Most people in Alabama are hard workers, dedicated to supporting themselves and their families. Unfortunately, even those with the best of intentions can experience an unexpected medical situation or the loss of a job, ultimately resulting in significant financial hardship and debt. This debt can quickly become overwhelming, leaving people wondering about their options for debt management. Depending on the individual circumstances, filing for bankruptcy may be the best path.

Once the decision to seek such protection has been made, a potential petitioner must also choose which form of bankruptcy to seek. Chapter 7 is often considered the most direct option. As part of the proceedings, a petitioner’s nonexempt property will be sold and the proceeds of that sale are distributed to creditors. Though this option is controlled by strict income limits, the individual can start again immediately with a clean financial state once the process is complete with the debt discharged.

Another option available is Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In this option, a person’s debt is reorganized into payment plans. The debt will then be paid off in three to five years. While the process is lengthier, it does allow the person to keep most of his or her personal property. A Chapter 13 filing is often more attractive to businesses and individuals who have significant debt but do not meet the income requirements of Chapter 7.

Unfortunately, there are people in Alabama who are overwhelmed by their debt but are unaware of their options or have misconceptions about the bankruptcy process. For many people, seeking such protection is the first step to a life with less stress. Because the process is complex and mistakes could delay or stop the process, many turn to an experienced attorney to guide them, including helping them decide whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is their best option.