Chapter 7 can help many get out of debt. However, it is important to have an understanding of it first to ensure that it is right for you.
Although the recession of 2008 has ended, many people in South Carolina are still struggling with its effects. To remedy their predicament, many have considered filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but have hesitated because they have heard that they will lose their property. The reality is that Chapter 7 can help many people drowning in debt get out of their predicament. If you are in this situation, knowing how the Chapter 7 process works can go a long way in making you feel comfortable about seeking the help available to you.
Chapter 7 overview
While it is true that Chapter 7 involves a trustee selling your assets to pay for your debts, this does not mean that you lose everything that is important to you. Under the bankruptcy laws, most of your important assets such as the equity in your house, car, clothing, furniture and other important personal items are exempt from being sold. The truth is that the majority of those that qualify for Chapter 7 have little or no property that would not be exempt from the sale. As a result, most Chapter 7 filers do not lose any property during the process.
Once the sale process has been completed, the court discharges most of the remaining unsecured debt-debt that is not secured by collateral, such as credit card debts or medical bills. Any debt that is subject to the discharge does not need to be repaid at any time in the future. Additionally, creditors are forever barred from contacting you concerning any debt that was discharged.
Although Chapter 7 can wipe out most unsecured debt, your secured debt (e.g. mortgage and car loan) is largely unaffected by the process. Because of this, you must continue making payments on your secured debt to prevent the repossession of your car or foreclosure on your house. However, since you will be relieved of your unsecured debt, you will find that it is easier to meet your obligations on your secured debt.
Who qualifies for Chapter 7?
Chapter 7 has no minimum income requirement, but everyone wishing to avail themselves of its benefits must pass a means test. During this test, the court will determine the amount of disposable income that you have, by calculating the amount that is left over after you have paid for your living expenses. Filers that have a significant amount of disposable income cannot file for Chapter 7, but may file Chapter 13 instead. However, in reality, most people that are in a position to seek bankruptcy protection have little disposable income and pass the test easily.
Speak with an attorney
If approved for Chapter 7, your debt will be discharged in as little at 90 days, allowing you to start over anew financially. Since Chapter 7 may or may not be right for you, it is important to first consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney. An attorney can review your unique circumstances and recommend the best option that will return you to financial solvency.
Keywords: Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debt relief