Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy FAQs

Understanding the differences

The following is intended only to provide you with basic information about bankruptcy. Bankruptcy issues are quite complex and individual questions should be answered only by a bankruptcy attorney who could assess your personal needs. This following is not a substitute for personal legal advice regarding your individual needs and circumstances.

Can somebody try to collect money from me after I file bankruptcy?
Personal bankruptcy provides you with immediate relief from most creditors. Once you file bankruptcy, most people you owe money to must immediately stop trying to collect money from you. They cannot legally call or write to you, start suit, continue suit, levy upon your wages or do anything to collect the money that they claim
is owed to them.

What are the differences amongst Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13?
With some exceptions, a successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy will result in a legal forgiveness ("discharge") of honest debts for individuals who qualify. The law provides certain exemptions which many times could allow you to keep most, if not all, of your personal belongings, including your home,your car and your retirement money. If there are not enough exemptions to protect all the things you own, or if your level of income is too high to allow you to qualify for a Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be considered. A Chapter 13 may allow to keep assets you would otherwise lose under Chapter 7, provided monthly payments are made through a plan lasting anywhere from three to five years. Also, Chapter 13 may allow you to get caught up on past due mortgage payments and avoid foreclosure. In some cases, Chapter 13 may allow you to “strip off” a second mortgage or a home equity line of credit. A Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a reorganization which is most frequently filed by companies or individuals engaged in business.

Are all my debts forgiven by bankruptcy?
Certain debts cannot be discharged through filing bankruptcy, whether in Chapter 7, Chapter 11 or Chapter 13. Alimony and child support cannot be discharged. Although older income taxes may in some instances be discharged, many other taxes are not. Most guaranteed student loans, restitution, fines, and indebtedness for injuries caused by driving while intoxicated cannot be discharged. Finally, debts incurred through fraudulent actions of the debtor, or excessive use of the credit card within a short period of time before filing, may not be discharged, if the person to whom you owe money files a timely objection with the court.

There are also reasons why you may be denied a bankruptcy discharge resulting in your case being concluded without any of your debt being legally forgiven. For example, if you transferred any assets out of your name to prevent creditors from getting them, you may be denied a bankruptcy discharge. Thus, while putting your money in the bank account of a relative to prevent a judgment creditor from getting it may seem like a good idea, it may actually prevent you from getting relief in personal bankruptcy.

What happens when I meet with my bankruptcy attorney?
At Murano & Roth, LLC, you will meet with a bankruptcy attorney at our Bergen County office who you can talk with. We are often complimented in our ability to make the complex simple, taking the time to explain things in plain English. We know how difficult things are for you, and we realize that an important part of our job is not only being able to listen and communicate with you, but being there when you need us.  Together, we will decide whether bankruptcy is right for you.

Can I keep my home if I file bankruptcy?
Many Bergen County homeowners who file Chapter 7 are able to keep their houses, while having their debts completely forgiven by the bankruptcy discharge, provided they continue to make their normal monthly mortgage payments. Based upon the fair market value of your home and the outstanding mortgage, your bankruptcy attorney can help you determine whether you could keep your home in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In instances in which your house would be in danger of foreclosure, you may wish to consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy which would allow you to keep your home, provided you make the payments required of you under the plan, along with your normal mortgage payments.

Can I keep my car?
In many cases, people are able to keep their cars after filing bankruptcy, provided they continue to make the monthly payments. Again, your ability to keep your car could be determined with the advice of your bankruptcy attorney.

Will my bankruptcy be heard at the Bergen County Courthouse?
No. Since bankruptcy is a federal procedure, there are no Bergen County bankruptcy hearings at the courthouse in Hackensack. Rather, your bankruptcy hearing will take place in Newark, New Jersey.

Should I file bankruptcy?
Filing for bankruptcy should never be looked upon as an easy way out. It will certainly impact your ability to obtain credit for many years to come, and the decision to file should be the result of much thought and deliberation. If, however, you find yourself in a position where you cannot realistically anticipate repayment of your obligations, it may be an option you wish to discuss with your your bankruptcy attorney.

Take control of your life. Contact us. Call 201.265.3400

MURANO & ROTH, LLC: Bergen County Bankruptcy Lawyers serving the following communities:  Oradell, Paramus, Westwood, Demarest, Emerson, River Edge, Hillsdale, Waldwick, Ridgewood, Hackensack, Park Ridge, Woodcliff Lake, Dumont, Bergenfield, Lodi, Garfield, Hackensack Wyckoff,Wood-Ridge, Woodcliff Lake,Wallington, Waldwick, Upper Saddle River, Teterboro, Tenafly, Teaneck, South Hackensack, Saddle River, Saddle Brook, Rutherford, Rockleigh, Rochelle Park, River Vale, River Edge, Ridgewood, Ridgefield Park, Ridgefield, Ramsey, Old Tappan, Oakland, Norwood, Northvale, North Arlington, New Milford, Moonachie, Montvale, Midland Park, Maywood, Mahwah, Lyndhurst, Little Ferry, Leonia, Ho Ho Kus, Haworth, Hasbrouck Heights, Harrington Park, Glen Rock, Franklin Lakes, Fort Lee, Fairview, Fair Lawn, Englewood Cliffs, Englewood, Elmwood Park, Edgewater, East Rutherford, Cresskill, Closter, Cliffside Park, Carlstadt, Bogota, Alpine, Allendale and the surrounding communities.

The Murano & Roth, LLC law firm in Oradell, NJ is devoted to providing quality legal services to our clients and upholding your right to live free of legal drama. Our lawyers offer skilled legal counsel and are available to help you. Call our office today at 201.265.3400.

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