In most instances, yes, you do have the choice. A St. Louis bankruptcy is a voluntary act, and therefore filed only if you believe that is would serve your best interests. But there are only a couple of situations in which decision is limited.
To begin with, the bankruptcy rules state very clearly that you are only entitled to file a St. Louis Chapter 7 once every eight (8) years. So if you filed a Missouri Chapter 7 in 2009, you would have to wait until at least 2017 before filing another one. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is described as a straight discharge of unsecured debt (things like credit cards, medical bills, paydays loans, etc). In addition, such a filing will stop a wage garnishment, bank levy, and end any lawsuits against you.
There are other occasions in which your choice of bankruptcy is limited. This is usually because of the amount of income your household brings in. So for example, let’s assume you are a household of two (you and your child). According to the government, the average (or median) income for a household of two is approximately $52,000. If your household income is below this level (or not too far above it), then you can probably do a Chapter 7 (assuming you have not filed a 7 within the last eight years). But if you are substantially above this median income level, then you will most likely have to file a St. Louis Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
A Missouri Chapter 13 is described as a repayment plan over the course of three to five years, during which certain debts are paid back. This would include things like car loans, tax debt, back child support, and the amount you have fallen behind on your mortgage (this is called “arrearage”). A Chapter 13 will stop a home foreclosure, car repossession, and will also take care of garnishments and freezes against your bank accounts.
The only other considerations that may limit your choice are personal. For instance, the primary vehicle for stopping a foreclosure and saving your home is a Chapter 13. But if you decide that you do not want to keep the home, then it is quite possible that your best option would be to simply file a Chapter 7.
Either way, it is extremely beneficial to have the aid of an experienced law firm to assist you in this decision. The affordable St. Louis bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Jennifer Alter-Rieken have been helping people get back on their financial feet for over ten (10) years. Our goal is get you the first start / clean slate you deserve.
We have one location by appointment only: 4625 Lindell Blvd St. Louis, MO 63108. The initial consultation to discuss your legal issues is free of charge. So contact us today to learn more!!