Finding yourself in a difficult financial situation can be scary. Facing the possibility of dealing with bankruptcy can be even scarier, especially since most individuals or businesses don’t spend time making themselves aware of the legalities that go along with the process. Since many debtors are ashamed of the situation, they often fear asking too many questions regarding the process. As bankruptcy is one of the most important financial decisions a business or individual will ever make, it is essential to have correct bankruptcy information before getting starting with the process.
The federal court systems in the United States deal with all bankruptcy information and set the laws regarding the process. This does not mean that an individual has to go to Washington, D.C., to file, though, as each state will deal with individuals and businesses during proceedings. This may mean going all the way to the state capitol, though. The federal laws on bankruptcy information state that these laws are in place simply to give an honest but fallible debtor a fresh start.
One of the most important pieces of bankruptcy information to know is that the courts don’t come to the individual or business to file; the individual or business goes to the courts. Simply by filing a petition called a “Statement of Intentions,” the debtor lets the court system know that they are applying for bankruptcy.
Just because a debtor files a Statement of Intentions does not always mean they will go all the way through the legal system. The courts will need to gather important bankruptcy information through forms that will need to be filled out by the debtor. These forms allow the courts to review a debtor’s credit history, list current creditors and the amounts of the debts, as well as current and past work histories. From this, the federal court system will make a determination as to whether or not a debtor can proceed with the court case.
Keep in mind that the debtor does not have to hire an attorney to represent them through the proceedings, although attorneys can be a great source of knowledge regarding bankruptcy information. Many debtors are scared to hire an attorney because of the additional charges that they cannot afford, but most attorneys are reasonably priced due to the circumstances. Often times, attorneys will not charge a fee for an initial consultation when the debtor is simply trying to acquire bankruptcy information.
Unfortunately, most of the general public does not have a thorough understanding of bankruptcy information. This causes misconceptions regarding bankruptcy. One of the major misconceptions about bankruptcy is that all possessions are taken and repossessed by the courts. Since there are many different chapters of bankruptcy, there are also many different approaches to repaying debts, and only Chapter 7 requires a complete liquidation of assets. Even with Chapter 7, debtors are allowed exemptions, or items that are necessary for living.
One more important piece of bankruptcy information to keep in mind is that there is a new bankruptcy law in place called the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. This law was implemented in 2005 to stop fraudulent bankruptcy claims and may make it more difficult to convince the courts of a claim.
Although filing for Chapter 13 and Chapter 11, or reorganization plans, has not changed that much, filing for Chapter 7 has become increasingly difficult. Previously, debtors were not required to take courses on debt, but with the new law in place, Chapter 7 debtors are required to take Credit Counseling and Financial Management courses before the process can be completed.
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