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What role does a judge play in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

When a person in Florida realizes that he or she can no longer make ends meet, it might be time to consider options under bankruptcy. Seeking debt relief through Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be effective, but many people are still unsure of how the process works. Here are a few things that can help people have a better understanding of the bankruptcy process.

Most legal matters are dealt with in either criminal or civil court. However, bankruptcy is different in that it has its own system of dedicated courts throughout the federal judicial system. There is at least one bankruptcy court in each state, although some have more. Bankruptcy judges who preside in these courts do not deal with civil or criminal matters and instead issue rulings on bankruptcy cases. These judges also sort out issues with eligibility and whether a filer's debt should be discharged.

Those who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy might never see that judge. In general, individuals who file for Chapter 7 do not have to go to court unless there is some kind of objection to the plan for bankruptcy. Chapter 13 filers usually only have to go to court once in order to confirm the bankruptcy plan. Aside from court appearances, there are many other differences between Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy, including how debt will be discharged and which assets a person may keep.

Whether a person has to show up in court, will have all of their debt discharged or must create a repayment plan, the end goal of bankruptcy is all the same -- debt relief. Virtually anyone in Florida could find themselves unexpectedly buried in more debt than they can handle, and bankruptcy can be a lifeline for getting out. Since Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy have different benefits and filing requirements, speaking with an attorney before making any decisions can be helpful.

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Paul Urich
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