You are over your head in debt and think that bankruptcy may be the right solution. However, you must also decide under which chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code you want to file. For a consumer, the main options include Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Note that some people file for Chapter 11, but this type of case is rare and often not realistic for consumers.

Most people may tell you that Chapter 7 is the most beneficial type of consumer bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 case can result in the discharge of your qualified debts in six months or less, while a Chapter 13 case requires up to five years of payments before you can receive a discharge. However, from March 2017 to March 2018, bankruptcy courts in the United States received more than 290,000 Chapter 13 petitions, so many people do choose to go this route.

The reality is that whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 depends on your specific circumstances. You should always seek help from a skilled bankruptcy attorney who can review many factors and advise you which may be more beneficial. The following are some brief comparisons of the two types of filings.

Eligibility

In order to qualify for Chapter 7, you must not earn over a certain amount of income. The means test determines whether you earn enough income that the court believes you can afford to pay your debts. If you have too much income, Chapter 13 is a valid option, since there are no maximum income requirements.

Property

Before you receive a debt discharge in Chapter 7, the bankruptcy trustee can seize property and assets to pay as much as possible to your creditors. The right lawyer can help you apply exemptions to retain as much of your property as possible, but exemptions will not cover everything in every case. If you have assets or property you want to keep – such as a recent inheritance – Chapter 13 may be the wise choice as it does not involve any type of property liquidation.

Type of Debt

Chapter 7 bankruptcy only discharges certain types of debt, mostly unsecured debts such as medical bills, credit cards, or personal loans. Other than free up cash, Chapter 7 can do little to help you catch up on mortgage or secured auto loan payments. A Chapter 13 case allows you to include mortgage and auto loans arrears in your repayment plan, so you only have to worry about current payments. This is only one way a Chapter 13 case can help prevent foreclosure or repossession.

Do Not Wait to Consult an Experienced St. Louis Bankruptcy Lawyer

In short, there is no one answer to which type of bankruptcy is more beneficial. At the Law Office of Kenneth Carp, we evaluate each client’s situation to help them understand the possible benefits and drawbacks of every option. If you are struggling to pay your debts and want information about possible legal relief, call (636) 947-3600 or contact the office online for a free consultation today.

Written by kennethpcarplaw@gmail.com