Bankruptcy is a federal law that allows individuals, married couples, and businesses to eliminate or restructure their debts when they have financial difficulties. Because it is a federal law, it applies throughout the United States. Bankruptcy law is federal statutory law contained in Title 11 of the United States Code.
Bankruptcy law provides for several different types of bankruptcy, called chapters, because the various provisions that govern them are contained in different chapters of the Bankruptcy Code.
A bankruptcy settlement will generally show up on your credit report for a period of 10 years. You can file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, but because of the complications involved in the Bankruptcy code, it is not generally advised. Because of the seriousness of bankruptcy, mistakes can be very costly.