Is there more than one kind of consumer bankruptcy petition?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Jun 19, 2018

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While there are several different types of bankruptcy procedures, each known by the title of the chapters of the Bankruptcy Code where they appear, the two most commonly used by individual consumers for bankruptcy petitions are as follows:

Chapter 7 bankruptcy – is the most frequently used by individuals. Under this type of bankruptcy, a court-appointed trustee collects your assets, sells them for cash, and makes distributions to creditors. You can keep assets that are exempt either under Federal law or the law of your home state. You cannot repeat this filing for six years.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy – is designed for an individual debtor who has a regular income and stable job. Under this procedure, you pay debts off over a three-to-five year period and keep your property. At a confirmation hearing, the court either approves or disapproves the plan. A Chapter 13 can be filed at any time.

Individuals may also use Chapter 11 reorganizations, but this form is generally targeted to businesses. Farmers can use Chapter 12 bankruptcy.

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