Maple Shade, NJ Bankruptcy Lawyer
While bankruptcy can seem like a daunting legal process, debtors can help ensure it goes smoothly by properly preparing for bankruptcy in Maple Shade.
Debtors in Maple Shade can prepare for bankruptcy by taking several steps. Begin by organizing your debt so that you have a better understanding of your financial situation. All debtors must complete a credit counseling course before they petition for bankruptcy in New Jersey. Debtors can also get their income assessed via the means test so that they know which bankruptcy chapter they should file. If you can only file Chapter 7, identify which liquidation exemptions you would like to use to protect your assets while repaying creditors. If debtors are eligible for Chapter 13, our attorneys can draft their repayment plans so that they can understand their repayment requirements before they file in Maple Shade.
To have your case analyzed by our Maple Shade, NJ bankruptcy lawyers, call the attorneys at Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates now at (609) 755-3115.
How to Prepare for Bankruptcy in Maple Shade, NJ
Declaring bankruptcy is a serious decision that should not be made lightly. While bankruptcy can allow one to start improving their financial health, debtors should also be well-informed before taking this path. Prior to filing for bankruptcy, there are certain things debtors are required to do, and others that are simply good to address so that debtors are prepared for the bankruptcy process.
Organize Your Debt
Before you file for bankruptcy in Maple Shade, our bankruptcy lawyers will organize your debt and finances. This will allow you to better understand your dischargeable and non-dischargeable debts and how much you owe to creditors. It is also important to identify all of your creditors, especially the ones attached to your non-dischargeable debt, as those will be the creditors most involved in your bankruptcy proceedings. By organizing your debt and thoroughly understanding your financial information, you can enter bankruptcy more confident and prepared.
Decide to File Jointly or Independently
When debtors are married, it is important to understand the implications of filing for bankruptcy jointly with their spouses. When you do this, your credit, as well as your spouse’s, will be affected. This might make it more challenging for you and your spouse to make large purchases for several years. If your debt is your own, consider filing independently so that your spouse is not so severely impacted by your decision to enter bankruptcy. If both you and your spouse have debt, but one of you has debt that is mostly dischargeable, it might be best to both file, but independently of one another.
Take a Credit Counseling Course
In New Jersey, all debtors seeking bankruptcy must take a credit counseling course before they file. This is required and must be done within 180 days before the bankruptcy petition is filed. If debtors file jointly with their spouses, they can take the same credit counseling course together. These courses can even be completed online in Maple Shade. Credit counseling courses cover a wide range of information, such as advice on how to rebuild credit, how to spend money responsibly, how to budget, how to use credit cards, and how to read credit reports, among many other helpful tips. If you do not take an approved credit counseling course, you will be unable to declare bankruptcy according to your desired timeline.
Take the Means Test
While there are official bankruptcy forms for means testing, our attorneys can use the necessary equations to compare your income to the income used as the parameter in the means test to help determine the type of bankruptcy you can file in Maple Shade. Means testing is done by assessing a debtor’s income over the past six months and comparing that to the median income for similar households in their state. If your income exceeds New Jersey’s median income, you can file Chapter 13 in Maple Shade. If your income is lower than New Jersey’s median income, you will likely have to file Chapter 7. Determining your bankruptcy chapter is necessary before filing so that you know what to expect from the process.
Identify Liquidation Exemptions
If Chapter 7 best suits your situation, you might have to liquidate some assets to repay creditors. If most or all of your debt is dischargeable, it will be erased, and you will not have to repay it. That said, many debtors have secured debts that cannot be discharged. In these situations, debtors that file Chapter 7 have to repay creditors through liquidation. Fortunately, there are liquidation exemptions debtors can use to protect certain assets. While New Jersey’s liquidation exemptions do not cover many assets, debtors in Maple Shade can use federal exemptions, which tend to cover more assets, such as a debtor’s home or car. It is important to determine which liquidation exemptions you plan on using so that you can cite them in your initial bankruptcy petition.
Draft a Repayment Plan
Once you file your bankruptcy petition with the court in Maple Shade, the process will begin, and you will have to submit additional forms and supplementary materials. This includes a repayment plan if you have filed Chapter 13. Repayment plans must be submitted to the court for review within two weeks of a bankruptcy filing. To ensure your repayment plan is prepared, our attorneys will draft it beforehand. Repayment plans consider a debtor’s income, as well as their non-dischargeable debt. Depending on the amount you owe, your repayment plan might take between three and five years to finish. While drafting a repayment plan can allow you to feel prepared, understand that your payment responsibility might decrease if negotiations with creditors are successful.
Contact Our Maple Shade, NJ Lawyers About Your Bankruptcy Case Now
To schedule a free discussion of your case with Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, call our bankruptcy lawyers today at (609) 755-3115.