Cumberland County, PA Bankruptcy Lawyers
Filing for bankruptcy can be one of the most stressful and intimidating financial decisions a person might have to make. Bankruptcy law is notoriously complex, and your family’s security and property can be significantly impacted if a wrong choice is made. But ignoring financial problems will not make them disappear, and filing for bankruptcy might be the best option for your long-term financial security.
An experienced Cumberland County bankruptcy lawyer can help make filing for bankruptcy much easier. Depending on your finances, different filing options will be available. However, it is important to understand the distinctions between the two types of bankruptcy you can file as it will affect what property you may retain and what debts could be discharged.
If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, our Cumberland County bankruptcy lawyers are here to help you regain financial stability. For a free case review, call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane today at (215) 701-6519.
How a Cumberland County, PA Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help
Filing for bankruptcy is a serious decision, but it does not have to be terrifying. The more you know about filing for bankruptcy, the more confident you will be when making decisions that will impact your finances. This is where a skilled Cumberland County bankruptcy lawyer can help. Understanding the filing options available for your bankruptcy case will be important.
Type of Bankruptcy to File
Two types of bankruptcy are potentially available to file: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Each has its own requirements to qualify. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are also intended to do very different things for individuals and will impact the your property rights differently. The type of bankruptcy that you will need to file will depend on your current income and outstanding debts.
After hiring an attorney and filing and qualifying for the appropriate type of bankruptcy, what is known as an automatic stay will go into effect. An automatic stay is a powerful form of relief as it prevents creditors from continuing any harassing calls and emails and from starting any new collection actions against you. An automatic stay usually provides significant relief for individuals trying to get their financial affairs in order without the endless harassment from creditors slowing their progress. For instance, any pending lawsuits involving your debts would need to stop, and you would need to be given access to any bank accounts that were frozen.
Which Debts are Discharged
A Cumberland County bankruptcy lawyer can also explain what debts are likely to be discharged and which debts might not. Unsecured debt can typically be discharged, including credit card bills, medical bills, and personal loans. Secured debt, however, is tied to collateral, which entitles the lender to repossess the property if a person defaults. Other debts are not dischargeable, however, including child support, alimony payments, criminal restitution, and, in most cases, student loan debt.
Exemptions that Protect Property
Many Cumberland County residents may not be aware that there are exemptions that will potentially protect their property after filing for bankruptcy. Both Pennsylvania and the federal government offer exemption options. However, you must pick one set of exemptions to apply to your assets. Which set of exemptions would be most suitable will depend on your financial circumstances at the time of filing. Our Cumberland County bankruptcy lawyers are ready to discuss the best ways to protect you and your family’s financial security.
Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Cumberland County, PA
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, commonly known as liquidation, might not be your best option if you intend to retain your property and not have it repossessed. However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy might eliminate certain debts quickly, saving a great deal of stress and money.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is meant for people who might not be capable of paying back their debts, and a “means test” will need to be passed to qualify. The test compares the median income for the state with your income, and if your income is less than the state median, you are eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If the median income for the state is less than your income, the amount of disposable income remaining at the end of the month after bills will be analyzed to see if you still qualify.
However, Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not provide much protection from some types of assets being repossessed as collateral, like residential homes and cars. Also, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can remain on your credit report for ten years following your successful filing. Our Cumberland County bankruptcy lawyers can help you decide if filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides the best solution for you.
Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Cumberland County, PA
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may have more advantages than filing for Chapter 7. After filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be allowed to keep your property and assets so long as you make repayments. When filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must develop and submit a repayment plan detailing how you will satisfy your debts. A Chapter 13 repayment plan typically lasts from three to five years. Also, an automatic stay will go into effect after successfully filing.
To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will analyze your finances to see if you can financially support yourself while making your planned repayments as detailed in your repayment plan. If the court determines that you will not be able to balance the repayments in your plan with the current state of your finances, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will not be available to you. Further, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for about seven years after your creditors have been satisfied, which is still preferable to Chapter 7. Our Cumberland County bankruptcy lawyers can help you craft a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan that best ensures your long-term financial health.
Our Cumberland County, PA Bankruptcy Lawyers Can Help
If your financial problems are becoming overwhelming and you are considering filing for bankruptcy, our Cumberland County bankruptcy lawyers can provide you with a free case assessment to see what options are available to you. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Deane at (215) 701-6519.