Mar 24 2010

Debt Settlement Versus Bankruptcy

  • Bankruptcy can have long lasting and serious consequences

  • Debt settlement offers an alternative to bankruptcy

  • Under debt settlement a skilled negotiator will try and reach agreements with the creditors for large discounts on the debts

Bankruptcy allows someone who is struggling with high levels of debt to start again, free of debt, or through structured payment plans. However, applying for bankruptcy can have serious and long lasting consequences including making it extremely difficult to obtain credit in the future and preventing you from working in certain professions. It is a very serious step to take and anyone considering bankruptcy should take legal advice from a bankruptcy lawyer to make sure it is the best option for them.

Bankruptcy is not the only option if you find yourself drowning in debt and there are alternatives that should be considered before any decision is made about filing for bankruptcy. In America a common solution is debt settlement. With debt settlement you allow a skilled debt negotiator to talk to your creditors and try and agree deals to settle the debts for much less than what is owed. This way the creditor at least gets some of the money they are owed in a shorter time frame but agreeing that the creditor will take less than they are owed is not easy. While agreements are being negotiated the debtor can be earning and paying the money into a separate account and these savings can then be used at a later date to pay off the creditors. The whole process usually takes between two and four years.

While there have been some well publicised cases of unscrupulous debt settlement companies, generally if you find a good debt settlement company, they will advice you on whether it is worth pursuing a debt settlement agreement or just to file for bankruptcy. You should approach a debt settlement company with an established reputation and a long history of sorting out debt problems. You can make an application with several different companies to get a good feel for each before making a decision.

Other legal resources on bankruptcy: The Jodat Law Group bankruptcy attorneys with offices in Sarasota, Florida.


Feb 23 2010

Filing for Bankruptcy

The type of Bankruptcy filed will depend on the individual circumstances involved. Listed below are the various bankruptcy types:

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Liquidation

Reference article: Chapter 7, Title 11, United States Code

This is the most common form of bankruptcy and will involve the appointment of a trustee who will have the responsibility of collecting non-exempt property from the debtor, sell that property and use those funds in order to pay creditors. Each state will allow essential property belonging to the debtor to be exempt from this process. Because of this, most Chapter 7 filings are “no asset” cases in which the debtor will keep all of their property.

Chapter 9: Reorganization for municipalities

Reference article: Chapter 9, Title 11, United States Code

Chapter 9 bankruptcies are only available to municipalities. This type of bankruptcy is not a form of liquidation – but rather, a form of reorganization. An entire county, for example, may file for a Chapter 9 bankruptcy.

Chapters 11, 12, and 13: Reorganizations

Reference articles: Chapter 11, Title 11, United States Code, Chapter 12, Title 11, United States Code and Chapter 13, Title 11, United States code

Bankruptcies filed under Chapter 11, Chapter 12 or Chapter 13 consist of complex reorganizations which involve allowing the debtor to keep all or some of their property to facilitate future earnings that can be used to pay off creditors.

Consumers will commonly file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 – filing a Chapter 11 is rare (but allowed). Similar to a Chapter 13, a Chapter 12 is only available to “family farmers” and “family fishermen” in certain circumstances. The difference is that a Chapter 12 will usually have more lenient terms for debtors than a similar Chapter 13. Chapter 12 was set to expire in 2004 – but was renewed and established permanently.

Chapter 15: Cross-border insolvency

Reference article: Chapter 15, Title 11, United States Code:

Chapter 15 was added to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005. This deals with foreign companies with debts originating in the United States.

Please note that this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended as legal advice.

The Jodat Law Group, PA which is located in Sarasota, Florida, can help you through your bankruptcy claim. Gary R. Jodat is the managing attorney.