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What Chapter Is Right For Me?

You have a choice in deciding which chapter of the Bankruptcy Code will best suit your needs. The decision whether to file a bankruptcy, and under which chapter to file depends on the particular circumstances of the debtor. In general, chapter 7 is appropriate when the debtor has insufficient income to pay all or most of his/her debts. Otherwise, if the debtor has an income or property and can afford to pay all or a substantial portion of his/her debts, chapter 11, 12, or 13 may be appropriate depending on whether the debtor is an individual, partnership, corporation, or family farmer or fisherman.

These are only a few of the factors to consider, however. There is no way that a simple booklet such as this can spell out all the different things to be considered. Also, considering your personal facts, comparing them to each chapter's requirements, and deciding which chapter to select, would be giving legal advice. Clerk's Office staff, bankruptcy petition preparers, typing services and paralegals are prohibited by law from giving you legal advice. Only a lawyer can give you legal advice. Many lawyers charge a modest amount to help you and most will give you a free consultation, during which they will go over your circumstances and needs and tell you what you should do and how much it will cost for them to do it. There are also several "do it yourself" books that set out the details of each Bankruptcy Code chapter and attempt to explain the bankruptcy process.

The decision whether to file a bankruptcy and under what chapter is an extremely important decision and should be made only with competent legal advice from an experienced bankruptcy attorney after a review of all of the relevant facts of the debtor's case.

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