Like many other brick and mortar retailers struggling to keep up in a time of eCommerce and other newer shopping venues opening in other locations, BonTon, which operates 260 stores in the U.S. under the names of Bonton, Younkers, Bergners and others is calling it quits.
Although the company had hoped that bidders at a recent bankruptcy auction would be interested in continuing to operate the business, two liquidators were the highest bidders and more than 200 stores across the country are in the process of selling off inventory.
Of course, many people all around the country will unfortunately lose their jobs as a result of the closings, leaving many employees and their families in a difficult financial situation. Many are at a loss of where to turn as retail jobs, especially full-time positions with benefits, are getting harder to find.
A sudden job loss along with the time consuming process of finding alternate employment can make it next to impossible to keep up with regular payments on credit cards, mortgages and other debts. Not surprisingly, an unexpected job loss is one of the most common reasons that people file for bankruptcy and, depending on the unique circumstances of a case, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection may offer a solution to insurmountable debt for many.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to wipe out unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills, which works well for people who have few assets. Debtors must pass a means test to qualify for Chapter 7 and unemployed debtors may find it easier even when they are receiving unemployment benefits. With the possible exception of student loans or income taxes, those who qualify will likely see an end to all of their unsecured debt allowing them to start anew.
Chapter 13 is a reorganization bankruptcy that allows a debtor to pay back all or a portion of their debts over a 3 to 5 year period. Debtors who own a home, car or other assets that they do not want to lose in a bankruptcy may choose to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy to catch up on mortgage arrears, cram down on car loans or pay non-dischargeable debts. If a debtor can show that they can make regular payments despite being unemployed through other sources of income, they may be able to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
If you are struggling with a difficult financial situation because of a job loss, it is important to explore all of your options, including bankruptcy, early on as there are many issues to consider. Because a Chapter 7 bankruptcy looks at the last six months of income before the filing, timing is a key component when trying to qualify. If you are interested in a Chapter 13 and are facing the foreclosure of your home, strategies such as an automatic stay may stop or delay a creditor until you are able to have your bankruptcy approved. Knowledge will help put you in the driver’s seat when you are struggling financially so it is important to discuss all the various strategies available to you with your bankruptcy attorney from the very start. If you would like more information regarding bankruptcy protection, contact Peoria, Illinois bankruptcy lawyer Charles E. Covey to schedule a free initial consultation today at (309) 674-8125.