By Peter Kenny
Chapter 7 is a liquidation (selling) process in which the non-exempt property that is owned by the person filing is liquidated (sold) for distribution to the creditors. The debtor then receives a discharge of all dischargeable debts.
Generally speaking, those who file for Chapter 7 are in very bad financial conditions, usually with large credit card and other secured and unsecured debt. For the most part, these individuals do not own many assets which can be sold off which means that they have less to lose than some other more affluent individuals. Normally, these people are able to completely eliminate, most or all of their debts.
To be eligible to file for chapter 7 you must not have been granted a Chapter 7 discharge within the last six years or have completed a Chapter 13. You must not have had a bankruptcy filing dismissed for cause within the last six months. There are, of course, many other requirements, far too many to be listed in this article, but these are the most commonly asked about requirements for filing under Chapter 7.
After your bankruptcy is filed, the court will mail a written notice to all the creditors listed in your schedules. Once a creditor or collector has been notified of your filing they must stop all efforts to collect the debt. This is one of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy and can help stop harassment.
Consumers should understand that they may still be responsible for certain debts even after filing for Chapter 7. The following debts are usually not forgiven or discharged: taxes that are owed to state and Federal governments, alimony and child support, those debts that came about because of willful misconduct, liability for injury or death from driving while intoxicated; non-dischargeable debts from a prior bankruptcy, most types of student loans, and those debts that came about through fraud or criminal activities that the person engaged in.
Anyone considering filing for bankruptcy should first seek advice from a bankruptcy attorney. He or she can help you make the best decisions concerning which chapter you should file. They can also give you guidance on the new bankruptcy laws that are now in effect.
Consumers who are close to bankruptcy should also ask for advice from their local advice center in order to get their finances in some sort of order.