After the Declaration of Independence, states were given the liberty to develop laws governing debtors and creditors. Later in 1789, the Constitution gave Congress the responsibility to come up with uniform federal bankruptcy law.

The first law came about a decade later but was repealed three years afterward because it failed to protect the debtor. The second bankruptcy law allowed debtors to file for relief voluntarily but was repealed 18 months later. A third one lasted about a decade, and the fourth one was enacted in 1898. The fourth was replaced by the Bankruptcy Reforms Act of 1978. A Mitchell & Hammond bankruptcy lawyer in OKC can help you understand bankruptcy laws in the U.S. and their implications.

Note that the current Bankruptcy Code results from changes passed later in 1984, 1986, and 1994. Notably, state laws govern other issues concerning debtors and creditors; but the uniform federal law applies as soon as one files for bankruptcy.

How Do I Benefit From Filing for Bankruptcy?

Financial fortunes can change, and suddenly you become incapable of meeting your debt obligations. An Oklahoma City bankruptcy attorney can help you decide if filing for bankruptcy is the ideal legal option for you.

Here is how you could benefit:

Automatic Stay

As soon as you file the petition, no debt collector will attempt to collect the debts from you. This means that no creditor will threaten to take legal action against you or harass you for your inability to make the agreed repayments.

A Fresh Start

If you are struggling to make ends meet and repay your piling debts, you can have most of them discharged. No more missed payment penalties, late notices, or debt collectors’ threats. If you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it equals another chance to get your finances right.

Manageable Repayment Negotiations

Debt payments can overwhelm you, especially during a rough season of your life or business. And sometimes, all you need is more time or a more flexible arrangement to repay. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy gives you a chance to negotiate for a manageable repayment plan with your creditors and ease the financial pressure on your side.

Who Can File for Bankruptcy in Oklahoma?

Petitions for debt relief are filed at the bankruptcy court, guided by the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. You can file it as an individual, as an entity, as a corporation, or spouses can file it together.

A qualified bankruptcy lawyer in OKC can offer advice and help with the filing today.

What Kinds of Bankruptcy Are Available?

The various chapters in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code cater to different groups of debtors. Here is a breakdown:

Commercial Bankruptcy

If your business wants to reorganize, it can file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and provide a full disclosure and reorganization plan. However, if you want the business to liquidate, you can file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7.

Municipalities

School districts, municipal utilities, taxing districts, villages, towns, and cities can also file for bankruptcy to reorganize under Chapter 9.

Consumer Bankruptcy

Depending on your situation, you can file for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you still have a regular income, Chapter 13 could be ideal for you. A knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney in Oklahoma City can help you decide which will be more favorable for you.

Parties from More Than One Country

If the bankruptcy involves parties from more than one country, it should be filed under Chapter 15.

Family Fishermen and Farmers

Family farmers and fishermen can file for bankruptcy under Chapter 12 to get relief from debts.

How Are Federal Bankruptcy Proceedings Conducted?

Bankruptcy judges are appointed by the United States Court of Appeals to serve a 14-year term. The court evaluates the debtor’s situation before making a decision. Bankruptcy proceedings can go two ways, which is:

Liquidation

A majority of bankruptcy petitions in the United States are applied under Chapter 7 and end up in liquidation. The bankruptcy law allows individuals to keep certain exempt assets, like common household goods, cars, and homes.

The trustee sells the rest of the property and uses the proceeds to offset creditors in the order laid out in the Bankruptcy Code. Creditors may receive part of the money or sometimes get nothing. And the debtor can start their life over, despite the flawed credit score.

Rehabilitation/Reorganization

Rehabilitation and reorganization apply when you file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. You are not required to sell your non-exempt property to pay off your creditors. Instead, you will have to pay the value of your disposable income or the non-exempt property.

Where Should I File My Bankruptcy?

Each of the 94 federal judicial districts has a bankruptcy court. However, you are required to file your case where your principal assets are, where the business is, or where your primary residence is. And to uphold consistency from state to state, the federal rules are used across all the courts.

Can I File Bankruptcy Without a Lawyer?

You can file bankruptcy pro se; without a lawyer. However, it is worth noting that bankruptcy cases can be technical and bear long-term legal and financial implications. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that individuals seek the advice of an experienced and knowledgeable attorney before taking this step.

Get Legal Advice Before Filing Bankruptcy

A bankruptcy case is not the type you’ll want to dive into alone because the legal and financial consequences are significant. You will need an attorney to guide you through all the petition aspects and advise you appropriately.

As much as all bankruptcy laws are governed by federal law, the state laws can override the exemption laws in some cases. Therefore, one needs to work with a knowledgeable lawyer that understands the federal and state laws in detail.

If debts are overwhelming you in Oklahoma and you are tired of living on the edge, Mitchell & Hammond are determined to help get your finances and life back on track. Call us today on 405.216.0007, and we will help you seek financial relief.