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Thousands of Americans each year struggle with debt that quickly becomes overwhelming and leaves them
with nowhere to turn. Filing bankruptcy can sometimes be the best solution when that situation arises. If you
are facing an amount of debt that you do not see yourself being able to pay off in the next 1-2 years then filing
bankruptcy may be a helpful option for you. Filing Bankruptcy is a process that Americans have access to that
has the ability to produce a complete financial fresh start by wiping away or helping you to pay off all kinds of
debt. Although filing bankruptcy sometimes gets a bad reputation it can truly be the jumpstart some people
need to get their finances back on track. Bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7-10 years, but does not
make it impossible to rebuild credit, finance a home, or even purchase a new vehicle. In fact, most people that
have filed bankruptcy say that they have better credit 1 year after filing than ever before. There are two types
of personal bankruptcy that are available to individuals or married couples depending on the specific type of
debt struggle they are facing.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common type of personal bankruptcy and is typically useful for individuals
with large amounts of unsecured debt and little to no high valued assets. By filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy an
individual can essentially wipe away certain types of unsecured debt such as credit card, medical bills, payday
loans and personal loans. One of the great facets of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that as long as you stay
current on your secured loan payments, such as your home and your vehicle, you will not risk losing them. To
be eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must not have filed one in the last 8 years, and in most cases
your income must be below the state median. You should be aware that filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy cannot
wipe away certain debts such as student loans, child support, alimony, or back taxes. The current filing fee for
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $306.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is the other form of personal bankruptcy and it involves a 3-5 year repayment plan
in which the debtor is allowed to pay a percentage of their total unsecured debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is
the most complex type of personal bankruptcy because the repayment plan within it is created using specific
equations and must be agreed upon between the debtor and the bankruptcy judge or “trustee.” The repayment
plan is based upon the debtor’s “disposable monthly income” which is the amount of money they have left
over at the end of the month after all necessary bills have been paid. After determining this figure it is easier to
decide the percentage of total unsecured debt that will be paid back throughout the plan. The percentage can
range from 10% to 100% of total unsecured debt. To be eligible to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you must have
a steady income that will allow you to keep you with your monthly repayment plan installments. The current
filing fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is $281.

Advantages of retaining a Bankruptcy Attorney
Just like most legal processes, filing bankruptcy can be extremely complex at times and may require
knowledge that goes far beyond the written law. For this reason it may be in your best interest to hire a
bankruptcy attorney to file your case for you. Some of the things a bankruptcy attorney might help you with are:
deciding which chapter of bankruptcy is right for you, making sure you are filling out the correct paperwork,
preparing you for and standing with you in your required bankruptcy hearing. By hiring a bankruptcy attorney
you can avoid the headache of trying to do everything on your own and unintentionally making a mistake that
could cause your case to fail. If you are unsure about where to find a bankruptcy attorney you can start by
asking friends or family who have filed before, looking online, or contacting your local bar association.

Wisconsin Bankruptcy Laws
Bankruptcy is governed by federal law, but there are certain rules that vary state to state. This is another
reason that hiring a bankruptcy attorney may be in your best interest. Finding a lawyer that is familiar not only
with the federal law, but with your state’s bankruptcy laws as well could really be a game changer.

Wisconsin State Exemptions
Bankruptcy law is federal and is governed by the federal bankruptcy courts, however each state is given the
opportunity to tailor specific bankruptcy rules to their own residents. These specific state bankruptcy rules
are known as “exemptions.” Simply put, exemptions are rules that state how much value can be protected on
certain items. For instance, in Wisconsin the homestead, or place of dwelling, of the debtor can be protected
up to $75,000. This means that if the equity in the home is less than $75,000 then it will not be in danger
of being liquidated by the bankruptcy court. Vehicles can be protected up to $4,000 in Wisconsin and other
items such as household goods and furnishings, clothing, keepsakes, jewelry, appliances, books, musical
instruments, firearms, sporting goods, and other tangible personal property to have a lump sum protection of
$12,000. If you are concerned about protecting a particular item during your bankruptcy you can look into the
Wisconsin state exemptions on your own or consult with a bankruptcy attorney.

Milwaukee court locations
States are broken into bankruptcy districts depending on population and size, and Wisconsin is split into 2
districts: the Eastern and Western. The Eastern bankruptcy district includes Milwaukee, the state’s largest
city, but also services the counties of: Brown, Calumet, Dodge, Door, Florence, Fond du Lac, Forest, Green
Lake, Kenosha, Kewaunee, Langlade, Manitowoc, Marinette, Marquette, Menominee, Milwaukee, Oconto,
Outagamie, Ozaukee, Racine, Shawano, Sheboygan, Walworth, Washington, Waukesha, Waupaca,
Waushara and Winnebago. Due to the number of cases that are filed in Wisconsin’s Eastern district each
year they have court locations in Milwaukee, Bristol, Green Bay, and Oshkosh. In most cases your bankruptcy
hearing will be held at the nearest location to your home.