Bankruptcy is a set of federal laws and rules that can help individuals and businesses who owe more debt than they can pay. Each of the 94 federal judicial districts handles bankruptcy matters, and in almost all districts, bankruptcy cases are filed in the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy laws help people who can no longer pay their creditors get a fresh start by liquidating their assets to pay their debts, or by creating a repayment plan. Bankruptcy laws also protect troubled businesses and provide for orderly distributions to business creditors through reorganization or liquidation. These procedures are covered under Title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code). The vast majority of cases are filed under the three main chapters of the Bankruptcy Code, which are Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13.
Individuals who successfully complete their bankruptcy case may be (and usually are) entitled to permanent relief from their debts.
Bankruptcy uses many technical and legal terms which are important to understand.
Detailed explanations and information about bankruptcy law and procedure can be found through the links below.
Frequently Asked Questions
The following links may provide additional information.
- D.C. Bar Association
- American Bar Association
- American Bankruptcy Institute
- Law Help
- Department of Justice Bankruptcy Fraud Hotline
- Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services
- Consumer Financial Protection Board
- National Consumer Law Center (In the search box type in "bankruptcy" and press enter.)