Debt can accumulate quickly, and before you know it, you are beyond any ability to manage it. Debt impacts your credit history as much as it does your quality of life. Creditors and third-party collection agencies can cause serious stress. Fortunately, even when you think a solution does not exist to your debt problem, there very well may be one. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey is the quickest, easiest, and most affordable way to discharge debts and get a clean slate.
At Boyer Coffy LLC, our Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer in New Jersey will review your overall finances, debt, and life circumstances to help you determine if filing for bankruptcy is right for you. Then, we will guide you through the process so you never have to worry about deadlines or paperwork. Contact our bankruptcy attorney today at 973-798-6131 to schedule a consultation.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy that can benefit individuals, partnerships, or corporations. If you or your business have qualifying assets, they are liquidated to pay off debt. The court appoints a Trustee to review your assets and determine if any are worth liquidating. Each state allows for a certain amount of assets to be exempted, which means those assets are shielded from liquidation. You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney in New Jersey to make sure you know what applies in your case.
Even though Chapter 7 bankruptcies are a means to liquidate assets and pay off debts, these types of bankruptcies are often referred to as “no assets.” Most people who apply for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 do not have assets that would qualify for liquidation. Nonetheless, debts are still discharged, so you get a fresh start.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is very common––much more common than people know. That said, there are a few caveats to keep in mind. First, not all debts are eligible for bankruptcy. Second, not all individuals, partnerships, or corporations will qualify. These caveats are reasons why you should consult with a bankruptcy lawyer to make sure Chapter 7 is right for you.
Eligibility for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically means being able to pass what is known as the Means Test. The Means Test determines whether you can pay off your debts. To pass the Means Test, your income must not exceed the income limits set by your state.
State income limits vary because the cost of living differs from state to state. Your state's income limit depends on the number of earners and people in the household.
For example, in New Jersey, the income limit for
- One earner is $ 83,898
- Two people is $ 99,056
- Three people is $ $122,540
- Four people is $ $155,510
- Each person in excess of four is an additional $9,000
The income numbers for the Means Test are updated every six months.
Who Should File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New Jersey?
Any person or company can file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 if they
- Own property in the United States
- Have a permanent residence in the United States
- Have not filed bankruptcy under Chapter 7 within the last eight years
- Completed credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency
- Satisfy eligibility criteria
Reasons You Should File
Even though you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it does not mean you should. You should consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy if
- You want a fresh start and rebuild your credit
- You are unemployed
- Your credit score is already bad
- You want a reasonably fast process to discharge debts
- You have a lot of debt, but you also have income or assets creditors can take
- You cannot keep up with making ends meet at the end of the month
- You will not be able to pay off your debt within five years
- No other debt relief option applies or would provide better protection and benefits
- You do not want a debt repayment plan
- If you have EZ-Pass Fines & Penalties which can or have caused your vehicle to be impounded.
- If your vehicle was impounded or reposed.
Reasons Not to File
On the other hand, you may not want to file for bankruptcy in New Jersey if
- Your income exceeds the limit for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
- Your debt is very low in proportion to your income
- You have filed for Bankruptcy previously in less than 8 years.
- You have been designated a serial filer.
- You are not a legal resident of New Jersey.
Speaking to a Boyer Coffy, LLC can provide you the insight you need to make informed decisions about how to address your debt.
How Much Does It Cost to File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New Jersey?
The total filing fees for Chapter 7 will include legal fees, the filing fee and the credit report fee and the credit counseling course fees.
Remember this rule in choosing a Bankruptcy attorney (or any other attorney for that matter) A cheap attorney is rarely ever good and a good attorney is rarely ever cheap. At Boyer Coffy, LLC our services are priced fairly and Leonard R. Boyer, Esq. the Senior partner has been licensed since 1984.
When you meet with an attorney at Boyer Coffy, LLC, (we offer both in person and secured video conferencing) You will provide us with some basic information about your situation and explain the Bankruptcy process. We take whatever time is necessary to enable you to feel comfortable and make an informed decision. When you retain our firm, you will be provided with a Bankruptcy Questionnaire, which we will explain and which you will take home to complete. Once you have either retained our firm or put down a deposit towards the retainer, we will explain how to deal with your creditor calls. We will take care of the harassing phone calls, so you do not have to.
What Happens When I File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New Jersey?
After you file for bankruptcy, some important actions occur:
- Your Bankruptcy Petition is assigned a Case Number.
- You are protected against any legal proceeding (except divorce) under Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code, which is called the Automatic Stay. Any existing legal proceedings or wage garnishment is halted.
- A bankruptcy trustee is assigned to your case––the trustee reviews all documents, verifies information, and oversees the meeting of creditors.
- The Bankruptcy Court assigns a Chapter 7 Trustee for your case
- The Bankruptcy Court notifies all your creditors.
- The Bankruptcy Court will schedule a Section 341(a) commonly known as the "Meeting of the Creditors" will be scheduled. The creditors will rarely appear and the Chapter 7 Trustee will ask you questions (for which you will be prepared) and then the Trustee will close your case.
- From the time your petition is filed until the time you get your discharge is 4 to 6 months from the day the petition was filed.
- Two weeks after you receive your discharge, call our office so that one of our attorneys can guide you to rebuilding your credit. This is a free service that we provide for our clients.
Contact a Bankruptcy Lawyer in New Jersey Today
At Boyer Coffy LLC, we know how debt can impact an individual, a family, or a business. If you have difficulty paying bills because of the debt you or your company have accumulated, speak to a bankruptcy attorney in New Jersey today by filling out our online form or calling us at 973-798-6131. We will schedule a consultation so that you get the answers you need to all your financial questions.