What kinds of bankruptcy are there?

by Mark E. Godbey, Lawyer Referral Service Panelist

There are four types of bankruptcy cases provided under the law:

  • Chapter 7 is known as “straight” bankruptcy or “liquidation.” It requires a debtor to give up property which exceeds certain limits called “exemptions,” so the property can be sold to pay creditors.
  • Chapter 11, known as “reorganization,” is used by businesses and a few individual debtors whose debts are very large.
  • Chapter 12 is reserved for family farmers and fishermen.
  • Chapter 13 is called “debt adjustment.” It requires a debtor to file a plan to pay debts (or parts of debts) from current income.

Most people filing bankruptcy will want to file under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.  Either type of case may be filed individually or by a married couple filing jointly.

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