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Excerpts from
Bankruptcy Basics
A Public Information Series of the Bankruptcy Judges Division
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
APRIL 2004
Revised Second Edition

Contents

Introduction

The Discharge in Bankruptcy

Chapter 7. Liquidation Under the Bankruptcy Code

Alternatives to Chapter 7

Background

How Chapter 7 Works

Role of the Case Trustee

Discharge

Chapter 13. Individual Debt Adjustment

Chapter 11. Reorganization Under the Bankruptcy Code

Chapter 12. Family Farmer Bankruptcy

Chapter 9. Municipality Bankruptcy

SIPA. Securities Investor Protection Act

Bankruptcy Terminology


Bankruptcy BASICS

Chapter 7

Liquidation Under the Bankruptcy Code

Chapter 7 of the United States Bankruptcy Code is the Bankruptcy Code's "liquidation" chapter. Lawyers sometimes refer to it as a "straight bankruptcy." It is used primarily by individuals who wish to free themselves of debt simply and inexpensively, but may also be used by businesses that wish to liquidate and terminate their business.

ALTERNATIVES TO CHAPTER 7

Debtors should be aware that there are several alternatives to chapter 7 relief. For example, debtors who are engaged in business, including corporations, partnerships, and sole proprietorships, may prefer to remain in business and avoid liquidation. Such debtors should consider filing a petition under chapter 11 of the Bankruptcy Code. Under chapter 11, the debtor may seek an adjustment of debts, either by reducing the debt or by extending the time for repayment, or may seek a more comprehensive reorganization. Sole proprietorships may also be eligible for relief under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

In addition, individual debtors who have regular income may seek an adjustment of debts under chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Indeed, the court may dismiss a chapter 7 case filed by an individual whose debts are primarily consumer rather than business debts if the court finds that the granting of relief would be a substantial abuse of the provisions of chapter 7. 11 U.S.C. 707(b). A number of courts have concluded that a chapter 7 case may be dismissed for substantial abuse when the debtor has the ability to propose and carry out a workable and meaningful chapter 13 plan.

Debtors should also be aware that out-of-court agreements with creditors or debt counseling services may provide an alternative to a bankruptcy filing.