Don’t Let Debt Defeat You: Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Provide a Fresh Start
The Monmouth County bankruptcy attorneys at our firm can help if you’re plagued by debt, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be the most effective way to protect yourself from creditor harassment and start afresh. Our Ocean County bankruptcy lawyers at Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC are licensed bankruptcy attorneys and are ready to help you file for Chapter 7 and make the phone calls stop. We’ve helped numerous clients absolve themselves of debt and can do the same for you.
Some advantages to filing Chapter 7 with Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC include:
- Help analyzing your debt
- Determining your property exemptions
- Assuring your eligibility for Chapter 7
- Reaffirming your secured debts
- Assistance filing all the necessary Chapter 7 forms
Beyond guiding you through the Chapter 7 process, Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC will instruct you as to the best course of action. Chapter 7 isn’t for everyone, and there are numerous factors to consider. No matter your situation, you can always trust Riviere Cresci & Singer LLC to provide honest legal counsel that helps with your debt.
Chapter 7, otherwise known as “liquidation,” is generally the simplest and quickest form of bankruptcy and is available to individuals, married couples, corporations and partnerships. A trustee (appointed by the court) gathers and sells your non-exempt property and uses the proceeds from the sale to pay your creditors.
Most chapter 7 cases are “no-asset’ case, which simply means that you do not have any non-exempt property for the trustee to sell.
Federal bankruptcy laws provide for a “means test” which will determine whether you are eligible to file of Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is below the median income for families in New Jersey, based on Census Bureau statistics, you will be eligible. If you make more than the median income for families in New Jersey, your income over the past six months is considered, along with mortgage and car payments, back taxes and child support due, and school expenses up to $1,500 per year.
You won’t be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if, after deducting these amounts, and the living expenses provided in the Internal Revenue Service’s national collection standards, you can still pay at least $6,000 ($100/month) to unsecured creditors over five years. If you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your only option would be a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
The U.S. Trustee Program will apply the median family income data to all cases filed on or after February 1, 2008. This median family income data will be adjusted again after the Census Bureau updates the data.
For New Jersey, for cases filed after March 15, 2011 the median income for a single wage earner is $59,060; for a family of two, it is $70,680; for three, $85,573; and for four, $101,106. Add $7,500 for each individual in excess of 4.
You must obtain approved credit counseling before you can file bankruptcy and file any overdue tax returns within weeks of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
A bankruptcy starts with the filing of the official petition, schedules and a “statement of financial affairs” with the bankruptcy court. In order to complete the Bankruptcy Forms, you must provide a list of all of your creditors and the amount and type of their claim; the source, amount, and the frequency of your income; a list of all of your property; and a detailed list of your monthly living expenses. The filing fee for chapter 7 is $299.
As soon as you file for bankruptcy, your creditors are prevented from trying to collect on your debts through what’s called an “automatic stay.” The stay is designed to preserve your property and to give you a break from litigation.
Anyone you owe – or anyone who wants to continue collection proceedings during the bankruptcy process – must show the bankruptcy judge, after a hearing, that there is “cause” to be allowed to continue with collection action (for instance, by showing that the property might deteriorate in value during the bankruptcy process).
The trustee takes control of any property you do not get to keep. From the sale of your property, the trustee pays the expenses of the administration of the case, and then gives any remaining money to creditors with allowed claims, according to the priority of the claims (with claims that are “secured” by property being paid first). Any wages you earn after you file the case are yours, beyond the reach of creditors who had claims on the date you filed for bankruptcy.
Our attorneys will spend time with you to understand how you got yourself into your current situation, what parties are responsible for your current situation and what we can do to provide you the legal relief that you deserve. On-site parking and after-hours appointments available.