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If you are one of many Americans who are struggling with overwhelming debt, it is important to understand your options. The two common types of bankruptcy that you can file in Florida are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. The one that is right for you or even possible to file depends on many factors.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is commonly known as a liquidation bankruptcy. With Chapter 7, your property will be liquidated to pay off your debts. Chapter 7 is usually reserved for consumers with income is below a certain threshold. Essentially, if you have a small income and you do not possess the ability to pay back your debts or even a portion of them, it is likely that you will file for Chapter 7. You can keep your house and car if you can afford to make the payments!

On the other hand, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt reorganization program. It will allow you to hold on to your assets most of the time. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, rather than having your property liquidated, you will instead be put on a mandated payment program. The length of the mandated payment program varies depending on the case, but it is usually between three and five years. Chapter 13 is a powerful tool to help consumers catch up mortgage or car payments and reorganize or eliminate credit card and medical debt.

It is important to realize that not all varieties of debt can be wiped out by filing bankruptcy. Typically, student loans, taxes, alimony or child support usually cannot be discharged under either variety of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will remain on your record for 10 years from date of discharge. In comparison, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will only be on your record for 7 years from the discharge.

This post is intended to educate you on the difference between Chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcy. It is not intended to be legal advice.