Bankruptcy is a legal declaration that one cannot repay the debts owed. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is initiated by the debtor and later imposed by a court order. The two major forms of bankruptcy for individuals are chapter 7, liquidation under the bankruptcy code, and chapter 13, individual debt adjustment. A debtor files for bankruptcy to obtain relief from debt and is either discharged or restructured through the court.
At the law offices of Biretta & Associates, P.C. we understand that people sometimes find themselves overburdened with debt they cannot pay. Over the years, we have had the opportunity to talk to and provide legal counsel to hundreds of people throughout Michigan. From the initial consultation until the discharge of debt has been granted, our legal team is exceptionally well educated, trained and committed to serving the needs of all our clients.
A chapter 7 bankruptcy case does not involve the filing of a plan of repayment. Instead, the bankruptcy trustee gathers and sells the debtor's nonexempt assets and uses the proceeds of such assets to pay holders of claims (creditors) in accordance with the provisions of the bankruptcy code. Part of the debtor's property may be subject to liens and mortgages that pledge the property to other creditors. In addition, the Bankruptcy Code will allow the debtor to keep certain "exempt" property; but a trustee will liquidate the debtor's remaining assets. Accordingly, potential debtors should realize that the filing of a petition under chapter 7 may result in the loss of property.
A chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called a wage earner's plan. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. Under this chapter, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. If the debtor's current monthly income is less than the applicable state median, the plan will be for three years unless the court approves a longer period. If the debtor's current monthly income is greater than the applicable state median, the plan generally must be for five years. In no case may a plan provide for payments over a period longer than five years. During this time the law forbids creditors from starting or continuing collection efforts.
Whether you need to file a chapter 7 petition, a chapter 13 petition, or are facing foreclosure, tax issues, wage garnishment or a pending lawsuit, we may be able to help. If you are overwhelmed with debt and looking for a fresh start, call us and begin the process of regaining your financial control.