Vineland, NJ Bankruptcy Lawyer
Deciding to file for bankruptcy is never an easy moment. However, bankruptcy is there to help individuals out of the financial trouble they are in.
Several reasons could make bankruptcy the right choice for you and your family. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debts, our bankruptcy attorneys can help you file your claim. Depending on your situation, you can file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Each option will help alleviate the pressure you are under but will have different consequences for the property you own.
If you feel like you have no options because of your financial situation, our bankruptcy lawyers can help you get back on the path to financial recovery. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (609) 755-3115 for a free case assessment.
When to File for Bankruptcy in Vineland, NJ
It is common for some people to be embarrassed when contemplating filing for bankruptcy in Vineland. However, there is no shame in filing for bankruptcy, and many people take advantage of it daily to help them regain financial stability. It is a legal tool designed specifically for that purpose and can help you get creditors to back off while you figure out what to do next. Our bankruptcy lawyers can help you determine what steps to take next and how to protect your rights during the bankruptcy process.
Filing for bankruptcy is often the best way for Vineland residents to overcome significant financial difficulties. Through bankruptcy, you can discharge many debts that have been weighing you down. While some of your assets might be sold off to satisfy your debts, there are ways of protecting certain properties from being “liquidated.”
You should consider speaking with our team if you feel you have no options to address your financial burdens. We can explain the benefits of each type of bankruptcy claim New Jersey offers and which is best suited to your particular circumstances. Importantly, an automatic stay will go into effect once your bankruptcy petition is approved, which will put a stop to creditors’ calls and collection attempts. Our bankruptcy attorneys are ready to help file your bankruptcy claim to get you back on the road to recovery.
Filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Vineland, NJ
Vineland residents typically have two options when filing for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. While each one will help you address your debts, the benefits provided by each chapter are quite different and will greatly impact the properties you possess. Depending on your situation, one plan will likely be more suitable than the other.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is popular because it is the fastest and often most straightforward option to satisfy your debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is referred to as “liquidation” bankruptcy, meaning that a petitioner’s assets will be sold off to pay back their creditors. Understandably, you might be concerned that you will lose important property vital to you and your family. While it is true that some assets will be liquidated to satisfy your debts, both New Jersey and the federal government offer exemptions to protect certain types of property so that the petitioner is not left completely destitute after completing bankruptcy proceedings. However, you can only apply one set of exemptions to your case.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not automatic upon filing. Petitioners must qualify by passing a “means test,” in which the court will determine if their income is too low to possibly pay off their debts without bankruptcy relief. Our bankruptcy attorneys can review your case to see if filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for your situation. Our bankruptcy lawyers can help you prepare your Chapter 7 bankruptcy claim.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a more attractive option if the individual filing the claim wishes to keep their property. Chapter 13 allows petitioners to retain their assets if the court approves their repayment plan. A repayment plan will detail how you will satisfy your debts and what means you have to accomplish the goal. One of the benefits is that your debts will typically be consolidated under the plan, which could lead to lower monthly payments at a lower interest rate. However, plans can last anywhere from three to five years, and monthly payments cannot be missed without negatively impacting your case.
Like Chapter 7, you must pass a means test to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The court will review your case to determine if you have sufficient income to accomplish the terms set out in your repayment plan. Our bankruptcy lawyers can help you determine if you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy and file your petition.
Eligibility for Bankruptcy in Vineland, NJ
Before we begin filing for bankruptcy, we need to make sure you are even eligible. Bankruptcy can be a big help for those facing overwhelming debts, but not just anyone can file. Depending on which chapter you file under, you might have too much debt or not enough to be eligible for bankruptcy. Your lawyer can help determine whether bankruptcy is a good fit for you.
If you think Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a good idea, you must pass a means test. This test measures your income and assets against your debts. If your debts are not high enough or your assets are more valuable than you realize, you might not qualify. Your income should not be higher than the state median income at the time you file your case. If it is, you might be better positioned to pay your debts, and Chapter 7 might not be the best fit for you.
Instead, you might be better suited for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. To be eligible, you must have regular, steading income and owe only so much debt. Your noncontingent or liquidated unsecured debts (e.g., credit cards, hospital bills) may amount to no more than $336,900. If you have secured debts (e.g., a mortgage), it may be valued at no more than $1,010,650. If you owe more than these limits, you might not be in a position to repay debts under a Chapter 13 payment plan.
