Connecticut Bankruptcy Lawyer
Toll Free: 203-377-9994
With two convenient Connecticut locations (Wallingford and Stratford), Attorney Joseph J. D'Agostino can assist you take charge of your life by reigning in your debt and allowing you to re-take control of your spending. There are many reasons consumers file for bankruptcy, ranging from an unexpected medical emergency, loss of employment, rising interest rates, and careless spending. All these situations have one thing in common, overwhelming debt.
We combine experience and service to ensure you are comfortable and confident with your legal representation and the advice we provide to you. Please visit our Firm Overview page for additional information about our qualifications and the level of attention we provide.
Consumer Bankruptcy: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?
The choice of chapter depends on many factors individual to your situation, and is one of the most important reasons to get good legal advice before filing. Which chapter is best depends on the nature of your debt and the nature and value of your assets.
Chapter 7 is the most frequently selected kind of bankruptcy for individuals. The debtor receives a discharge of most unsecured debts within several months of filing the case. If the debtor's income appears high enough to permit some repayment of debt, the trustee or the court may move to dismiss the case for "substantial abuse". The theory is that to permit someone with the ability to repay to file Chapter 7 and avoid repayment abuses the bankruptcy system. This is termed "substantial abuse."
If your debt is mixed business and consumer it is important to know what the legal form of the business is. Corporations and partnerships can file Chapter 7 and Chapter 11; the choice depends on whether the business can be reorganized in Chapter 11 or will be liquidated in Chapter 7. Sole proprietorships are treated for bankruptcy purposes as just one kind of asset of the individual who owns them; thus the owner of a troubled business must file an individual bankruptcy, including all of his assets and liabilities, personal and business, to obtain bankruptcy court protection.
Chapter 13 is frequently a better choice if you have debts that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7; if you are in default on mortgages or car payments; if you have more property than can be exempted from creditors in Chapter 7; or if you owe taxes or other debts that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7.
To be eligible for Chapter 13, you must have regular income and debts below a certain level.
Debtors choose to file a repayment plan under Chapter 13 when:
- they owe debts not dischargeable in Chapter 7 ( such as taxes, child support, fraud judgments)
- they have liens that are larger than the value of the assets securing the debt
- they have years of unfiled taxes
- they are behind on car or house payments
- their assets are worth more than the available exemptions.
What debts can be discharged in bankruptcy?
The scope of the discharge is different in each chapter. The Bankruptcy Code makes the Chapter 13 discharge more encompassing, to encourage individuals to use Chapter 13 to repay a portion of their debts.
Put most simply, most unsecured debt is dischargeable. Most secured debt survives bankruptcy as a charge on the property to which it attaches unless a court order modifies the lien.
For additional information about consumer bankruptcy laws, consumer bankruptcy process, or to discuss your financial situation in confidence with an experienced consumer bankruptcy attorney, we invite you to call us toll free at 203-377-9994, e-mail us, or fill out our intake form on our Contact Us page.