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The ins and outs of Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy

When really struggling financially, it is common to look into all of one's debt relief options. Bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, are certainly good options for Illinois residents -- under the right circumstances. This week, this column will address some of the ins and outs of filing for bankruptcy.

Before filing for bankruptcy, it must be determined if one qualifies and for which type. This is done by looking at one's income level, the median income level of the state of residence and the types of debts one has. If one's income is lower than the state median and the debts one has qualify for debt relief, then a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be filed. For those who are in a borderline situation, it may be possible to file a Chapter 7 petition anyway as the court can always convert the filing to a Chapter 13 if doing so is a better fit for one's situation. If one's income is deemed too high, a Chapter 13 may be the only available option.

Filing a bankruptcy is fairly easy, but it is also easy to make mistakes along the way. It is a matter of filling out the proper forms and submitting any supporting documentation. Along the way creditors may contest the filing, which can be difficult to challenge by oneself. Legal counsel can prove extremely helpful in making sure all forms are filled out correctly and filed properly, and can even provide representation in court whether one is dealing with creditor contests or just questions from the court.

Bankruptcy is not perfect, but it can help indebted individuals in Illinois and elsewhere seek the financial relief that they desire. An experienced attorney can go over the consequences of filing a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy -- both the good and the bad. If pursing either type of bankruptcy is deemed in one's best interests, further assistance in filing and getting through the process can be provided.

Source:, "What Really Happens When You File For Bankruptcy?", Judith Ohikuare, March 9, 2018

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