Bethlehem Bankruptcy Lawyer
Bankruptcy is a word that people do not like to use. Despite facing severe financial hardships, many individuals will allow bills to go unpaid, sink further into debt, or lose their home in foreclosure rather than consider filing for bankruptcy. At Young Marr & Associates, we understand the fear that is inspired by that one word. Our sympathetic Bethlehem bankruptcy attorneys also understand the hopelessness associated with overwhelming debt. For many people, bankruptcy is a fresh start, and we will guide you through the process with respect and compassion.
Bankruptcy law can be frightening and complicated, but at Young Marr & Associates, you can trust that we will work with you every step of the way. Whether you need Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, our Bethlehem bankruptcy lawyers are committed to helping alleviate your financial stress. Young Marr & Associates has assisted hundreds of residences of Lehigh and Northampton counties in finding relief from debt on their way to financial freedom. Call (215) 701-6519 to speak with an attorney. Your initial consultation is completely confidential and free.
Types of Bankruptcy in Bethlehem
Deciding whether you want to put an end to your financial stress through bankruptcy is a difficult decision. First though, you will need to choose what kind of bankruptcy you wish to file. Bankruptcies are separated into “chapters” named after provisions in the Bankruptcy Code. In almost all situations, the details of your financial situation will dictate the chapter you can or should file under. In Bethlehem, individuals will generally file under Chapter7 or Chapter 13.
No matter what chapter of bankruptcy you file under, there are general similarities they all share. Before filing bankruptcy, you will be required to take a credit counseling course. This must be provided by an authorized agency and be completed before the case is filed. Additionally, a financial management course is required before a discharge is granted. The timing of the second course depends on the type of bankruptcy filed.
As soon as a bankruptcy case commences, an automatic stay goes into effect. An automatic stay is a legal wall of protection that stops all collection actions against you. Creditors can no longer call you or send you letters, but more importantly, the stay stops all current legal proceedings. For example, an automatic stay will stop a judgment lawsuit or sheriff sale. Our bankruptcy attorneys will thoroughly explain all the protections provided by an automatic stay as well as the legal remedies available should any of your creditors violate it.
Chapter 7 in Bethlehem
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are known as “liquidation” or “no-asset” bankruptcies. In many instances, if Chapter 7 would require the sale of property, a debtor may opt to use Chapter 13 instead.
To qualify for Chapter 7, you will have to pass an economic calculation called the “means test.” The means test evaluates your household income along with several expenses and financial obligations to determine if your income is low enough to file for Chapter 7.
Once filed, a court-appointed trustee will administer the bankruptcy. The trustee will review all of the bankruptcy forms you submitted and some of your financial documents, including bank statements, pay stubs, and federal tax returns. The trustee will then determine, based on the information provided, if your property needs to be sold. Before you file, our experienced Bethlehem bankruptcy attorneys will determine how much of your personal property and real estate is protected through either state or federal exemptions. In most Chapter 7 cases, a debtor can keep all of their property.
Chapter 13 in Bethlehem
Chapter 13 bankruptcy will require many of the same documents as Chapter 7, with the addition of a bankruptcy plan. Your bankruptcy plan will propose a monthly payment plan to satisfy your creditors over three to five years. The type of debt you have, along with your financial ability, will determine the monthly payment.
One of the benefits of Chapter 13 that it will stop a foreclosure or scheduled sheriff sale. If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments and your home is either in foreclosure or scheduled for sheriff sale, a successful Chapter 13 filing allows you to maintain possession of your property. Once your home is in foreclosure, you usually need to pay the full amount you owe, plus attorney fees, to stop a sheriff sale. If you can show you can afford the monthly payment, Chapter 13 allows you five years to pay the delinquency.
Chapter 12 bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 13 but it is specially designed for family farms or fisheries. While classified as a business filing, Chapter 12 is much less expensive and complicated than filing Chapter 11, or business bankruptcy. To qualify for Chapter 12, 50% of your gross income must be from farming and 50% of your debt must be related to your business operations. Chapter 12 can be a powerful tool for Lehigh Valley families to protect their farms.
Call Our Experienced Bethlehem Bankruptcy Lawyers Today
If you or a loved one is considering filing for bankruptcy in Bethlehem, contact Young Marr & Associates. Call (215) 701-6519 to speak with one of our attorneys; your initial consultation is completely confidential and free. For over 20 years, we have provided aggressive, affordable bankruptcy representation to clients in Bethlehem and throughout the Lehigh Valley. It’s time to take a positive step towards financial freedom with Young Marr & Associates.