Bankruptcy Help in Trying Times
Times have been tough for many Americans, even before the current pandemic turned everyone’s lives upside-down. Over the last few years, about three-quarters of a million Americans have been filing for bankruptcy every year, including around 25,000 New Jersey residents. Different people have different financial troubles, and many different factors send people into bankruptcy, including credit card debt, student loan debt, taxes, divorce, and major emergency expenses like home or car repairs that weren’t planned for. Overall, though, the leading reasons most people file for bankruptcy are a job loss and medical bills from a serious accident or illness.
In the midst of the current coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of people have lost their jobs or found their hours cut drastically short, and thousands of others are tragically facing severe illness or having to deal with sickness or death in the family. COVID-19 has disrupted our lives like nothing else in decades and has directly impacted more people than anything else in several generations. If your financial troubles have gotten the better of you, for whatever reason, bankruptcy might be an effective solution to turn your life around. Lance Brown & Associates is here to help.
At Lance Brown & Associates, we built a law firm on the principle of meeting client needs and fighting for their rights, securing efficient and effective relief and practical legal solutions. We’ve been doing exactly that for the people of New Jersey for over 20 years. If external factors have forced you into a position where you can’t pay your bills, if you are facing foreclosure of your home, repossession of your car, garnishment of your wages, or endless calls and harassment from creditors and bill collectors, we can help you find relief. Call us to explore your options. We’ll help you understand your legal situation and let you know what we can do for you. Whatever you decide, know that Lance Brown & Associates will always be here to fight for our clients and help them with their legal needs. Learn more about bankruptcy options below, and call Lance Brown & Associates at 609-587-5100.
Chapter 7 – Make a Fresh Start
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy wipes away your unsecured debt, essentially letting you start over with a clean slate. Unsecured debt includes significant items such as medical expenses and credit card bills. In some cases, certain income tax debt and even student loans can be discharged in Chapter 7. Some people worry that their property will be taken and sold by the bankruptcy trustee, with the money used to pay off their creditors. Fortunately, both federal law and New Jersey law contain a long list of property that is exempt from bankruptcy. In many, if not most, cases, we can help people file “no asset” bankruptcies, allowing them to get their debt discharged without losing any property at all.
Chapter 7 is open to people with incomes below the New Jersey median level of income for their household size. Others might also qualify for Chapter 7 after taking the “means test” to determine their ability to pay off debt. Call our office to find out whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 and if this option is right for you.
Chapter 13 – Save Your Home from Foreclosure
Chapter 13 does not have the same low-income requirements as Chapter 7 and is, therefore, open to many more people. Chapter 13 forces all of your creditors onto one plan, which lasts for three or five years, depending on your disposable income. You can adjust some debts and eliminate others as part of this plan, enabling you to get back on top of your finances and stay there. Chapter 13 is also a very powerful tool to protect your home from foreclosure, even if you are already in default on your mortgage. With Chapter 13, you can be assured of keeping your house, your car, and other valuable property while a strong hand lifts you out of debt. If you have a large amount of secured debt and need to protect those assets, or if you don’t qualify for Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the road to freedom you have been looking for. Call our office for more information on how Chapter 13 works.
Facts about Bankruptcy – the Automatic Stay and the Meeting of Creditors
The moment you file for bankruptcy, the court puts something in place called the “automatic stay.” This potent provision of bankruptcy law immediately stops all debt collection efforts by your creditors or the bill collectors they’ve hired or sold your debt to. The automatic stay puts the brakes on foreclosures, repossessions, wage garnishments, phone calls, letters, and bill collectors knocking on your door or showing up at your work. The automatic stay is one of the most attractive features of a bankruptcy proceeding, giving you breathing room and peace of mind while you rid yourself of debt. The automatic stay applies in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.
If you are concerned about having to go court, another important fact about bankruptcy is that very few filers ever see the inside of the courtroom. The closest you are likely to get is a meeting in a room in the courthouse or federal building called the section 341 meeting or meeting of creditors. Despite its name, none of your creditors are likely to show up. The “meeting” itself lasts about five minutes and involves the bankruptcy trustee looking over your paperwork and asking a few questions to make sure you completed all the documents correctly. Your attorney will be with you at this meeting.
Our New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyers are Here for You with Real Solutions
Most of your interaction in your bankruptcy will be with your bankruptcy lawyer, who will guide you through every step, such as completing your application, taking the means test, and taking full advantage of all the bankruptcy exemptions that apply to you. As with everything we do at Lance Brown & Associates, our commitment is to pay attention to your needs, explain the process, and fight to get you the best result that meets your legal needs.
If you are having serious financial trouble, don’t wait until the creditors are banging down your door, and don’t torture yourself with sleepless nights filled with worry and anxiety. Call Lance Brown & Associates at 609-587-5100 to find real solutions and effective, lasting debt relief.