Individuals can file for personal bankruptcy as a last ditch effort when their credit reaches the limit. This helps them clear out a few debts by selling their assets and starting a whole new life without creditors beating at their door. The gives them an opportunity to start afresh without credit worries since creditors have no more right to press collection charges.
Presently, individuals can file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidating all the assets to pay off the creditors. Chapter 13 involves registering a plan to pay of the creditors from the monthly wages of the debtor within a specified amount of time. However, new laws passed by the President in 2005 might make the options for filing the case under Chapter 7 a bit more narrow and might force most individuals to file a bankruptcy case under Chapter 13 instead.
Chapter 13 requires the individuals to provide proof of income, as the whole law is based on the individual's steady income. If the debtor fails to pay the monthly credit amount, the case might be dismissed from the court and will require the individual to file for bankruptcy all over again.
When an individual files for bankruptcy, it does provide him with a fresh start, but the credit bureaus keep records of the bankruptcy details and this might affect the debtor's credit rating for the next 10 years. However, some banks currently offer a new kind of credit card that requires some initial security payment that will help build up the credit rating so that things are almost normal by two to three years.
The new law also requires the individual to take up credit counseling at least six months before filing for bankruptcy, which means the individual has to go through a licensed lawyer to file the case.