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New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyer
Few things are more overwhelming in life than facing large amounts of debt. If you are drowning in debt and aren’t sure when you’ll be able to breathe again, our experienced New Jersey bankruptcy attorney at the Law Office of Scott J. Goldstein may help.
Our attorney will guide you through your options, explain how bankruptcy works and the different types of bankruptcy filings, and represent your best interests every step of the way. They can help you determine which debts can be discharged and which type of bankruptcy will serve you best.
An experienced attorney can also explain common mistakes made before filing for bankruptcy and how to avoid them. If you are struggling to keep up with your debts, and looking for a fresh financial start, hiring an NJ bankruptcy lawyer can be a smart move.
What Is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal, court-facilitated process wherein a debtor repays some or all of their debts or seeks relief from some or all of their debts. Because it is a legal process that the court facilitates, many rules and requirements are associated with filing for bankruptcy.
What’s more, the outcome of a bankruptcy case is legally binding. You’ll have to repay some or all of your debts as ordered by the bankruptcy court; creditors are also obligated to forgive debts as ordered by a bankruptcy court.
How Does Personal Bankruptcy Work?
In every bankruptcy case, there are specific steps you have to take. These steps include:
- Collect Necessary Documents
- Complete and File Bankruptcy Petition
- Take a Credit Counseling Course
- Attend a 341 Meeting
- Take a Debtor Education Course
However, in addition to completing these steps, understanding the difference between types of personal bankruptcy and secured and unsecured debts is also important. Whether a debt is secured or not makes a big difference when discharging debts.
Types of Personal Bankruptcy
Suppose you are an individual who is thinking about filing for bankruptcy. In that case, you must know that there are two common types of bankruptcy for individuals: Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also called liquidation bankruptcy, is designed for debtors with limited assets and income and therefore pass the “means test.”
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your non-exempt assets will be liquidated, and the money obtained will be used to pay back the creditors as much as possible. This type of bankruptcy filing will remain on your credit report for ten years.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
While debtors who don’t have enough income to pay off their debts usually choose Chapter 7, those who have the income to pay off at least some of their debts typically choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy has advantages over a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as a wage earner’s plan, you will enter into a payment plan with your creditors for 3-5 years. At the end of that period, your remaining debts will be forgiven.
Filing for Chapter 13 will also halt foreclosure proceedings and give the debtor time to catch up on payments. In addition, with Chapter 13, more debts can be included than with Chapter 7 plan, such as certain tax obligations and debts from divorce proceedings. But, as with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, student loans, child support, and alimony debts are among debts deemed not eligible for discharge.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for seven years.
How Can New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyers Help When Filing for Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy can be an overwhelming legal process. Your attorney can help by explaining the bankruptcy types, determining your eligibility for bankruptcy, managing your bankruptcy filing, representing you at the bankruptcy hearing, and more. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can streamline the process and improve its outcome.
Don’t forget that bankruptcy involves creditors in addition to debtors. If you are a creditor or rent property to an individual who has filed for bankruptcy, you will be involved in the process whether you like it or not. You may need to hire a creditor-bankruptcy lawyer to protect your rights if that happens to you.
Is Filing Bankruptcy the Only Option for Debt Relief?
If you are unsure whether bankruptcy is right for you, talking to a professional is essential. Filing for bankruptcy is a huge decision that can significantly impact your life. When considering bankruptcy, it’s best to do so only after exhausting other debt-relief measures, including:
- Debt settlement: This process involves negotiating a settlement with your creditors in which you will pay them a single lump-sum payment in exchange for forgiveness of the remaining debt.
- Debt negotiation: Debt negotiation is similar to debt settlement. You may be able to negotiate your debt and enter into a repayment plan at a lower interest rate or a repayment plan that ultimately leads to you repaying a portion of the debt.
- Debt consolidation: Thisdebt-relief option involves combining all of your debts into a single payment. This can improve debt management and be available at a lower interest rate.
- Mortgage refinancing: If you risk losing your home, you should discuss various options with your mortgage lender.
Still Have Questions on Personal Bankruptcy? Call the Law Office of Scott J. Goldstein Today
Our New Jersey bankruptcy attorney is experienced and knowledgeable about the bankruptcy process. To learn more about filing for personal bankruptcy in New Jersey, bankruptcy rules, and whether filing for bankruptcy may be a good option for you, call our personal bankruptcy attorney at the Law Offices of Scott J. Goldstein today.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Does It Cost to File for Bankruptcy in New Jersey?
Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Jersey costs $313. That includes a $235 filing fee and the $78 administrative fee. To file a New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may pay $338. However, these fees don’t include New Jersey bankruptcy attorneys’ fees.
If you can’t afford to pay the filing fee, you may be able to pay it in installments, or the fee can be waived. For example, Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing fees can be waived if you exceed 150% of poverty guidelines.
What Kind of Bankruptcy Forgives all Debt?
Although not all obligations go away in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it allows you to discharge many debts, such as medical bills, credit card debt, overdue utility or cellphone bills, rent payments, and maybe even home mortgages.
However, student loans, child support payments, recent tax obligations, or court-ordered damages you must pay in drunk driving or personal injury cases can’t be discharged.
Do You Have Enough Debt to File for Bankruptcy?
There is no minimum debt you must face to be able to file for bankruptcy. You can typically file for bankruptcy if you are eligible and pass the means test.
However, many bankruptcy attorneys may advise their clients against filing for bankruptcy if they have less than $10,000 in dischargeable debt. Also, if your debt is insignificant, the bankruptcy court will want to ensure you pursue bankruptcy in good faith, not to avoid paying for your obligations.
Call the Law Office of Scott J. Goldstein Today
At the Law Offices of Scott J. Goldstein, our New Jersey bankruptcy attorney is experienced and knowledgeable in the bankruptcy process. To learn more about filing for personal bankruptcy in New Jersey, call us today at 973-453–2838.