Now more than ever, families are struggling to make ends meet. As the past due bills continue to pile up, people may be at a loss – trying to figure out what to do next. For many, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be an option.
Unlike some other forms of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 can relieve debt completely, giving the debtor a fresh start. For those who qualify, the debt is relieved by the end of the process.
An overview of the process
What steps will you have to take if you choose to file? First, make sure you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Because Chapter 7 eliminates debt, not everyone will qualify. Those who hope to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy must take the means test.
The means test compares a person’s debt to their total income and assets. You will need to provide financial documents including a list of creditors, tax information, an assessment of living expenses, a calculation of total debt owed and documentation of the assets and property you own.
Although the process of filing for bankruptcy can feel overwhelming, the benefits should significantly outweigh the initial stress of filing.
Will all debt be relieved?
Although many types of debt can be eliminated through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not all debt qualifies. Chapter 7 bankruptcy should be able to:
- Halt home foreclosures, car repossessions and allow debtors to keep most assets
- Stop debt collection calls from creditors
- Restore utilities if they were turned off due to nonpayment
- Discharge most debt
Unless there are extenuating circumstances, Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not relieve student loan debt, discharge overdue child-support payments or waive criminal penalties. Filing for bankruptcy can give those drowning in debt the help they need to achieve financial freedom.