Fill Out Bankruptcy Paperwork
Filing for bankruptcy requires you to fill in dozens of pages of forms detailing your current debts, assets, income, and expenses, as well as your intentions regarding loans that are secured by collateral, such as a mortgage or vehicle loans.
To get ready, youll want to be sure you have complete information about:
- your creditors, including the type of debt and how much you owe
- your income, including sources, amount, and frequency
- your property, including its current value and whether it is classified as exempt under the bankruptcy code, and
- your living expenses, including type, amount, and frequency.
If youre the diligent, organized type, you can prepare your own bankruptcy forms, but this is one place where you will probably appreciate professional help or at least the guidance of a good step-by-step instruction manual for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
To find the forms for your local court, see our bankruptcy forms page for Manahawkin, NJ.
How To File For Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy is a legal process that either reduces, restructures or eliminates your debts. Whether you get that opportunity is up to the bankruptcy court. You can file for bankruptcy on your own, or you can find a bankruptcy lawyer, which most experts regard as the prudent avenue to pursue.
Bankruptcy costs include attorney fees and filing fees. If you file on your own, you will still be responsible for filing fees. If you cant afford to hire an attorney, you may have options for free legal services. If you need help finding a lawyer or locating free legal services, check with the American Bar Association for resources and information.
Before you file, you must educate yourself on what happens when you file for bankruptcy. Its not simply a matter of telling a judge Im broke! and throwing yourself at the mercy of the court. There is a process a sometimes confusing, sometimes complicated process that individuals and businesses must follow.
The steps are:
District Of New Jersey Requirements
New Jersey is a single federal district that has been divided into 3 divisions, headquartered in Camden, Newark, and Trenton and broken down by county. One of the main requirements for you to remember is that you have to bring 2 full copies of your bankruptcy documents to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey.
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Gather Your Financial Information And Documents
In exchange for getting the protection of the bankruptcy courts automatic stay prohibiting creditor contact, you must disclose every aspect of your financial situation, including income, expenses, debts, and assets.
First, gather all of your bills and bank statements. Then get a copy of your credit report to ensure you are not missing any creditors or debts. Make a list of your monthly expenses, and collect pay stubs or other proof of income to determine your total monthly income.
Make a list of your assets, including personal belongings, and their value. Houses and cars can be evaluated using online tools. The value of personal belongings such as clothing, jewelry, hobby, and sporting equipment, and household goods, can be estimated using a common sense yard sale value. If you are uncertain, consult one of the online auction sites to see what similar items to the one in question recently sold for at auction.
Do You Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Not everyone is entitled to a Chapter 7 discharge. You’ll have to prove that either:
- your household gross income is below a certain amount, or
- you don’t have enough money to make reasonable creditor payments through a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
You can find out whether you qualify by taking and passing the Chapter 7 means test.
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Find Out How To File For Bankruptcy When You Can’t Afford A Lawyer
Updated by Cara O’Neill, Attorney
COVID-19 Update: Bankruptcy courts will hold 341 creditor meetings telephonically or by video appearance until 60 days after the termination of the President’s COVID-19 National Emergency Proclamation. For details, visit the U.S. Trustee’s 341 meeting status webpage or your court’s website. If you’re one of the many struggling with debt due to COVID-19, it’s best to develop a financial plan early. Learn about your options in What to Do If You Can’t Pay Bills Due to the Coronavirus or about bankruptcy for small businesses.
If you can’t afford to pay a bankruptcy attorney right away, you might consider:
- asking friends and family
- getting help from a legal aid society or other free legal clinics in your area
- finding an attorney who will take your case pro bono , or
- filing your case without an attorney.
These are a few ways to file for bankruptcy when you’re low on funds. Keep reading for more details.
Print Your Bankruptcy Forms
If you are filing bankruptcy in New Jersey without an attorney, you will have to bring your bankruptcy forms to the court in person. The court provides this overview of all documents that are needed to commence a Chapter 7 case, complete with helpful notes and guidance. It’s best to print out three copies all at once: two for the court, and one to keep for your own records. Even though the documents are legal documents, print everything on regular-sized plain white paper. Some of the information on the forms is time-sensitive, so do this when you know you will be able to go to court to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey within the next few days.
