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Why is Chapter 7 the most common form of bankruptcy?

On Behalf of | Feb 12, 2024 | Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is a legal process designed to help individuals and businesses overcome overwhelming debt and get a fresh financial start. Among the various options available, Chapter 7 is the most commonly filed form of bankruptcy in the United States.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the sale of non-exempt assets to repay creditors. The bankruptcy trustee appointed by the court oversees the liquidation process and distributes the proceeds.

Debt discharge

One of the primary benefits of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the discharge of unsecured debts, such as credit card debt, medical bills and personal loans. Upon successful completion of the bankruptcy process, the debtor no longer has the obligation to repay qualifying debts.

No repayment plan

Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which involves the creation of a repayment plan to reorganize debts over a period of time, Chapter 7 does not require debtors to enter into a repayment plan. Instead, the process typically lasts a few months, offering a relatively quicker resolution for debtors.

No income threshold

Another reason for the popularity of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that there is no income threshold for eligibility. While Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires debtors to have a steady source of income to fund the repayment plan, Chapter 7 is available to individuals regardless of their income level.

Fresh financial start

Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows debtors to achieve a fresh financial start by eliminating overwhelming debt and gaining control of their finances. It enables individuals to move forward with their lives and rebuild their credit over time.

Automatic stay

Upon filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect, halting most collection actions and creditor harassment. This temporary relief provides debtors with breathing room to assess their financial situation and work towards a resolution without the pressure of ongoing creditor demands.

Exempt assets

Exempt assets in Chapter 7 bankruptcy are possessions that debtors can keep despite filing for bankruptcy. These may include items such as a primary residence, necessary clothing, household goods and certain retirement accounts. These assets can provide debtors with essential resources during and after bankruptcy proceedings.

Chapter 7 considerations

Deciding if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for you involves careful consideration of your financial situation:

  • Evaluate your level of debt, income, assets and financial goals.
  • Determine if your debts are primarily unsecured and if you qualify for Chapter 7 based on a means test.
  • Consider the potential impact on your credit score and future financial prospects.

Consulting with a financial advisor or bankruptcy professional can help you weigh the benefits and drawbacks of Chapter 7 bankruptcy before making a decision.

The pros and cons

Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy has consequences but may give you a brighter future.