Bankruptcy law recognizes that debts might overwhelm Mississippi consumers. When individuals file for bankruptcy protection, they generally do so under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. The form of bankruptcy determines whether eligible debts will be discharged or if the person must continue to pay creditors under a court-mandated payment plan. The chapter under which people file also establishes waiting periods before they can file for bankruptcy again.

Under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the court relieves a person of financial burdens by discharging many unsecured debts. After people complete this process, the law requires that they wait eight years before seeking Chapter 7 protection again. If they want to file for Chapter 13 protection, however, they only need to wait four years after completing a Chapter 7 case.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy helps people overcome financial stress by creating a manageable payment plan. This protection can help someone catch up on bills over three or five years and avoid foreclosure or wage garnishment. Someone who took advantage of Chapter 13 protection could file for Chapter 7 after waiting six years. Only two years must pass, however, if a person wants to file a second Chapter 13 petition.

A person needs to consider many factors when filing for bankruptcy a first or second time. The action stays on a credit report for many years and can endanger future employment opportunities or access to credit. A consultation with an attorney could inform a person about the pros and cons of pursuing bankruptcy relief. An attorney could determine if a person could pass a means test and describe which assets might be exempt from liquidation.

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