If you are facing unmanageable debt that you fear you will never be able to pay off, declaring bankruptcy may be an option worth considering. Completing the bankruptcy process can eliminate much of your debt and wipe your financial slate clean, allowing you to achieve a fresh start.
Before trying to pursue bankruptcy on your own, however, you should get in touch with a Chicago bankruptcy lawyer to discuss your options. Once retained, a seasoned attorney could work diligently on your behalf to protect your rights and preserve your best interests throughout the entire process, ensuring you get an optimal result out of this financial procedure.
Depending on their unique needs and the amount of income they take home each month after expenses, Chicago residents may be eligible to file for bankruptcy under one of several different chapters of the federal Bankruptcy Code. The two chapters that individual debtors most commonly file under are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what most people imagine when they think of someone declaring bankruptcy, as it allows a debtor to completely free themselves of many financial obligations once the process is complete. Conversely, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to restructure their debts and repay them over a three-to-five-year period using their disposable income after allowed monthly expenses and deductions. In the event that any included debts are left following the completion of a Chapter 13 repayment plan, those debts are generally discharged.
In rare situations, individuals who do not qualify for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy may elect to pursue individual bankruptcy under Chapter 11, although this chapter is generally meant for restructuring business debts. A seasoned Chicago bankruptcy attorney could go over an individual debtor’s options in more detail during a private consultation.
Joseph attended law school in Chicago at the Chicago-Kent College of law. Upon graduating, he wanted to use his education to help people. He dedicated his practice to Consumer Bankruptcy and has represented thousands of clients in Bankruptcy Court. Joseph appears in Bankruptcy Court on a daily basis and knows the most current and up-to-date strategies for resolving your debt. When Joseph meets with you, he will conduct a thorough evaluation of your financial situation to help you determine your best options.
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Every state has different rules regarding what types and amounts of property a debtor can keep separate from bankruptcy proceedings. Most of the exemptions allowable in Chicago are listed in 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes §§5/12-901 through 5/12-912 and 735 Illinois Compiled Statutes §§5/12-1001 through 5/12-1006, including but not limited to:
A bankruptcy lawyer in Chicago could determine whether any additional exemptions may apply given based on a particular debtor’s circumstances.
One significant advantage of both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the automatic stay, a court order that forbids creditors from trying to collect on any debts while a debtor is going through bankruptcy proceedings. This protection grants immediate relief to debtors for the entirety of the filing process.
Obtaining an automatic stay does not require a court hearing or a judge’s approval. As the term suggests, it automatically goes into effect the moment someone formally files for bankruptcy. Additionally, any creditor who continues their collection efforts after the stay is in place, and without court approval can face significant penalties.
Depending on their circumstances, filing for bankruptcy can be a practical and efficient way for you to resolve your financial issues. However, getting the most out of this process can also require months of hard work and a good deal of legal knowledge, both of which a skilled attorney could provide.
A Chicago bankruptcy lawyer could advise you of all your options and ensure your bankruptcy goes as smoothly as possible. Get in touch today to schedule your first consultation.