 7. You now must wait 8 years after receiving a discharge in Chapter 7 before you can file again under that chapter. The Chapter 13 waiting period is much shorter and can be as little as two years between filings.
Both types of bankruptcy may get rid of unsecured debts and stop foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments and utility shut-offs, and debt collection activities. Both also provide exemptions that allow people to keep certain assets, although exemption amounts vary by state. Note that personal bankruptcy usually does not erase child support, alimony, fines, taxes, and some student loan obligations. And, unless you have an acceptable plan to catch up on your debt under Chapter 13, bankruptcy usually does not allow you to keep property when your creditor has an unpaid mortgage or security lien on it.Another major change to the bankruptcy laws involves certain hurdles that a consumer must clear before even filing for bankruptcy, no matter what the chapter. You must get credit counseling from a government-approved organization within six months before you file for any bankruptcy relief. You can find a state-by-state list of government-approved organizations at That is the website of the U.S. Trustee Program, the organization within the U.S. Department of Justice that supervises bankruptcy cases and trustees. Also, before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, you must satisfy a “means test.” This test requires you to confirm that your income does not exceed a certain amount. The amount varies by state and is publicized by the U.S. Trustee Program at

Different Chapters of Bankruptcy

Wednesday, April 9th, 2008

In Title 11 of the United States Code (the Federal Bankruptcy Code), there are four types of bankruptcy filings:

• Chapter 13 – Adjustment of Debts of an individual with Regular Income
• Chapter 11 – Reorganization
• Chapter 7 – Liquidation
• Chapter 12 – Adjustment of Debts of a Family Farmer with Regular Annual Income

The filing of your bankruptcy is determined by a person’s financial situation. Currently the most common filing is Chapter 7.

A debtor that is filing Chapter 7 is basically wiping the slate clean and starting over. When filing Chapter 7 you are assigned an administrator or a Trustee to maneuver the sale of the debtor’s assets. This does not mean necessarily everything you own is sold. Federal and state laws allow certain exemptions, meaning that the debtor might get to keep some property, such as his or her primary residence or some personal items. Once a debtor’s assets are liquidated, the trustee pays certain creditors with the monies that were raised. Most of the financial obligations are forgiven or discharged. Once you have filed Chapter 7 you cannot file a Chapter 7 again for 7 years, and the debts that were not filed in the previous Chapter 7 cannot be discharged in the next filing.

There are certain debts that a debtor will receive not forgiveness for. They are alimony, child support, taxes and student loans. If a lot of your debts fall into this category you might be better off filing Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 and 12 are basically the same filing, except that Chapter 12 is for Family Farmers and Chapter 13 is for individuals. If you have a steady income and less than $269,250 in unsecured debt and less than $807,750 in secured debt, you can file Chapter 13. Once you file Chapter 13 a trustee is assigned to you. The Trustee and the debtor develop a proposal for a repayment plan. The court decides whether to accept or alter the payment plan or dictate another repayment plan. Once a plan is agreed upon, it can take anywhere from 3 to 5 years to repay.

Maybe you are wondering why someone would file Chapter 12 or 13 over Chapter 7. There are a few reasons for this:

• In most Chapter 12 and 13 cases- the debtor only pays back a portion of what they owe. Sometimes it’s as little as 30 to 50 cents on the dollar.
• Under Chapter 12 and 13 filings, debtors don’t have to liquidate their assets. – they actually get to keep everything, not just items that meet the legal exemption.

Chapter 11 is very similar to Chapter 13. The main difference is that there is no limit regarding the amount of money owed by debtor. Originally this filing was only for large corporations, individuals can file Chapter 11 as well.

Filing a bankruptcy cannot be taken lightly, it will affect your credit for years. The decision to file should be made under the counsel of a financial planner or a legal representative.

Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.