Lansdale, PA Bankruptcy Attorney
Living with excessive debt can be a nightmare. When you are unable to pay off your bills, the constant collection attempts from creditors can make you afraid to answer your phone or open up your own mailbox. You may be concerned about your utilities being shut off for nonpayment. You may even worry about how you will keep your car, or your house. You may feel like you have nowhere to turn.
Fortunately, for many Pennsylvanians living with debts which they cannot repay, there is a solution: filing for bankruptcy. Consumer bankruptcy may be more widespread than you think. According to figures compiled by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, during the 2013 fiscal year Montgomery County reported 1,480 bankruptcy cases. For the current fiscal year, Montgomery County has reported 515 cases to date. With 515 cases, Montgomery County ranks #2 for the most bankruptcy cases in Pennsylvania, surpassed only by Philadelphia County.
Do You Need a Bankruptcy Lawyer to File for Bankruptcy?
Often, individuals who are thinking about filing for consumer bankruptcy are hesitant to hire an attorney because they are concerned about the costs which may be involved. These concerns may even cause them to represent themselves pro se (without an attorney). However, there are two very good reasons not to do this when you are filing for bankruptcy.
1. We are affordable. We understand that when you are already being overwhelmed by debt, it seems unthinkable to consider adding another expense. Our attorneys have been handling bankruptcy cases for decades, and we completely understand the financial concerns our clients often express. We offer cost-effective legal representation with flexible payment plans to accommodate all budgets.
2. Successfully filing without a lawyer is extremely difficult. This is not simply our opinion — it’s an opinion which is shared by the federal court system. Excerpts from the official website of the United States Courts explain why filing pro se is not a strong legal strategy:
“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. […] Individual bankruptcy cases are randomly audited to determine the accuracy, truthfulness, and completeness of the information that the debtor is required to provide. […] Pro se litigants should be familiar with the United States Bankruptcy Code, the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, and the local rules of the court in which the case is filed.”
The Courts also state, in bolded letters:
“Bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences — hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended.”
How Does Bankruptcy Help Eliminate Debt?
Bankruptcy is common for a reason: it’s an extremely powerful tool which offers advantages to debtors which would be unattainable otherwise.
The core benefit of bankruptcy is, of course, the ability to eliminate debt. (In fact, many people are surprised to learn bankruptcy comes with benefits besides debt elimination.) Debts which can be eliminated through bankruptcy are referred to as “dischargeable” debts, while debts which cannot be relieved by bankruptcy are referred to as “nondischargeable” debts.
The good news is, most debts are classified as dischargeable, including some of the most common and costly types of debt. Debts which can be discharged through consumer bankruptcy include:
- Credit Card Debt
- Medical Debt
- Personal Debt
- Overdue Rent Payments
- Social Security Overpayments
- Utility Bills
Debts which are generally nondischargeable include:
- Tax Debt
- Alimony Payments
- Child Support Payments
- Student Loan Debt
The Automatic Stay
The U.S. Courts define the automatic stay as:
“An injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments, and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.”
In other words, as soon as you file your initial petition for bankruptcy, the benefits of the automatic stay begin working. These benefits include:
- No more creditor contact. Creditors cannot continue to make collection attempts against you.
- Return of a full salary. The automatic stay ends wage garnishment, returning your full paycheck.
- Uninterrupted utility services. The automatic stay can postpone utility shut-offs.
When you work with a Lansdale, Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer from our firm, you can feel confident that your rights under the automatic stay will be fully protected. You don’t have to worry about harassment from creditors any longer.
Building a Future of Good Credit
There are many pernicious and persistent myths about bankruptcy. One of the most damaging is the myth that bankruptcy will destroy your credit forever. The reality is just the opposite because bankruptcy actually builds a platform for good credit in the future. Bankruptcy relieves petitioners from their backlog of debts, allowing them to start fresh with a clean financial slate. While the record of a bankruptcy may hurt your credit at first, steady and timely payments on your utility and credit card bills can gradually rebuild your credit to a healthy, normal level. Debtors can start to see improvements to their credit score in as little as six months following a bankruptcy.
Our Lansdale, PA Bankruptcy Attorneys Offer Free Consultations
If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Lansdale, you don’t have to navigate the process on your own. For a private, cost-free legal consultation with an experienced Lansdale, Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney, call the law offices of Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 701-6519, or contact us online.