Each year in America, millions of people from all different ages and backgrounds will seek relief from debt by filing for consumer bankruptcy. In Pennsylvania, nearly 30,000 people filed for bankruptcy in 2007 alone. If you are struggling to keep up with your bills and your financial situation has become overwhelming, bankruptcy can be a powerful tool to regain your stability and independence, and even to rebuild good credit.
Why Hire an Attorney?
Successfully filing for bankruptcy without an attorney is extremely difficult. Bankruptcy law is dense, complex, and has a tendency to change. The rules and regulations governing bankruptcy are different in every state, and in addition to that, there are federal guidelines which must be strictly adhered to as well. As the US Bankruptcy Court stresses, “It is very important that a bankruptcy case be filed and handled correctly. The rules are very technical, and a misstep may affect a debtor’s rights.”
What seems like a minor error — for example, forgetting to declare even a single debt or creditor — can cost a petitioner their maximum exemptions, the benefits of the automatic stay, or even a successful discharge. The US Bankruptcy Court even highlights the following sentence in bold on their site: “Bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal consequences – hiring a competent attorney is strongly recommended.”
At Young, Marr & Associates, our Jenkintown, Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyers have over 20 years of hands-on experience ready to apply to your case. With over 5,000 cases filed, we have the expertise you need to address all of your consumer bankruptcy questions, from debt elimination, to the automatic stay, to rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy ends. We understand that our clients are often concerned about the cost of building a bankruptcy case, and we strive to lighten the burden by offering affordable, cost-effective, and flexible payment plans.
What Can Bankruptcy Do For Me?
Obviously, one of the most popular and well-known benefits of filing for bankruptcy is relief from debt. However, bankruptcy also offers other advantages to help get you back on your feet and start anew. What are some of the benefits of filing for bankruptcy in Jenkintown?
In bankruptcy, debts are classified as either dischargeable (can be eliminated) or nondischargeable (cannot be eliminated). Fortunately, many debts fall into the dischargeable category. Debts which bankruptcy can erase include utility bills, medical bills, and credit card debt. Other types of debt which can often be discharged include personal loans, rent payments, personal loans, and most car accident claims, not including claims related to drunk driving.
It is important to note that certain debts are nondischargeable, including alimony payments, child support payments, and most student debt.
The Automatic Stay
In addition to debt elimination, the automatic stay is another common reason people cite as their motivation to file for bankruptcy. This is because the automatic stay, which goes into effect right away, comes with a variety of helpful benefits for petitioners. The automatic stay halts creditor harassment, delays utility service shut-offs, postpones foreclosure and eviction actions, and puts a stop to wage garnishment.
Types of Consumer Bankruptcy
You may have heard about a company filing for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Consumer bankruptcy is also broken down into different Chapter types. The most common types of consumer bankruptcy in Jenkintown and throughout Pennsylvania are Chapter 7 (liquidation), and Chapter 13 (reorganization).
The type of bankruptcy that is most appropriate for you is decided with a tool called the Means Test. The Means Test calculates your financial assets to determine what sort of repayment plan you will realistically be able to meet. The Means Test uses median income by state as a gauge.
Chapter 7 bankruptcies are granted based on need. They are rapidly completed, within a matter of months. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are granted to people who have more financial resources and can make more extensive repayments, generally over a period of three to five years. Learn more about the differences between the types of bankruptcy.
If you or a loved one is struggling to cope with payments or is suffering through ongoing creditor harassment, filing for bankruptcy can offer financial relief. Contact the law offices of Young, Marr & Associates to arrange for a free consultation with our experienced Jenkintown, Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyers, or call us today at (609) 755 3115 in New Jersey or (215) 701 6519 in Pennsylvania.