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What happens in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

If you are having financial trouble, you may consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. While you will file in the state and use a state bankruptcy court, the general laws regarding bankruptcy are made at the federal level. The United States Courts notes that Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a plan to wipe out your debt. The basic idea is that the court seizes your assets and liquidates them, turns them into cash, to pay back your creditors.

When you file Chapter 7, you have to be completely transparent with the court. This means reporting all information about your finances. You must provide the court with information on all your income and assets. In addition, you must report all debts. If you leave out any assets or income, you could end up in trouble or have your bankruptcy case thrown out. Leaving out any debts could result in those not being wiped away during the bankruptcy, which means you would still owe the debt even after filing.

You will also have the chance to exempt some of your personal property and assets. These would be things you get to keep and will not be taken to pay back your debts. Exemptions can be based on the federal list or the state list, whichever suits your situation the best. Typically, you can exempt things like personal items, such as clothing, or a vehicle that is valued under a certain amount.

The court will look over all the information provided, along with getting information from creditors. If it is ruled you are eligible to file for Chapter 7, then the court will discharge your bankruptcy. This means all your debts are cleared and creditors cannot try to collect them from you ever again. While this information should not be taken as legal advice, it can help you understand the process and what to expect. 

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