Chapter 7, otherwise known as "liquidation" allows individuals and small businesses to eliminate some or all of the unsecured debt. Examples of unsecured debt are credit card debt and medical bills.
You are allowed to keep your "exempt" assets, which often include your cars, home, furniture and clothing as well as retirement accounts, college savings funds and other assets.
The process starts by filing a petition with the bankruptcy court which lists all of your assets and debts as well as your income and monthly expenses.
About one month after filing your case you will have a hearing before the trustee assigned to your case. His or her job is to make sure that you are disclosing all of assets.
In the event that you have an asset that is not "exempt" it is subject to being taken by the trustee and sold with the proceeds being distributed to your unsecured creditors.
Prior to filing your case we do "exemption planning" so that you know what is likely to happen after you file.
In some cases, people choose to file Chapter 13 instead if they wish to retain an asset that they would lose in a Chapter 7.
60 days after your hearing, you receive your discharge.
At this point, in most Chapter 7 cases, your case is over and you have received your fresh start.