Camden NJ Bankruptcy Law Blog

Defending Preference Claims in Bankruptcy

When a business files for bankruptcy, the trustee will sometimes sue creditors to get money back from them if they received a payment within 90 days of the filing of the bankruptcy. This is known as a preference action since the idea behind it is to avoid a debtor that is about to file bankruptcy from preferring certain creditors over others. However, there are defenses that can be used that may allow the creditor to retain the money they received within 90 days. For example, if the payment was made in the ordinary course of business such as within 30 days of invoicing, that may be a valid defense. If, after receiving payment, the creditor extended new credit, to the extent the new credit extended is not repaid, an offset will be allowed. There are other defenses as well. If a demand is received from a debtor or a trustee, it is important to immediately consult with an experienced attorney as there are time limits in responding once the complaint has been filed.

Risk for Cosigner When Bankruptcy is Filed

At one time or another, most people have been asked to cosign a loan. The request is made because the credit of the borrower prevents that borrower from getting credit on their own. When someone agrees to cosign a loan, they are doing more then just lending their credit. They are putting themselves at financial risk in the event the borrower does not pay. For example, if you cosign on a credit card and the borrower files a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and eliminates their own liability, the cosigner remains responsible for the entire debt. In certain circumstances, such as the cosigning of a car loan, if the borrower files bankruptcy but decides to keep vehicle and continue to pay, the cosigner is ok as long as payments are made. However, if payments are not made and the car is repossessed, you are liable for the deficiency. Before you cosign a debt for anyone, know the risks. 

Bankruptcy Requirement of Filed Tax Returns in Pennsylvania

In order to proceed with a bankruptcy, federal, state and local tax returns that were required to be filed must be filed for the last four years in a Chapter 13 and for the last year in a Chapter 7. In other words, if you did not make enough income to file a tax return then you do not need to file that return just for the bankruptcy. If you are a Pennsylvania resident, you must file a PA tax return if you had income of more than $33.00. While this is a nominal amount, not all money received counts as income, such as social security. Pennsylvania law lists eight classes of income, including compensation, net profits from business, income from rents, dividends, interest and gambling losses among others. Consequently, if a bankruptcy is being considered, make sure tax returns are filed

Willingboro New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorney

The Law Office of Robert Braverman, LLC has recently opened a law office at 200 Campbell Drive, Willingboro New Jersey to better serve the individuals and businesses of Willingboro and nearby cities such as Westampton, Willingboro and Burlington City, NJ. Assisting clients with financial issues in bankruptcy, including Chapter 7, Chapter 13, Chapter 11 and Chapter 12 and debt negotiation will remain the primary focus of the law firm.

Personal Bankruptcies Down 50%

Personal bankruptcy filings have dropped by 50-percent over the past six years. There are a number of reasons for this decline in bankruptcy filings. Unemployment is down which is typically a factor. In addition, according to ABC,(Margot Kim http://abc30.com/finance/medical-bankruptcies/2252646/ ), outstanding medical debt has dropped as a result of the Affordable Care Act. Prexisting coverage requirements and limits on caps are two of the provisions that have contributed. The article also mentions the  'Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act' passed in 2005 as part of the explanation. However, I do not agree since the number of bankruptcies filed increased for a number of years after its passage and for the most part it has not prevented very many filings. Bankruptcy filings have historically been cyclical and with the next swing in the economy undoubtedly filings will rise again.

Exceptions to the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay

Most people realize that when a bankruptcy is filed, the automatic stay stops most lawsuits against the debtor. However, there are exceptions under Section 362(b). For example, a lawsuit can proceed against someone that filed bankruptcy in order to establish paternity. Lawsuits to enforce child support obligations or visitation rights can also be brought even though the defendant filed bankruptcy.

Business Debt Exception To Means Test

When the Bankruptcy Code was amended, one of the purposes was to make it more difficult for high income earners to eliminate their debt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. As a result, sections were added to the Bankruptcy Code which essentially  add some limitations on expenses if you make more than the average family your size in your state. However, the "means test" as it is called, only applies if the debts are "primarily" consumer debts. If your business related debts, such as debts from personal guarantees for a failed business, constitute more than 50% of your debt, the means test does not apply. This generally makes it easier to fit into a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. New Jersey courts may interpret whether a debt is a consumer or business debt differently from other states, so it is best to consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney to make this determination

What is an Involuntary Bankruptcy

An Involuntary Bankruptcy is filed not by the individual or company that has the debts, but instead by creditors of that individual or company. The involuntary bankruptcy can either be a Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Three creditors with combined claims totaling $15,775 or more can force a company into bankruptcy. The claims cannot be contingent or subject to a bona fide dispute. The filing must be in good faith or the case will be dismissed and the creditors could be responsible for fees and costs incurred by the debtor. The requesting parties must show the debtor is not paying its debts as the debts become due. Creditors will file an Involuntary Bankruptcy for various reasons including trying to force liquidation of the assets to pay its claims or to get the trustee appointed to review the books and records to make sure the debtor is not improperly favoring some creditors over other creditors.

GYMBOREE APPEARS TO BE ON VERGE OF BANKRUPTCY

Gymboree appears to be on the verge of bankruptcy according to The Denver Post. http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/05/gymboree-stores-closing/ A number of stores will likely close as part of the bankruptcy process. A number of brick and mortar retailers have struggled in recent years. According to the Gymboree website, southern New Jersey has stores in Cherry Hill, Deptford, Marlton and Blackwood NJ. There are also stores in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. It is not yet clear which stores will be closing.

Priority Claims in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 is a type of bankruptcy often used by debtors to save their home by paying mortgage arrears over time. However, when filing Chapter 13, a debtor is obligated to pay priority claims in full through the bankruptcy as well. Priority claims include domestic support obligations such as child support, certain types of taxes, claims for personal injuries from a motor vehicle accident when driver was intoxicated, and other types of claims are priority claims. In certain circumstances, this obligation could make retaining the home more difficult since instead of paying just the mortgage arrears, these priority claims must be paid as well. However, it could also make keeping the home easier since it may be more affordable by stretching these payments out over five years.

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