New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans struggling with consumer debt file for bankruptcy. Millions of people across the country are facing significant economic hardship, and bankruptcy might provide the relief you need to start back on a path of your choosing. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy in the United States, and it is specifically geared toward individual debtors who are struggling with credit card payments, medical bills, and other unsecured debt. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to wipe the slate clean and start over, giving you a second chance to work toward financial freedom.
The compassionate and experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys at Lance Brown & Associates understand the struggle of economic hardship. We built this law firm to help the people of New Jersey fight back against obstacles in their way that prevent them from enjoying their greatest personal freedom and quality of life. We have spent more than 20 years helping New Jersey residents find relief, and we are here to help you.
The Benefits of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows consumers to wipe the slate clean, clearing away all unsecured debt. The process involves working with a bankruptcy trustee, the court, and creditors to reach a settlement that pays back a certain portion of your debt and discharges whatever is left. After your debt is discharged, you are no longer subject to repossessions, harassing letters or phone calls, wage garnishments, or any other collection efforts. Your relationship with your creditors ends, and you get to start fresh.
What Debt is Discharged Under Chapter 7?
When you file for bankruptcy, you may have both “dischargeable” and “nondischargeable” debts. Each type of bankruptcy has different rules about which types of debts are dischargeable–those debts that will be wiped clean when you finalize your bankruptcy proceeding.
Under Chapter 7, most unsecured debts are dischargeable. Unsecured debts are those that are incurred without collateral. Car loans and home mortgages may not be discharged in Chapter 7 because they are “secured” by your home or car. Medical debt, credit card debt, and other unsecured debt, on the other hand, will be completely discharged at the conclusion of your bankruptcy. Chapter 7 also has exclusions for certain types of debt, including child support, alimony, and legal fines. Other forms of debt, such as student loans and back taxes, may be dischargeable under certain circumstances. Discuss your finances with your bankruptcy lawyer to learn what types of debt you can discharge in your Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The Chapter 7 Means Test
Different types of bankruptcy are available to different groups of people depending on their income, the type and amount of debt they are seeking to discharge, and other circumstances. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is available to any debtor whose income falls below the New Jersey median level of income for a household of that size. Other debtors with incomes above the median may still qualify for Chapter 7 based on the results of a “means test.”
The Chapter 7 means test compares a debtor’s income with their regular expenses. The debtor’s income level is determined by averaging the most recent six months of income by all sources. Assuming the debtor’s income is above the state median, then the debtor will have to show that special circumstances warrant Chapter 7 eligibility – specifically, that their expenses are enough to give them sufficient need to file for Chapter 7. Expenses include regular expenses such as mortgage/rent, food, clothing, car payments, etc., as well as any extraordinary costs such as medical expenses or care of an elderly or disabled person. A seasoned Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can help you evaluate and detail your financial situation in order to put together the strongest petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Protecting Your Assets
Many people struggling with debt are concerned that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy will cause them to lose their house, their car, and their personal property. Although Chapter 7 bankruptcy does, in theory, involve selling assets to settle your debt, there are, thankfully, many exemptions under the state and federal bankruptcy laws. Most debtors can protect most, if not all, of their desired assets when they file for bankruptcy, with the help of a knowledgeable and detail-oriented bankruptcy attorney.
Typically, consumers can keep real property such as their home, as well as much of their personal property, including automobiles, household furnishings, equipment used for their work, and even things like jewelry and art. A clever and experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer can help you prepare for your Chapter 7 bankruptcy so that you can retain the maximum amount of assets while still discharging your unsecured debts.
Call a Dedicated New Jersey Bankruptcy Lawyer to Discuss Your Options for Debt Relief
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.