Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding under federal law that allows a debtor who is having serious financial difficulties to obtain financial relief. Bankruptcy allows debtors to either eliminate their debts or repay them under the protection of the bankruptcy court.
A debt may be either secured or unsecured. Secured debts are those that have collateral attached to them such as your house or car.
For example, if you obtain a mortgage on your house, your house is considered collateral for your mortgage. In the event your loan is not paid back, the lender may foreclose or repossess your property (the collateral) to recover the owed money. Examples of unsecured debts are credit cards, medical bills or anything else that is not attached/secured by collateral. Bankruptcy cases are administered by the federal bankruptcy court system.