Bankruptcy is a legal status of a person or other entity that cannot repay debts to creditors. In most jurisdictions, bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor. Bankruptcy is not the only legal status that an insolvent person may have, and the term bankruptcy is therefore not a synonym for insolvency. In some countries, such as the United Kingdom, bankruptcy is limited to individuals; other forms of insolvency proceedings (such as liquidation and administration) are applied to companies. In the United States, bankruptcy is applied more broadly to formal insolvency proceedings. Bankruptcy in the United States is a matter placed under federal jurisdiction by the United States Constitution (in Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4), which empowers Congress to enact "uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout the United States". Congress has enacted statutes governing bankruptcy, primarily in the form of the Bankruptcy Code, located at Title 11 of the United States Code. A debtor declares bankruptcy to obtain relief from debt, and this is normally accomplished either through a discharge of the debt or through a restructuring of the debt. When a debtor files a voluntary petition, his or her bankruptcy case commences.

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