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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

An Outline On Bankruptcy Laws

By John Steed

A federal legal proceeding that gives people who need to get out of debt and are unable to pay their bills the right to start again financially is Bankruptcy. A federal court preceding that prohibits collectors from continuing to collect debts from an individual who has declared bankruptcy until the debts are sorted out according to federal Bankruptcy laws.

Bankruptcy is a legal status that usually lasts for a year and can be a way of clearing debts you can't pay. When you're bankrupt, your non-essential assets (property and possessions) and excess income are used to pay off your creditors (those you owe money to). At the end of the bankruptcy period, most debts are 'discharged'.

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the most common types of personal bankruptcy for individuals. A major part of all U.S. consumer bankruptcy filings are Chapter 7 cases. Corporations and other business forms file under Chapters 7 or 11.

Bankruptcy can be avoided when you contact a debt relief professional to help you resolve your situation to avoid Bankruptcy. While an attorney who concentrates in debt reduction negotiations might be your first choice, very few of these attorneys actually exist! Finding a good lawyer to handle general litigation can be very difficult. Finding an attorney experienced in both filings and debt reduction negotiations can be down right exhausting! Very few attorneys have any expertise and experience in both of these fields.

For instance, you might find that a law firm, advertising itself under the yellow pages "bankruptcy" heading, can complete the paperwork to file a Chapter 7 or 13 but they either do not know about or simply won't discuss other options that might be effective in your financial situation. Many lawyers that regularly file these petitions have never done these types of negotiations. Some are unaware of the settlement potential of a client's case. Others understand the "debt settlement" concept but are either inexperienced or lack the necessary talent to effectively complete the negotiations.

Educate yourself by learning about the various debt options. It's a known fact that lawyers generally try to push you toward a filing, while consumer agencies lean against it in favor of negotiated settlements with creditors. While you may be capable of doing your own negotiations you might think twice about it. There is an old adage, He (or she) who represents themselves, has a fool for a client. This saying has a lot of truth in debt situations because a debtor is emotionally involved in his or her own situation and may not have the mental stamina to properly negotiate to the lowest amount of repayment possible. Creditors are aware of this fact and will take full advantage of it when ever possible.

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