Should I Hire An Attorney
Filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy both require a person to accurately fill out several forms, listing all of their sources of income, debts, and property. There are several prerequisites that must be met before filing, and failing to do any of these may result in delays or dismissal of the case. Its also crucial that a person filing for bankruptcy understands what debts are eligible to be discharged and what debts have been deemed non-dischargeable by the rules.
The proceedings themselves will also require at least one court appearance, and potentially more if a creditor objects to the inclusion of a particular debt in the bankruptcy or to a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Knowing how to respond to these objections may make the difference between a debt being discharged or continuing to be owed at the completion of the bankruptcy. There are several more reasons why its best to consider hiring an attorney to help navigate this complex process.
How To File Bankruptcy In New Jersey For Free
The biggest expense for folks filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey usually takes the form of attorney’s fees, followed by the $338 court filing fee. Folks who can’t afford a lawyer for their New Jersey bankruptcy don’t have to have one and can file “pro se” instead. Additionally, if you make less than $1,600 per month , you qualify to have the court fees waived.
Complete The Bankruptcy Forms
This step is where things tend to get a little bit complicated. The bankruptcy forms you have to file with the court for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey are long and a little bit tedious to go through. If you don’t have an attorney, and are not eligible to get help from Upsolve or another legal aid organization, then you will have to complete the forms on your own. The good news is that all of the official forms and instructions are available for free online. You have to sign all the forms under penalty of perjury before filing your bankruptcy in New Jersey, and this real housewife from New Jersey is an example of what happens if you are not 100% truthful in your forms. Remember, filing Chapter 7 in New Jersey is a serious step, so take your time when completing your bankruptcy forms to avoid problems down the road.
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Chapter 7 Vs Chapter 1: Which Type Of Bankruptcy Should I File
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process typically lasts from four to six months, though the timeline of each case varies. When you file for Chapter 7, the court will appoint a trustee to assess the bankruptcy estate, or all of a debtors assets at the time of filing. Depending on how much you owe and the value of your assets, the trustee may sell certain belongings to help repay your debts. However, the bankruptcy code provides several protections, called exemptions, that your New Jersey bankruptcy attorney will use to allow you to keep most, if not all, of your property. If there is non-exempt property available, it may be advisable to file Chapter 13.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a longer process that may take three to five years, depending on your debts and disposable income. When you file Chapter 13, you must file a bankruptcy plan. As long as you make consistent payments and comply with the terms of your plan, you should be able to keep all of your property.
One of the great benefits of Chapter 13 is the opportunity for homeowners to catch up on missed mortgage payments, or arrearages, preventing foreclosure or a scheduled sheriff sale. If you are worried about losing your home and want to stop foreclosure, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be one of your strongest options, depending on your financial circumstances and how far the proceedings have advanced. Our experienced bankruptcy lawyers can help you determine which chapter of bankruptcy is right for your situation.
If You Need To File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
There are many reasons to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7. You might want to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because you wish to catch up on mortgage arrears, get rid of your second mortgage, cram down your car loans, or pay back nondischargeable priority debts, such as back taxes or support arrears. Or maybe you make too much money to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. No matter your reason, most Chapter 13 cases are too difficult to file on your own.
In addition to filling out the bankruptcy forms , you must also design a proposed repayment plan, which is very difficult to do without the expensive software that most attorneys use. Specific actions such as stripping your second mortgage or cramming down a car loan will require filing additional bankruptcy motions and paperwork with the court.
As a result, some attorneys limit their bankruptcy practice to Chapter 7 because they feel they are not qualified to handle Chapter 13. And, an overwhelming majority of Chapter 13 cases filed without an attorney get dismissed by the court. So if you are planning to file a Chapter 13, it is a good idea to hire a qualified attorney.
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Dealing With Your Car Loan
If you own a car that you still owe on, youâll have to let the bank and the court know what you want to do with it one one of your bankruptcy forms.
If you want to surrender the car to the lender and discharge the debt, you donât have to do anything other than stop making your payments. The bank will either file request with the bankruptcy court to ask permission to retake the car, or wait until your discharge is granted before picking it up.
If you want to keep the car, you can either reaffirm the loan or redeem the car. If youâre reaffirming your loan, the bank will send you a reaffirmation agreement after your case is filed. You have to complete and sign the agreement and return it to the bank within 45 days from your 341 meeting. The bank files the signed agreement with the court for approval.
