It’s easy for your income to be overtaken by debt payments. During tough economic times, it’s common. If you wait until the banks foreclose on your property and repossess your car, it may be too late. You could end up owning nothing and without additional warning. If you are considering a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the time to act is now. Once you file for bankruptcy, the courts will issue a stay that will prevent your creditors from pursuing you. Livingston, New Jersey Attorney Stuart M. Nachbar can help you get out from under your creditors so you can get a fresh start.
Why People File Bankruptcy
Hard economic times, increased underemployment, and long-term recession have left many individuals with overwhelming debt, unpaid bills, and financial difficulties. Individuals may find themselves dealing with harassing calls from debt collectors, and the stress of not knowing how they’re going to pay all their bills. Fortunately, the law affords individuals certain financial protections. Among them is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy has the benefit of cancelling or eliminating all of most of your debts. During the process, debt collectors cannot contact you to collect debts. Once the process is completed, you won’t be responsible for the debts discharged during the bankruptcy process. You should know that certain items such as Taxes and Domestic Support Obligations are not discharged in a Chapter 7.
What Occurs in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New Jersey
During a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, a trustee is assigned to sell your property and pay your debtors. Certain property and assets are exempt from this process. Many individuals who file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy find that they are able to keep most of their property. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is not for everyone. Individuals who have filed for this type of bankruptcy may have time limitations before they can file again. Whether you’ll be able to file for Chapter 7 will depend on your current income, your assets, your expenses, and your prior bankruptcy history.
Bankruptcy stops creditors from trying to collect debts, and it prevents your creditors from being able to garnish your wages to satisfy a debt, unless special permission is granted by the Bankruptcy Court. It can be an excellent choice for individuals facing insurmountable debt. According to the United States Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey, individuals should always consult with a lawyer before making the decision to pursue Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. A bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for 7 to 10 years after you file. If you seek out credit, the bankruptcy can have a negative impact on your ability to acquire credit or receive loans. Additionally, some employers request that individuals disclose whether they have ever had a bankruptcy. This could negatively affect a person’s ability to secure employment in some industries and sectors. That said, given the current economy, bankruptcy is becoming more and more common. Individuals who are seeking out bankruptcy should speak to a qualified bankruptcy lawyer. Stuart M. Nachbar, Esq. is a skilled Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorney in New Jersey, who can help you put an end to overwhelming debt.
What Property Can I Keep in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
New Jersey allows individuals to use either the state’s bankruptcy exemptions or federal bankruptcy exemptions. Individuals who are filing for bankruptcy should speak to their lawyer to determine whether to use New Jersey’s exemptions or the federal exemptions.
New Jersey’s exemptions protect assets including:
• Cemetery plots
• Disability benefits
• Up to $500 in annuity benefits
• Most life insurance benefits
• A car up to $1,000
• $1,000 in furniture and housewares
• Unemployment benefits
• Worker’s Compensation benefits
Federal exemptions include:
• Home equity up to $23,675
• A car up to $3,775
• $1,600 in jewelry
• Up to $12,250 in personal property
• $2,300 for tools or books
• Life insurance policies with No Cash Out Value
• Social security benefits, life insurance benefits, disability benefits, veteran’s benefits
• Some personal injury benefits
Because the protections vary on the state and federal level, whether an individual elects to use the federal or state benefits will highly depend on a person’s circumstances at the time of bankruptcy. As the Federal Exemptions provide more safe havens, those exemptions are usually used. Stuart M. Nachbar, Esq. is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer who can review your assets and help you determine the best course of action for you.
What Debts Will Not Be Discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy does not discharge all debts. Certain debts are exempt from the bankruptcy process. Debts that cannot be discharged in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy include but are not limited to:
• Child support
• Personal injury debts, if alcohol or drug related
• Most student loans
• Traffic tickets
• Tax debts
Certain purchases and loans made within 60 days of filing will also be exempt from the bankruptcy. Additionally, any debts not listed on the paperwork filed with the court during the bankruptcy process could possibly be exempt from discharge depending on your situation. For this reason, it is very important that individuals take the time to work carefully with a lawyer to ensure that all debts are listed.
Individuals who are considering a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy should speak to a bankruptcy lawyer who can help them determine if bankruptcy is the best course of action. Stuart M. Nachbar, Esq. has over 20 years of experience helping individuals file for bankruptcy. His firm works diligently to ensure that the process goes smoothly and that you protect your assets and discharge as many debts as allowed under the law.
Frequently Asked Questions About Chapter 7
As a Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer in Livingston, New Jersey, Stuart Nachbar sees hundreds of clients. Here are some of the questions that he’s frequently asked.
What are the qualifications for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey?
In order to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to earn under the median income of the state. This number is modified every year, so contact a lawyer to find out the maximum allowable income.
What if my annual income disqualifies me from Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
If you make too much for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Contact an attorney who handles both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy so they can provide you with the proper guidance.
Can I be evicted from my home while under bankruptcy?
When you file for bankruptcy, the judge issues an automatic stay. This prevents your creditors from pursuing their claims. It does not allow you to stay in your home indefinitely, but it does prevent your creditors from proceeding. It can buy you the time you need to move to a new place, or work out an arrangement with the Landlord or the Lender..
Why is Chapter 7 called a “Fresh Start” bankruptcy?
When you emerge from Chapter 7, mostl of your debts are discharged, which means that your creditors can’t continue to pursue you for additional funds. You can restart your life debt-free.
Will I lose my home with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
This may be the case, but it’s not automatic. If your other assets cover your outstanding obligations and your mortgage payments are current, you may be able to keep your home. Otherwise, you may have to consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in order to keep your home.
Helping You Move Forward Financially
The decision to file for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be difficult. You may already be facing pressures from underemployment, debt collectors, and creditors. Fortunately, with the help of a skilled Chapter 7 Bankruptcy lawyer, you can begin to move forward with your financial life. Stuart M. Nachbar, Esq. has the experience and the compassion to help you navigate the bankruptcy process efficiently and effectively.