Chester County, PA Bankruptcy Lawyers
Bankruptcy has been recognized in the United States since the year 1800, when the very first federal bankruptcy act was put into place. Since then, over 200 years have passed, and millions upon millions of Americans have turned to bankruptcy as a means of debt relief. In 2013, over one million Americans filed for bankruptcy, and the same year, the state of Pennsylvania reported 27,126 filings. According to reports compiled by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Chester County reported:
- 855 filings in the 2013 fiscal year
- 925 filings in the 2012 fiscal year
- 1,024 filings in the 2011 fiscal year
While bankruptcy in Chester County may be on the statistical decline, there are still hundreds of Chester County residents who file for consumer bankruptcy on an annual basis. For many Pennsylvanians living in Chester County, bankruptcy is an excellent tool not only for debt relief, but also for reestablishing good credit, halting foreclosure or repossession, and protecting valuable assets from creditors. When completed successfully, a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be the difference between crushing debt and a bright financial future.
How a Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help
If you are thinking about filing for consumer bankruptcy in Chester County, you shouldn’t attempt to navigate the complicated and sometimes lengthy bankruptcy process without the aid of a qualified bankruptcy lawyer. Technically speaking, it is perfectly legal to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, referred to as filing pro se. However, the majority of pro se bankruptcies are not completed successfully.
This is because bankruptcy law is immensely detailed, technical, and complex. Bankruptcy litigants must be in compliance with the U.S. Bankruptcy Code as well as the Pennsylvania bankruptcy laws, and in addition to that, litigants must be familiar with all of the rules and procedures imposed by the court which hears their case. The federal and Pennsylvania codes are challenging enough to interpret individually, and coupled with the fact that national and state-level regulations are sometimes divergent, it is extremely easy for debtors to accidentally make a mistake or disadvantageous decision. The United States Bankruptcy Courts advise debtors against filing without an attorney, stating:
“It is very important that a bankruptcy case be filed and handled correctly. The rules are very technical, and a misstep may affect a debtor’s rights. For example, a debtor whose case is dismissed for failure to file a required document… may lose the right to file another case or lose protections in a later case… Bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences — hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended.”
Bankruptcy Judge S. Martin Teel Jr. agrees with the sentiment, stating, “Before the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, a pro se debtor could successfully navigate filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. But with the new Act and its many technical requirements, it’s really a minefield for pro se filers.”
Benefits of Filing Bankruptcy
At Young, Marr & Associates, our bankruptcy attorneys have over 20 years of experience helping debtors across Chester County successfully obtain bankruptcy discharges under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. A Chester County, Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney from our firm can help you understand the results of the Means Test, prepare and submit your bankruptcy documentation, negotiate with your creditors, protect your financial rights as a debtor, and provide you with aggressive legal representation in bankruptcy court. We have filed more than 5,000 bankruptcy cases with clients across Pennsylvania and Chester County, including but not limited to Berwyn, Coatesville, Devon, Downingtown, Kennett Square, Phoenixville, and West Chester.
Oftentimes, individuals who are considering filing for bankruptcy are hesitant to retain an attorney, because they are worried about the costs of legal representation. At Young, Marr & Associates, we understand your concerns: we offer easy, cost-effective payment plans at affordable rates, as well as a free initial consultation. We pledge to treat your case with compassion, dignity, and respect, and all of our client meetings are completely confidential.
Filing for Bankruptcy in Chester County, PA
The consumer bankruptcy procedure can be challenging to navigate, but a Chester County, Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer from Young, Marr & Associates will guide you every step of the way.
First, you will be required to complete credit counseling to assess your financial situation. You have six months to file for bankruptcy from the time you complete credit counseling.
Before you file, you must submit to Means Testing. The Means Test is like a calculator which uses your financial input to gauge whether you should file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. However, there are certain instances where it may be preferable to file for Chapter 13, even if you can qualify for Chapter 7. A bankruptcy attorney can help you understand the Means Test, and which Chapter of bankruptcy is more appropriate for your goals and needs.
Once the type of bankruptcy you will be filing for has been determined, it’s time to gather and prepare all of the necessary documentation. This documentation includes not only the petition for bankruptcy but numerous additional documents which supplement the petition with detailed financial information.
After filing your paperwork, your attorney can help you negotiate with your creditors to arrive at a suitable repayment plan and to ensure all of your debts are addressed.
Our Chester County, PA Bankruptcy Lawyers Can Help
If you or someone you love is thinking about filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7, call the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates at (609) 755-3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701-6519 in Pennsylvania to speak with an experienced Chester County, Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer, or contact us online.