To redeem the vehicle you have to file a motion with the court and, once granted, buy the car from the bank for its current value. This gets you out of having to pay the amount left on the loan, but payment has to be made in one lump sum.
Filing for bankruptcy takes some preparation. Hiring a good bankruptcy attorney is one way to file. But if you can’t afford the attorney fees to hire one and you need a fresh start, Upsolve may be able to help. If you’re eligible, our free web app will walk you through the process and help you prepare your forms for filing with the court.
Check out the video below â¬ï¸ to see how it works!
Bankruptcy Education Courses: $50
One small fee that you mustnt forget covers credit counseling. Completion of two credit counseling courses is required for petitioners in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. You must consult a nonprofit credit counseling agency to arrange to take the course. The Office of the U.S. Trustee, the federal agency that oversees the counseling requirement, sets reasonable fees for such courses at free to $50. The course can be taken in person or online.
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Criminal Trials In Pennsylvania And New Jersey
If your case goes to trial, our attorneys can represent you in the courtroom. We can cross-examine the prosecutions witnesses and evidence, fighting to have prejudicial evidence thrown out. We can also present witnesses and evidence of our own to call the prosecutions facts into question and give the jury enough reasonable doubt to acquit you and find you not guilty.
The New Jersey Courts Will Not:
Give you legal advice. Only a lawyer can give you legal advice.
Tell you whether or not you should bring your case to court. Talk to a lawyer about the merits of your case and where to file.
Tell you what will happen if you bring your case to court. Talk to a lawyer about whether you can win your case.
Recommend a lawyer. Talk to multiple lawyers. Find one you like.
Talk to the judge for you about what will happen in your case. The only time to talk to the judge is in court with both sides of the case present.
Doesnt Filing For Bankruptcy Ruin My Reputation And My Life
Not if it gets you out of debt. You might be able to run from creditors for a while, but eventually the stress of that overwhelms people. Bankruptcy lets you stop running and start over again. It may take a few years for you to get loans and obtain credit again, but at least youll have that opportunity. Bankruptcy is meant to give people who made financial mistakes a second chance. In todays turbulent economy, that is a good thing.
Other Benefits Of Chapter 13 Bankruptcies In New Jersey
Often, people who do not qualify for Chapter 7 believe that filing for bankruptcy will not offer them any substantial relief. While stopping a foreclosure or sheriff sale is a significant benefit of Chapter 13, this type of bankruptcy offers additional advantages over dealing directly with your creditors as well as some other benefits that are not readily apparent.
First of all, it is likely that if you do not qualify for Chapter 7, you will be required to pay your unsecured debts. However, in many cases, the amount that a debtor must pay is substantially less than the total amount owed and significantly less than the amount that would satisfy a creditor outside bankruptcy.
For example, a person might have $75,000 in credit card debt. Outside of bankruptcy, creditors could file a collection lawsuit and be awarded a judgment and subsequent wage garnishment. Under these circumstances, money will be deducted directly from a persons paycheck often leaving them less than they need to meet their average monthly expenses. Furthermore, any settlement agreement would probably require paying a significant amount of the total due over a short period. Additionally, if an agreement is made, a person will owe federal income tax on any debt that is forgiven through the agreement.
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Consider Hiring A Bankruptcy Preparer
Even if you have a simple Chapter 7 case, bankruptcy can be an intimidating and time-consuming process. You will need to accurately fill out many forms, research the law, and attend hearings. If you understand bankruptcy law but would like help completing the formsthe average bankruptcy petition is approximately 50 pages in lengthyou might consider hiring a bankruptcy petition preparer.
New Jersey Bankruptcy Forms
New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy forms are available, for free, on the court’s website. The majority of the forms are national forms, which are the same all across the country. The court does have some mandatory local forms, but none of them are needed to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey. If you move while your case is pending, it’s important to amend the necessary online bankruptcy forms to provide the court and your trustee with your updated address.
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Debts That Can And Cant Be Discharged In Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 should dismiss most of the debts you owe, but there are some hard-and-fast debts that cant be discharged in Chapter 7.
The list of non-dischargeable debts includes:
- Child support
- Student loans must prove undue hardship
- HOA fees if you surrender your home or condo
- Any other form of unsecured debt.
Talk With A New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyer
If you are facing financial difficulties and you dont know if bankruptcy is the best choice, talk with a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney. A good NJ bankruptcy lawyer will go over your options and help you make the best choice for your specific situation. Call the attorneys Scura, Wigfield, Heyer, Stevens, and Cammarota today at 870-0434 to schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney.
