In case of chapter 7 bankruptcy individual is allowed to keep certain properties exempted. The value of property that can be claimed as exempt varies from state to state.
Other assets, if any, are liquidated or sold by the trustee appointed by the court to repay creditors. There are 19 (as of 2005) general classes of debt that are not discharged in a Chapter 7. Common exceptions to discharge include child support, most taxes, most student loans (unless the debtor prevails in a difficult-to-win adversary proceeding brought to determinate the dischargeability of the student loan), and fines and restitution imposed by a court for any crimes committed by the debtor.
One of the greatest disadvantages of filing bankruptcy can be seen on credit report. It stays there for 10 years. This may have a negative effect on credit rating. Consumer credit and creditworthiness is a complex subject, however. Future ability to obtain credit is dependent on multiple factors and difficult to predict.
Another aspect to consider is whether the debtor can avoid a challenge by the United States Trustee to his or her Chapter 7 filing as abusive. One factor in considering whether the U.S. Trustee can prevail in a challenge to the debtor’s Chapter 7 filing is whether the debtor can otherwise afford to repay some or all of his debts out of disposable income in the five year time frame provided by Chapter 13. If so, then the U.S. Trustee may succeed in preventing the debtor from receiving a discharge under Chapter 7, effectively forcing the debtor into Chapter 13.
Creditworthiness and the likelihood of receiving a Chapter 7 discharge are only a few of many issues to be considered in determining whether to file bankruptcy. The importance of the effects of bankruptcy on creditworthiness is sometimes overemphasized because by the time most debtors are ready to file for bankruptcy their credit score is already ruined.
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