There are different chapters of bankruptcy laid out in the Bankruptcy Code and it is important to determine which chapter most closely applies to your situation.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides for the liquidation of the debtor’s nonexempt assets to be used to pay off their debt. In this case a trustee is designated to gather and sell the assets. However, not all of the debtor’s assets can be sold. Exempt assets include, but are not limited to: Motor vehicles, necessary clothing, necessary household goods, household appliances, jewelry up to a certain value, pensions, some of the equity in the home, tools of their trade, some of unpaid earned wages, public benefits, and damages awarded for personal injury.
An individual, partnership, corporation, or other business may qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The amount of debt accrued by the debtor cannot disqualify them from seeking relief under this chapter. However, none of the above described may file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or any other chapter if during the preceding 180 days a prior bankruptcy petition was dismissed due to the debtor’s willful failure to appear before the court or comply with orders of the court, or the debtor voluntarily dismissed the previous case after creditors sought relief from the bankruptcy court to recover property upon which they hold liens.
To begin a Chapter 7 bankruptcy the debtor must file a petition with the court. The Court charges a $245 case filing fee, a $46 miscellaneous administrative fee, and a $15 trustee surcharge. When a petition is filed the collection by creditors automatically stops. A short period of time after the petition is filed, the trustee will hold a meeting with the creditors where they, along with the debtor, will discuss the financial affairs and property of the debtor.