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Whether you're looking forward to debt relief or can't wait to be free from a previous filing, one of the biggest questions involving bankruptcy is: How long is this going to take?

Unfortunately, there's no definitive answer. How long your bankruptcy case will take, from filing to debt relief and beyond, can depend on a variety of factors, including the type of bankruptcy filing and your specific kind and amount of debt. Here's a look at those factors, as well as a general bankruptcy timeline.

People who have been sued will often ask their attorneys if their assets, income, and money in the bank can be taken from them due to the lawsuit. Unfortunately, after a court judgment has been issued against a person, the court can then order enforcement of the judgment. If you don't have the cash on hand, or insurance, to cover a judgment, court ordered enforcement is a possibility.

But if a person is "judgment proof," a court judgment could be worth less than the paper it's printed on. Unlike a bankruptcy which can discharge a court ordered debt or judgment, being judgment proof essentially renders a court ordered debt worthless, unless circumstances change.

Generally speaking, creditors in a bankruptcy case are not going to be sentimental about where their payment comes from, and they will gladly take whatever compensation they can get from you, regardless of the source. That said, creditors do not have access to all of your assets -- some of your property can be classified as exempt from being used for debt repayment.

But does that include an inheritance? If Uncle Joe just passed and left you some money, can a court take that money and pass it on to your creditors? And does it matter if he died before or after your bankruptcy filing?

Nobody wants to file for bankruptcy -- it can be a disheartening and complicated process, both legally and emotionally. But sometimes it may be the only option for escaping the most crippling debt and rebuilding your financial future.

There are many life scenarios that might lead to personal bankruptcy, different types of bankruptcy to file, and a series of legal hurdles along the way. Here are a few of the basics of personal bankruptcy.

Any time a person files for bankruptcy, federal courts will apply a means test to see if the debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The first step in that test is to compare the person’s average monthly income for the six months preceding the filing to their state’s median family income. If your monthly income exceeds the state median, you may not qualify for Chapter 7.

And any time there is math involved, a calculator is sure to follow. Here are the numbers that you need to punch into a Chapter 7 means test calculator, and where to find them.

While filing for bankruptcy can provide relief from certain kinds of debts, that relief isn't always available to everyone. There are different types of bankruptcy filings available to individuals and each has its own requirements that need to be met first.

For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often referred to as "liquidation" or "straight bankruptcy" may allow you to get rid of most of your debts and start over with a clean slate, but first you must qualify for Chapter 7 by meeting certain criteria. Here are the debt and eligibility requirements for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If you're considering filing for bankruptcy, you're going to hear the word "creditor" thrown around a lot. Generally, a creditor is anyone to whom you owe money, and this can include banks that hold your mortgage or car loans, credit card companies, and even your landlord if you're behind on the rent.

In a bankruptcy filing, your creditors will be split into three groups, depending on the type of debt -- priority, secured, and unsecured creditors -- and their claims for repayment will be handled differently depending on the type of creditor and type of bankruptcy you're filing. Here's a look at unsecured creditors.

Between credit cards, mortgages, and medical bills, many Americans face a seemingly insurmountable amount of debt. And while most of us don't like to think about bailing on that responsibility, sometimes bankruptcy can be our last and only option.

There are different options when it comes to filing for bankruptcy, and one of the most often used in personal bankruptcy is known as Chapter 7. And if you're considering whether Chapter 7 is right for you, a big part of that answer will come down to how much it costs to file. So here's a look:

For many people, handling money is a breeze. They work, earn money, live within their means, and die a humble death. For others, money is the eternal, literally existential, problem. When people go so far into debt that the light at the end of the tunnel is actually a freight train barreling towards them, threatening financial ruin, bankruptcy might be a viable alternative to financial destitution.

Bankruptcy is the process by which a person throws up their hands and says: “Court, please save me from these creditors.” Depending on the type of assets a person holds and their level of income, there are different forms of bankruptcy that may be available.

It is not uncommon for individuals, or couples, going through a legal separation, or divorce, to be struggling with finances as well. Legal separation can wreak havoc on an individual's already distressed financial situation such that filing for bankruptcy can be a compelling option. However, there may be some legal issues with filing for bankruptcy before a divorce is finalized or while separated from a spouse.

As an initial matter, filing for bankruptcy can be done individually, even while still married. However, it may be to both your, and your (soon-to-be-former) spouse's, benefit to file jointly. It may not be. How any given bankruptcy will work out is highly dependent on the facts of any given case. Generally, the main considerations are whether the debts you are trying to escape are joint marital debts or individual debts, and whether the marriage owns property a bankruptcy trustee can sell off.