Choosing Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Your Path to Financial Relief

by: Attorney Noyes

9/13/20232 min read

Considering bankruptcy is a significant step toward financial recovery when you're facing overwhelming debt. However, navigating the bankruptcy process requires understanding the options available to you. For most individuals, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the primary choices. In this article, we'll explore these two bankruptcy chapters, helping you decide which one might be the right path for your unique circumstances.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: A Fresh Start Through Liquidation

Overview: Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often called "liquidation bankruptcy." It involves selling non-exempt assets to repay your creditors, typically resulting in the discharge of most unsecured debts, such as credit card balances and medical bills.

Is It Right for You? You might consider Chapter 7 if:

• You have significant unsecured debts that you cannot repay.
• Your income is below your state's median income level.
• You don't have substantial assets that you wish to protect.

Benefits: Chapter 7 offers the advantage of a relatively quick process, typically lasting three to six months. It provides a fresh financial start by wiping out qualifying debts entirely.

Drawbacks: You may need to surrender non-exempt assets, and not all debts are dischargeable, such as student loans, child support, and tax debts.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: A Repayment Plan for Financial Recovery

Overview: Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves creating a three- to five-year repayment plan that allows you to catch up on overdue payments while retaining your assets. It's often called the "wage earner's plan."

Is It Right for You? You might consider Chapter 13 if:

• You have regular income and can commit to a repayment plan.
• You're facing foreclosure and want to keep your home.
• You have non-exempt assets you wish to protect.
• Some of your debts are non-dischargeable under Chapter 7.

Benefits: Chapter 13 lets you keep your assets, catch up on missed mortgage or car payments, and reorganize your finances. It can protect co-signers on your debts; some non-dischargeable debts may be included in the repayment plan.

Drawbacks: The process can be longer (three to five years), and you must adhere to a strict repayment plan. It doesn't provide the immediate discharge of debts like Chapter 7.

Choosing the Right Path: Seek Professional Guidance

The decision between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not one-size-fits-all. Each individual's financial situation is unique, and making the right choice is crucial. To determine which bankruptcy chapter aligns with your goals and needs, it's essential to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

At Noyes & Associates, we specialize in guiding individuals like you through bankruptcy. Our skilled team will assess your financial situation, discuss your objectives, and help you choose a more stable financial future. Whether it's Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, we're here to provide expert legal support every step of the way.

Don't let financial stress weigh you down any longer. Contact Noyes & Associates today to schedule a consultation and take the first step toward a brighter financial future through bankruptcy relief. Your path to financial recovery starts here.