Filing For Bankruptcy In New Jersey
Filing for bankruptcy can seem like a complex and daunting process when you are first learning about the subject. However, with the assistance of our seasoned and capable New Jersey bankruptcy attorneys, obtaining a successful discharge is within your reach.
Before you file for bankruptcy in New Jersey, you will be required to complete credit counseling, which can only be administered by a government-approved agency. Once you have submitted proof that you have completed credit counseling successfully, you may file for bankruptcy, provided you meet the residency requirements necessary to file in New Jersey. If this is your second time filing bankruptcy, you may be subject to specific waiting periods before you can obtain another discharge from the bankruptcy court.
A bankruptcy filing consists of several documents, or schedules, that must be completed and submitted to the court. The first document is the bankruptcy petition. This form contains all of the basic information about the individual filing bankruptcy, including the chapter of bankruptcy. Following that will be several schedules that list all of a debtors assets, income, and expenses, as well as other financial information. To complete these documents, your experienced New Jersey bankruptcy attorney will need a number of financial statements, including copies of bank statements, income tax returns, and pay stubs.
Expect Increased Oversight By The Court
Even if it looks like you will not have any non-exempt assets, filing a Chapter 7 case pro se is still a daunting task. Since your situation is somewhat out of the ordinary, your trustee will likely take special interest in your case, if only to ensure you have listed everything properly. The trustee may ask you for additional documents, like copies of tax returns, house papers, car papers, and bank account statements.
Your meeting of creditors may take longer than for filers who are represented by attorneys so the trustee can do a thorough job of examining you under oath. For the same reason, your creditors will often look more carefully at your paperwork.
Keep in mind that the information you provide the court has to be complete and accurate. You will sign your paperwork under penalty of perjury, and later you will have to testify as to its accuracy under oath. The consequences of lying are severe. If you are willing to put up with that much scrutiny, you must still be mindful of the pitfalls you might encounter that can derail your attempt to go it alone unscathed.
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Types Of Bankruptcy In Nj
If you are facing financial challenges in your personal life or in your business, chances are the concept of filing bankruptcy has crossed your mind. If it has, it also makes sense that you have a lot of bankruptcy questions that need answers. Many people actually cannot answer the question what is bankruptcy in anything except general terms.
Understanding bankruptcy law and when it makes sense for you to consider filing bankruptcy is an important decision for your current circumstances, and also for your future. Bankruptcy allows individuals, burdened by overwhelming debt, to obtain a fresh start and wipe out dischargable debt. One of our firm’s primary practice areas is representing clients in bankruptcy cases in Chapter 7, Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 under the Bankruptcy Code.
As expert attorneys in all things bankruptcy related, we are committed to providing you the best advice for your specific situation. That starts with us listening to you and understanding what brought you to this place, then continues with us educating you about the options for debt relief and answering all your bankruptcy questions.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy In Pennsylvania And New Jersey
Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize your assets and pause credit collection so that you can make a new plan to pay back creditors. Chapter 13 does not require a means test and is available for people who might have more assets that they want to protect, such as homes and cars. In Chapter 13 cases, the court will look at your finances and your debts, prioritize them appropriately, and make a plan for you to pay back creditors.
Because your property is not liquidated in Chapter 13, many bankruptcy applicants use this option when they have property or tools that they use for work or homes and cars that they need to keep access to.
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How A Pennsylvania And New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help
Filing for bankruptcy might be the financial reset you need, but it is not something that should be done lightly or without professional assistance. There are many ways that a bankruptcy case can become overwhelming, and there are many financial and legal questions that you might not know how to handle on your own. Our attorneys can help you by determining what options are right in your case, what type of bankruptcy will help, what exceptions and exemptions might apply to protect your assets, and more. We can also work to protect you from potential pitfalls, all the while keeping your best interests as our top priority.
Chapter 13 And Chapter 11 Plan Payments
In reorganization bankruptcy cases, the cost of filing bankruptcy includes individuals and businesses making payments to their creditors through a plan of reorganization. In a Chapter 13 case, these payments begin in the first month after the filing of the petition. In a Chapter 11 case, these payments begin months into the case, or longer, and only after the bankruptcy court has confirmed a Chapter 11 plan of reorganization. Plan disbursements are generally the largest cost in a reorganization bankruptcy. However, in many cases, these disbursements can amount to pennies on the dollar owed to the Chapter 11 debtors creditors.
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