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An Overview Of Chapter 7 Bankruptcyfor New York And New Jersey
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy refers to the chapter of the Bankruptcy Code that contains the bankruptcy law. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes called “liquidation” bankruptcy. This is because a successful bankruptcy liquidates most of your debts. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy in both New York and New Jersey process takes from three to six months. The court cost is $306. Usually there is only one appearance. This is not in front of a judge, but in front of a Trustee . A New york or New Jersey licensed bankruptcy lawyer appears with you at the 341 meeting.The Petition: To file for bankruptcy, you fill out a petition and several other forms. Normally a licensed New York or New Jersey bankruptcy lawyerprepares and files the petition and forms with the bankruptcy court in your area. These forms ask you for the following information:
- your property
- your current income and its sources
- your current monthly living expenses
- property you claim the law allows you to keep through the bankruptcy process
- property you owned and money you spent during the previous two years, and
- Property you sold or gave away during the previous two years.
- Information about lawsuits and accidents.
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Basics Of Filing An Emergency Bankruptcy In Nj
Often referred to as the skeleton petition, an emergency bankruptcy requires certain documents to be filed. The minimum documents that you must file to start your case are the bankruptcy petition, the creditor matrix, a statement of Social Security number, and a certificate of credit counseling.
The bankruptcy petition is the first three pages of the petition. If filing on your own, youre required to include your telephone number on the petition. The creditor matrix is just a list of addresses and names of all your creditors, which is critical to any form of bankruptcy.
Aside from the statement of Social Security number, youll need a certificate of credit counseling. If you dont have one, you need to file a motion explaining the circumstances that kept you from getting one. If you feel that you should not have to complete credit counseling, youll need to request an exemption from this requirement by filing a motion.
Having the aforementioned documents complete, signed, and filed will get you started on your emergency bankruptcy. It may still seem like a lot of work, but it pales in comparison to the 50 or more required pages of documents needed for an average bankruptcy filing.
An important note to keep in mind is that additional requirements may be needed, depending on the bankruptcy court. For example, you may have to provide written disclosure statements or electronic copies of your documents.
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File Motions Objections Or Responses
You may never need to worry about this, but theres a chance that you will want to file additional paperwork after you submit your bankruptcy petition. For example, you may want to file a request to remove creditors claims against your property. Or, if a creditor says that you owe more than you think you do, you may want to file an objection with the court.
Depending on the complexity of the situation, this is another place that you might want the advice and assistance of a bankrupcy lawyer. If youre handling your own case and you want to learn more about the situations that may arise after you file, you can turn to a detailed guidebook like How to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13: Keep Your Property and Repay Your Debts Over Time.
Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy
Most people shy away from filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy because they fear the negative impact on their credit. A bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for 10 years. This, however, should not prevent you from obtaining credit and rebuilding your financial health. Most debtors that have unsecured debt will have a positive effect on their credit score post-bankruptcy. The positive impact results from having a clean slate and from the fact that creditors are aware of the 8-year ban on you refiling a bankruptcy. This will make you more creditworthy. Our firm obtains credit reports from www.cinlegal.com which includes an estimated 12-month post-bankruptcy credit score. This will give you an indication on what to expect after receiving a chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.
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What Is A 341 Hearing
Everyone who files for bankruptcy must attend a 341 hearing, which is also called a “creditors meeting.” The meeting is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee assigned to your case. The trustee will put you under oath and may ask you questions about the information you’ve provided on your bankruptcy forms. Creditors may also show up at the hearing to ask you questions, but it’s not common for them to do so.
Bankruptcy law also requires the trustee to ask you questions to be sure you understand how bankruptcy works and the potential consequences of filing bankruptcy, such as the effect on your credit record.
For most bankruptcy filers, this will be your only trip to the courthouse . Most court websites post schedules of 341 hearings, and when you file, you will be notified of your hearing date. When you show up for your hearing, you will find that many other people have hearings set for the same day. You will sit and wait for your name to be called–usually in a room somewhere in the courthouse or federal building, but probably not in a courtroom.
Do You Own Your House Or Your Car Free And Clear
If you have a house or a car on which you do not owe any money, you can protect the property in Chapter 7 using exemptions. Exemptions are an area of bankruptcy law that can be confusing, so talking to an experienced bankruptcy attorney is the best way to find out if you can protect your house or your car in a Chapter 7.
Do not deny yourself the debt relief you deserve out of fear of losing your house or your car. Come talk to our New Jersey bankruptcy attorneys and find out what your options are. We may be able to develop the solution you need to get your finances back on track. With offices in five different locations throughout New Jersey, we make ourselves available to anyone who needs help with debt. Call us today for a free consultation.