If one, both, or neither of these bankruptcy Chapters seem to be the right fit for you, talk to your lawyer. Your attorney can help you choose the best path forward or look into other options.
What Happens After You File for Bankruptcy in Vineland, NJ
A lot happens after you file for bankruptcy. Some things happen almost instantaneously. For example, once your case is filed and accepted by the court, they will put an automatic stay in place. The automatic stay does a number of things for your benefit.
First, the automatic stay prevents any creditors from contacting you for payment. If you have been dealing with credit card companies, banks, or other creditors hassling you through the mail or over the phone, that must stop immediately. Tell your lawyer if any creditors reach out to you for payment during the automatic stay.
Next, the automatic stay halts any legal proceedings pending against you and prevents new ones from being filed, at least for the time being. This can be a massive relief for people facing imminent foreclosure, as all foreclosure proceedings will stop in their tracks.
Creditors are also notified of your bankruptcy filing. This is partly because they must be informed of the automatic stay, but creditors may also be given the opportunity to voice objections or concerns about the case going forward. Creditors want to make sure they get paid something. If they feel they are being cheated, they may speak up.
At this time, we may need to develop a payment plan to be approved by the court (creditors may object) if you file for Chapter 13. If you file for Chapter 7, the trustee in charge of your case might start evaluating assets for liquidation.
Debts that Can be Discharged Through Bankruptcy in Vineland, NJ
One of the most important questions when filing for bankruptcy in Vineland is what debts of theirs will be discharged. When a debt is discharged, you are no longer legally responsible for it and can focus on managing the debts you could not discharge, if you have any. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets will be liquidated to satisfy and discharge these debts. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan, your debts will be discharged once you have completed your monthly payments. The following debts are some that might be discharged in a Vineland bankruptcy case:
- Credit card bills
- Medical bills
- Student loans
- Child support
- Homeowners association fees
The types of debts you can discharge will depend on the type of bankruptcy you file and qualify for. Either way, once discharged, your debts are effectively erased. Our bankruptcy attorneys can help you determine what debts you can discharge and how to do so.
Do I Need a Lawyer to File for Bankruptcy in Vineland, NJ?
People do not always have lawyers when they file for bankruptcy, and courts are ready to handle petitioners who are unrepresented. However, proceeding on your own without any legal representation is not a good idea. While the bankruptcy process is not as adversarial as other kinds of legal proceedings, you still need to be protective of your rights and financial interests. An attorney experienced with bankruptcy is in the best position to provide help.
First, your attorney can help you decide which bankruptcy chapter is right for your situation. Many people might qualify for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, and they might pick one at random. This is not a good idea. Your attorney can help you consider the pros and cons of each chapter that you might not be aware of so you can make a more informed decision.
Next, your lawyer can help you protect your assets. If you choose to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which focuses on liquidating property and assets, you might think that you will lose everything so you can have a fresh start. Your attorney can help you claim certain exemptions so that you can retain some assets, like equity in your home, vehicles, and even sentimental personal belongings like jewelry. There are different exemptions offered by the federal and state governments, and a lawyer can help you choose wisely.
Your attorney can also help you deal with creditors while you come up with a payment plan if Chapter 13 is the way you go. The payment plan must be aggressive yet feasible and approved by the court. Creditors are given the opportunity to object to payment plans they think are not aggressive enough. Your lawyer can help you stand up to demanding creditors and keep your payment plan within your means while allowing you to tackle your debt.
What Happens After Bankruptcy Proceedings Are Complete in Vineland, NJ?
While filing for bankruptcy can help people get debts discharged so they can move on with a clean slate, there are some downsides. Bankruptcy is not a get-out-of-jail-free card, and there are various consequences for people who file for bankruptcy. Keep in mind that many of these consequences are financial and relate to credit. Again, bankruptcy is neither a punishment nor intended to penalize people for their financial situation.
Perhaps the biggest concern among people filing for bankruptcy is their credit and credit score. Your credit is how lenders, banks, and creditors assess you before they offer loans or other financial opportunities. Bankruptcy tends to take a big toll on a person’s credit. Not only will it significantly lower your credit score, but it will also be reflected in your credit history. If you want to take out a loan to go to school, start a business, or make a large purchase like a home or car, your creditor will see your bankruptcy in your history and be more likely to deny you.
Our Vineland, NJ Bankruptcy Lawyers Can Help
If you are considering bankruptcy, our bankruptcy lawyers can help you determine the best way to secure your and your family’s financial security. Contact Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates today at (609) 755-3115 for a free case review.