With a population of just over 8,000, Doylestown, Pennsylvania is the quintessential American small town. But despite its low population, Doylestown has a high bankruptcy rate. Of all the counties in Eastern Pennsylvania, Bucks County ranks #3 for most consumer bankruptcies filed, surpassed only by Philadelphia and Montgomery Counties. According to the bankruptcy statistics logged by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for the current fiscal year alone, Bucks County has been the source of 323 bankruptcy cases.
Part of the reason bankruptcy is so widespread is because it offers petitioners powerful, multifaceted financial relief from creditors, collection agencies, and of course, debt. Bankruptcy can erase outstanding bills, stop creditors from calling you, put a freeze on repossession and foreclosure actions, and even delay or prevent a shut-off to your utilities. Once you have successfully completed the bankruptcy process, you can start again from a clean slate and rebuild healthy credit by making regular, timely payments on credit cards and utility bills.
What Are the Benefits of Consumer Bankruptcy?
Everyone knows that bankruptcy can act as a life preserver if you are “drowning in debt.” What many people are not aware of, however, is that the benefits of consumer bankruptcy are even more expansive.
Erase Your Debts
Statistically speaking, relief from debt is the leading reason Americans file for consumer bankruptcy. In a study cross-referencing data culled from the U.S. Census, the Commonwealth Fund, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and U.S. Federal Court records, it was determined that medical bills are the number one cause behind American consumer bankruptcy filings. This has been a trend since at least 2005, when another study revealed that 46% of bankruptcies — nearly half — were sparked by medical expenses.
Medical bills are just one of the many types of debt which can be discharged, or eliminated, through consumer bankruptcy. Other common types of debt which can often be discharged include:
- Personal Loans
- Utility Bills
- Credit Card Bills
- Business Debts
- Overdue Rent Payments
- Social Security Overpayments
However, it is important to understand that not all debts can be erased through bankruptcy. Nondischargeable debts which are not relieved by bankruptcy include:
- Alimony Payments
- Child Support Payments
- Student Loans
- Most Tax Debts
- Personal Injury Debts (e.g. a court-ordered fine for a DUI)
If the primary source of your debt is classified as nondischargeable, such as student loans, bankruptcy will not be able to offer much assistance. However, if you are struggling due to dischargeable debt, such as utility bills, bankruptcy can make a world of positive difference.
Stop Creditors and Collection Actions
When you file for bankruptcy, you are “automatically” protected by an injunction referred to as the automatic stay. In the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts’ official glossary, the automatic stay is defined as:
An injunction that automatically stops lawsuits, foreclosures, garnishments, and all collection activity against the debtor the moment a bankruptcy petition is filed.
If creditors are constantly harassing you for payments by ceaselessly calling you or sending you notices in the mail, daily life can be nightmarish. Debtors often become afraid to open their mail or answer their telephone. The automatic stay prohibits creditors and collection agencies from contacting you.
If your wages are being garnished in Pennsylvania, you could be missing out on as much as 10% of your net wages, and as much as 25% of your disposable income. When you’re already struggling to stay financially afloat, a slashed paycheck can be devastating. The automatic stay ends wage garnishment and returns your full income.
If a bank or a repossession company is attempting to foreclose on your home or repossess your vehicle, they must stop while the automatic stay is in effect. However, it’s important to make the distinction that if repossession or foreclosure actions have already been initiated prior to the filing, your options may be somewhat limited. The sooner you get started on your bankruptcy, the more protected you will be.
Why Choose Young, Marr & Associates?
The sooner you get started on your path to bankruptcy, the more protection you will have against your creditors. For example, by the time foreclosure actions have been initiated, it is already too late to protect your home.
However, you should not file for consumer bankruptcy without legal assistance from a team of experienced Doylestown, Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorneys. While debtors are not prohibited from filing without an attorney, known as filing pro se, it is simply not a prudent course of action. The rules and regulations pertaining to bankruptcy are extremely technical and financially complex, and differences between Pennsylvania bankruptcy law and the Federal Bankruptcy Code can confuse matters even further. If you do make an error at any point in the process — which can last for up to five years — your entire case could be dismissed by the courts, leaving you with no recourse to address your debts.
But why choose Young, Marr & Associates? Our Doylestown bankruptcy lawyers have over 20 years of experience representing more than 5,000 clients in Bucks County and across the state file in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases. On average, our bankruptcy clients are able to financially advance anywhere from five to 10 years, putting up to a decade of debt behind them. With decades of experience, offices conveniently located in Upper, Lower, and Central Bucks County, and affordable, flexible rates, the Doylestown bankruptcy attorneys at Young, Marr & Associates are always ready to help you get started.
If you or a loved one is thinking about filing for Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, you can’t afford to wait. To schedule a free and private consultation with an experienced Pennyslvania bankruptcy attorney, call the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates at (609) 755 3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701 6519 in Pennsylvania, or contact us online.