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What is the Bankruptcy Code?

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code generally governs bankruptcy filings by individuals, businesses, municipalities, and other entities.  It is a broad set of laws that has numerous chapters and provisions.  It is one of the more complicated branches of U.S. law, and is often the main source of law for most bankruptcy lawsuits.

Some of the more commonly cited chapters in the bankruptcy code are chapter 7 and chapter 13.  Chapter 7 governs “liquidation” bankruptcy, which essentially grants the person a fresh start by canceling most of their debt.  Chapter 13 governs “reorganization” bankruptcy, which allows the party some time to reorganize their finances before they begin addressing their outstanding debt. 

What are Some Legal Issues to Consider When Filing for Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy filings can often be somewhat complex.  This is because they frequently involve legal issues from various other areas of law.  Also, the bankruptcy code is frequently changing, and can lead to newer complexities over time.

Some legal issues to consider before filing for bankruptcy include:

Thus, bankruptcy filings can be very different depending on the financial history of the parties involved.  Also, state laws may be different when it comes to various other related laws, especially property laws, and those laws related to divorce and shared property.

Do I Need a Lawyer if I Have Questions About the Bankruptcy Code?

Understanding the U.S. Bankruptcy Code can be difficult even for professionals.  You may need to hire a bankruptcy lawyer if you have any questions at all regarding bankruptcy filings.  Your attorney can advise you on your legal rights under the bankruptcy code.  Also, your lawyer can represent you in court during formal bankruptcy hearings and proceedings. 

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Last Modified: 02-13-2013 11:08 AM PST

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