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Debts You Can Discharge
While your plan is in force, creditors must stop collection efforts. And after you make all the payments under your plan, the court will officially discharge manybut not allof your debts. Here are some of the most common kinds of debts discharged through Chapter 13 plans:
- criminal fines or restitution payments
- any debts related fraud youve committed or injuries youve caused, and
- some long-term debts that are secured by collateral.
Filing For Bankruptcy Yourself
You don’t have an attorney to file for bankruptcy. But it isn’t always a good idea to go it your own, either. Whether it would be in your best interest to hire a lawyer typically depends on:
- whether you can afford an attorney, and
- how comfortable you are with researching the necessary legal information and representing yourself.
In many cases, if you have little or no income or property, you might be able to file a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your own. The instructions on the official bankruptcy forms are straightforward, which makes them relatively simple to complete. However, the forms don’t explain what will happen in your case.
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North Carolina Bankruptcy Lawyer Cost
Even though no one is ever happy to see Ã a bankruptcy lawyer, some folks feel more comfortable having a lawyer assist them. The cost of a bankruptcy lawyer typically depends on how complex your case is compared to other cases. For Chapter 7 bankruptcy in North Carolina, folks usually pay around $1,150, but most of them only do so after meeting with their lawyer for a free consultation first.
Attorney cost estimate: $1,100 Ã¢â¬â $1,200
Collect Your North Carolina Bankruptcy Documents
It’s helpful to collect your supporting documents before you start completing your bankruptcy forms. That way, when you are ready to start completing the bankruptcy forms needed to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in North Carolina, you don’t have to keep looking for more information. The documents you will needcan be categorized as income documents and documents related to your debts . If you plan on closing a bank account before filing bankruptcy in North Carolina, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your bank statements for the last 6 months or so beforehand. This way, if you end up needing to access the bank statements, you will have them already and can avoid the often times consuming and sometimes expensive process of getting statements for a bank account that has been closed. Your North Carolina bankruptcy will go much more smoothly if you start organized in collecting your documents.
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Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyers In New Jersey Are Ready To Help You
It may be difficult to file your case without an attorney. At Rudikh & Associates, the experienced and knowledgeable lawyers will explain to you how to file bankruptcy in New Jersey. Bankruptcy is a multi step process and not easy to manage. A competent legal representation is essential in making sure that you obtain a discharge and not fall into many common pitfalls that may arise during the bankruptcy process. If your case is simple and you have no assets, it is possible for you to file your own bankruptcy, but in most cases, you will need the assistance of a bankruptcy lawyer in New Jersey . Bankruptcy Attorneys can provide legal and straightforward advice and determine what practical solutions exist in order to make sure that you dont encounter difficulties in the process.
Our team of competent and dedicated New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorneys has designed this site to provide you with up-to-date information and news about Bankruptcy in New Jersey. You have to make an informed decision regarding bankruptcy because there is a lot on the line. If the information on the site does not answer your bankruptcy questions, our initial consultation is absolutely free and we can answer any and all questions that you may have regarding your bankruptcy filing.
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.
New Jersey Bankruptcy Exemption Timing Rules
It’s tempting to move to a state with significantly more generous bankruptcy exemptions when filing for bankruptcy. But it doesn’t work that way. To prevent people from abusing the system, filers must live in the state for at least two yearsotherwise, they must use the previous state’s exemptions. Here’s how it works.
- If you’ve made your permanent home in your current state for at least two years, you can use the state’s exemptions .
- If your domicile hasn’t been in the same state for two years, the rules get more complicated, so prepare yourself. In fact, it sounds so strange we’ll explain it in three different ways so you know you didn’t read it wrong. Here goes: You’ll choose the state that you lived in the longest during the 180 days immediately before the two years before filing.
Did you get that? If not, here’s a way to figure it out. Count back two-and-a-half years. Then ask yourself where you lived the longest during the first six months of that two-and-a-half-year period.
Still confused?Let’s try an example. Suppose you planned to file on January 1, 2022. Your two-and-a-half-year period would start July 1, 2019, and you’d qualify to use the exemptions of whichever state you resided in the most during the July 1, 2019, through December 31, 2019 period. You wouldn’t have to file your case there, but you’d use that state’s exemptions. Hopefully, that helps!