Bankruptcy is a federal court process designed to help individuals and businesses eliminate their debts or repay them under the protection of the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcies can generally be described as liquidation or reorganization. Under a liquidation bankruptcy (Chapter 7), a debtor files to eliminate debt through the bankruptcy court. Under a reorganization bankruptcy (Chapter 13), a debtor files a plan with the bankruptcy court proposing how to repay creditors.
In 2005, the requirements under which a debtor could file Chapter 7 bankruptcy changed with the passage of the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act. Debtors are now required to seek budget and credit counseling within six months of filing, financial “testing” is required to determine the debtor’s capacity for debt repayment, Chapter 7 cannot be filed if the household income is greater than the median household income as deemed by the state, and state exemptions cannot be applied unless the debtor has resided at current residence for over two years.
Due to the imposed requirements for Chapter 7 bankruptcy as set forth by the new laws, debtors who were eligible to file under Chapter 7 may now have to file under Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead, in which individuals and creditors agree to a court-imposed plan that requires some or all debts be repaid over five years, with an appointed trustee assigned to monitor the repayment process. Bankruptcy filings will continue to be recorded on an individual’s credit report for seven years in the case of Chapter 13, and up to ten years for Chapter 7.
If you have questions about whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you, call our Nebraska bankruptcy attorneys today to schedule your free consultation.