Is there such a thing as filing for partial bankruptcy? If you are dealing with just a single problem debt or your situation is temporary, is bankruptcy right for you?
Every day people consider filing for bankruptcy. They might be drowning in credit card debt or they lost their jobs and their bills have fallen behind or they are concerned that their mortgage lender will foreclose on their homes. They know that bankruptcy is a way to help them with these financial problems and provide a way for them to get back on track with their debts.
But what if you aren’t facing any drastic financial issues? Or you have one financial problem, but otherwise, you’re keeping up with your obligations fairly well? Is there such a thing as partial bankruptcy that allows you to focus on one issue without wiping out all of your debt?
In short, the answer is no. When you file for bankruptcy you must include every debt and every asset you have.
As a matter of fact, providing the bankruptcy court with an incomplete petition when you file could result in dismissal of your case. It could also make it look as if you intended to commit bankruptcy fraud and get you into legal trouble.
In spite of there being no such thing as partial bankruptcy, there are things you can do if you aren’t ready to turn all of your assets over to the bankruptcy trustee and erase all of your debt.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Although there is no such thing as partial bankruptcy, some people consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy a less-aggressive type of bankruptcy. In Chapter 13, you commit to a court-ordered payment plan to repay a portion of your debt. You are permitted to retain ownership of the vast majority of your assets and you are responsible for paying back all or part of the debt you owe.
While it’s not partially filing, it isn’t as drastic an option as Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In Chapter 13, the hit to your credit score isn’t quite as impactful and you are allowed to keep your home and other assets, as long as you keep up with your payment obligations under your bankruptcy plan.
The downside to Chapter 13 is that you are making a long-term commitment to the bankruptcy court. In traditional bankruptcy, you file and a few months later your debts are discharged and you move on with your life. It’s a complete overhaul of your situation and it takes time to rebuild, but you enjoy a great deal of freedom. When you file for Chapter 13, you are making a three to five-year commitment to repay debt and have your money managed by the bankruptcy court. There are plenty of benefits, but it’s not always something a person is willing to do.
To learn more about the differences between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy, check out this information from Nolo.com.
Negotiating a Debt Settlement
Another option for those looking for a way to deal with financial problems without taking the drastic option of filing for bankruptcy is debt settlement. If you are struggling to keep up with a single debt but overall your financial situation is not that bad, settlement can help you stay on top of things. It’s not always an option and even when it is, it isn’t right for everyone, but it can be a way to eliminate a single problem debt.