Explaining Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The term "Chapter 7 bankruptcy" is a term that is thrown about a great deal in the media, but clear and concise explanations of the term are usually not offered. Because of this, there is some confusion of what exactly chapter 7 bankruptcy actually is and this confusion sometimes leads to people making critical errors in judgment when the individual contemplates such a filing.

Certainly no one wants to become involved in bankruptcy proceedings. There is good reason for this. In order to enter bankruptcy proceedings, a person will have to have debts that greatly exceed his or her net worth and, in addition, have no visible or viable means of paying back the debts. When a person or corporation finds itself in such a position, there becomes the need to file for bankruptcy protection. This is a legal situation and it requires the courts to rule in the matter. There are a number of different forms of bankruptcy such as chapter 11 bankruptcy and the more common chapter 7 bankruptcy. Since chapter 7 bankruptcy is more common for individuals, it is important that a detailed explanation of what chapter 7 bankruptcy actually is.

The Definition Of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

According to the law and the United States court system, Chapter 7 bankruptcy refers to liquidation of assets that are not legally exempt from liquidation in order to pay off creditors and debtors. Chapter 7 is an option open to individuals, businesses, partnerships and corporations. There is, however, a special clause open to the individual within the framework of this chapter filing that is not available to the other entities. That special clause is known as a "discharge." What a discharge refers to is the freeing of the individual from certain debts.

Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

On a baseline level, those filing for Chapter 7 must provide copies of tax returns; executed contracts and leases that have been expired; financial affairs statements; proof of assets and liabilities; and copies/schedules of current expenditures and income. For individuals there are additional items that must be provided to the court as well. These items include copies of credit counseling reports and repayment plan programs, employer payments and statements of income, interest payments on student loans, etc.

This is, of course, a brief overview and more detailed information is provided by the government and federal courts at the website However, trying to figure out Chapter 7 protection by yourself is not advised and it would be far more prudent to seek the advice of a legal professional as well.