Montgomery County, PA Bankruptcy Lawyer
Filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is often the fastest way to get a fresh financial start. People who are overwhelmed with credit card bills, utility expenses, and other debts are often hesitant to consider bankruptcy as an option. However, it is important to remember that bankruptcy was specifically designed for individuals and couples who are facing financial hardship.
At Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates, it is our priority to help our clients understand the advantages and disadvantages of filing for bankruptcy. This includes dispelling many of the myths and misconceptions associated with filing for bankruptcy – especially a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Our experienced Montgomery County, PA bankruptcy lawyers have been assisting people through their economic difficulties for over two decades. Our compassionate attorneys and staff understand that this is a difficult time, so we offer professional and discreet representation. If you have any questions regarding Chapter 7 or bankruptcy in general, call our law offices at (215) 701-6519.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Montgomery County
More Chapter 7 bankruptcies are filed in Montgomery County than in any other chapter. When people think of bankruptcy, they probably imagine something similar to Chapter 7. Commonly referred to as a “liquidation bankruptcy,” Chapter 7 allows an individual or couple to discharge a substantial amount of debt in four to six months.
Chapter 7 may sound too good to be true. While there are some strings attached, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy could quickly improve your financial condition. Only certain people qualify for Chapter 7. Fortunately, the requirements are not as stringent as many people believe.
To qualify for Chapter 7, you will have to pass a means test. This test requires looking at your average household income for the previous six months and determining if it is above or below the median income in your area. If it is below, you are eligible to file a Chapter 7. If your income is higher, you could still qualify after deducting a number of allowed expenses.
Another fear people have regarding Chapter 7 is losing their property. When you file for bankruptcy, all your assets go into the bankruptcy estate. A court-appointed trustee could sell anything in the bankruptcy estate to pay back your creditors. However, the Bankruptcy Code and state law provide exemptions that a debtor could use to protect their property. Nearly every Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Montgomery County is administered as a “no asset” bankruptcy. This means that the debtor could protect everything they owed. Our office will thoroughly review your personal property and other assets to determine if anything is at risk if you file for bankruptcy.
The Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcies in Montgomery County
Chapter 7 is designed for people with limited assets and income who are overwhelmed by debt. For individuals plagued by collection letters, phone calls, and lawsuits, filing for Chapter 7 might be the best option available. However, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not appropriate for every situation. For example, if you are behind on your mortgage and your home is in foreclosure, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will probably not allow you to keep your house.
While it will temporarily stop a sheriff’s sale, there is no mechanism to pay your mortgage arrears through Chapter 7. The most significant difference between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan that provides monthly payments to secured and priority creditors.
When you first meet with one of our experienced Montgomery County bankruptcy lawyers, they will review your income, debts, and financial goals to help determine what chapter of bankruptcy would be most beneficial.
Dischargeable and Non-Dischargeable Debts Through a Montgomery County Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
While Chapter 7 could be the first step to getting back on your financial feet, it does not address every problem you might have. First of all, only certain types of debts are eliminated. Through Chapter 7, a filer will be able to discharge a vast amount of their unsecured debt, including credit cards, medical bills, personal loans, some taxes, and certain utility bills. Our Montgomery County bankruptcy lawyers will carefully review your debts and outstanding bills, so you understand what will be discharged.
However, not every debt is dischargeable. If you owe back alimony, child support, or criminal restitution, you will not be permitted to eliminate your obligations. Furthermore, most tax debts will survive your bankruptcy. Utility bills could be discharged unless the utility company obtained a municipal lien on your property.
Secured debts, such as mortgages or car loans, are not dischargeable unless you surrender the property. For example, if you are months behind on your car payments and cannot afford the regular payments, you could return the car to the lender and discharge the remaining balance due under your loan. This way, you could avoid a deficiency judgment.
Student loans are generally not dischargeable through bankruptcy. However, that does not mean it is impossible. If you are struggling with student loan payments, talk with our knowledgeable Montgomery County bankruptcy lawyers to discuss ways to address your debt.
Contact Our Experienced Montgomery County, PA Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys
Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is never easy. However, making a call to one of our sympathetic Montgomery County, PA bankruptcy lawyers is. By taking the time to meet with one of our attorneys, you will have a better understanding of your financial position, your options, and the bankruptcy process. For many people, filing for bankruptcy provides financial relief and peace of mind. Call Young, Marr, Mallis & Associates at (215) 701-6519 to start down the path to financial freedom.