Debt is one of the most crippling issues facing many American families today. Credit card debt is especially rampant, with consumer debt said to be in the billions of dollars per year. For this reason, many people both here in South Carolina and elsewhere in the nation turn to Chapter 7 bankruptcy to help them recover from insurmountable debt. However, it is important to understand the nature of bankruptcy before making such an important financial decision.

Bankruptcy is a complicated legal process through which a court assesses an individual’s candidacy for filing, the listed assets and debts, and which of the debts can be discharged. Nonexempt debts are typically paid down through asset liquidation, which involves selling assets to satisfy the filer’s debt. Credit card debt is considered unsecured and dischargeable.

However, this is not always the case. The court evaluates each bankruptcy petition on an individual basis, which means no two filings are the same. Even if unsecured debt like credit cards or medical debt can be discharged, some other major sources of debt, including student loans and back taxes, are rarely — if ever — dischargeable.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a big decision that can have ramifications on a South Carolina resident’s financial dealings for a considerable amount of time. It is also an effective tool in the fight against untenable debt. In working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney, an individual, business or family can determine whether bankruptcy is right for the particular situation, and can also rely on that attorney’s support to navigate the ensuing court proceedings.