Bankruptcy Overview

Belleville 618.236.7000
Granite City 618.656.7941

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a system of federal laws that are designed to eliminate all or most debt, in order to give the debtor a fresh financial start. Most individuals or married couples who file bankruptcy will choose either a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 wage earner’s plan. (There are other bankruptcy chapters available for corporations, farmers, municipalities, and debtors with over $1,100,000 of secured debt, or $386,000 of unsecured debt.)
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, most unsecured debts (such as credit cards, medical bills, and utility bills) are eliminated. Notable exceptions include student loans, taxes, child support, and credit card debt that was incurred up to 90 days before filing the bankruptcy. These debts are not affected by Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

For their secured debts (such as the amount owed on a car, a house, electronic equipment, etc.), debtors filing bankruptcy can generally choose to either give back the collateral and wipe out the debt, or keep the collateral and continue paying for it.

Our bankruptcy attorneys lead you through the process and provide clear, client-focused advice on the benefits and consequences of bankruptcy. Learn more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (Wage Earner Plan)

In a Chapter 13 wage earner plan, all debts are combined and restructured in such a way that the debtor makes an affordable monthly payment to the Trustee, who uses this money to repay the debts. Unlike a Chapter 7, Chapter 13 provides a way for the debtor to pay overdue student loans and taxes, and penalties, and to catch up on past-due house and car payments while keeping this property.

Many unsecured debts, such as medical bills and credit cards, can be paid back at less than 100%, with the remainder of the debt wiped out. Many secured debts, such as those for vehicles, can be reduced to the current value of the collateral, and often at a lower interest rate. Chapter 13s generally last from three to five years.

Our experienced bankruptcy lawyers can help establish a comprehensive plan to help restore your financial health. Learn more about Chapter 13 wage earner plan.

It is important to note that this is just a very general explanation of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, and that there are many other factors that need to be considered in choosing the correct bankruptcy chapter to file.

Don't wait until till it may be too late to seek protection under the bankruptcy law. Schedule a FREE Consultation with one of our bankruptcy attorneys and learn how the bankruptcy law applies to your specific situation. Call TBC today at 618-236-7000 (Belleville, IL), 618-656-7941 (Granite City, IL),..

Memberships & Associations


Belleville Location

The Bankruptcy Center
5312 West Main Street
Belleville, IL 62226
Tel: 618.236.7000

Granite City Location

The Bankruptcy Center
2021 Johnson Road, Suite 1
Granite City, IL 62040
Tel: 618.656.7941


The Law Office of Ronald A. Buch is a debt relief agency, helping people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.