Bankruptcy Law Archives

Bankruptcy Mediation in New Jersey

Bankruptcy mediation is a useful tool in New Jersey bankruptcies to reduce costs and limit risks. While bankruptcy stops most litigation against the person filing bankruptcy, there are some types of litigation that can continue or even be filed in the bankruptcy case. For example, certain types of claims, such as fraud claims, are not discharged in bankruptcy so a creditor could file a complaint alleging that the claim should not be eliminated because of fraud. These types of litigations can be expensive and lengthy to litigate. One way to reduce time and cost is through mediation. Experienced bankruptcy attorneys on the approved mediator list, that both sides agree to, serve as mediators. Unlike arbitration, where the arbitrator hears both sides and decides who is correct, a mediator works to get the two sides to agree to a resolution of the dispute. A mediator will help both sides understand the risks, issues and costs of litigation and encourage a resolution that makes sense for both sides. When both sides come in with an open mind, there is a good chance the matter will get resolved.

What happens at a bankruptcy meeting of creditors.

 When you file a bankruptcy you are required to attend a meeting of creditors. If you file a bankruptcy in South Jersey that meeting will occur in either Cherry Hill New Jersey, Camden NJ or Northfield NJ. The meeting generally is held about 30 days after filing. Most of the time no creditors come and your meeting is with just you, your attorney and the trustee. The trustee's job is basically to confirm that the information contained in your petition and schedules is accurate and to sell any nonexempt assets. Prior to the meeting your attorney will send numerous documents to the trustee which support the information contained in your bankruptcy. Your attorney will also review with you your petition and schedules prior to the meeting. As long as you have been straightforward with your attorney and your attorney has done what he is supposed to do the meeting of creditors should be relatively simple

Where Should Bankruptcy be Filed

Let's say you have a home in Northeast Philadelphia Pennsylvania and a vacation home in Margate New Jersey or a commercial property in Cherry Hill New Jersey. Should you file in Philadelphia Pennsylvania or can you file in New Jersey as well. 28 USC section 1408 says you can file where your domicile is located or where you reside or where your principal assets are located. So the answer can be either state, depending on circumstances. While the basic bankruptcy law is the same, there are differences in how certain sections are interpreted so it makes sense to consult an experienced Bankruptcy attorney to see what is best in your particular circumstances

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. Pre existing 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

Am I eligible to file Bankruptcy?

Whether you are from Pennsauken NJ or Cherry Hill New Jersey or Northeast Philadelphia Pennsylvania, individuals often come into my office and ask the same question. Am I eligible to file bankruptcy? Most times individuals are eligible to file bankruptcy. There are some limits. For example, section 109 of the bankruptcy code provides that to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy you cannot have more than $394,725.00 in unsecured debt or more than $1,184,200.00 in secured debt. If you do, you cannot file chapter 13, but you can file an individual chapter 11. Sometimes the real question is can they receive a discharge. For example, if an individual has filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy within the last 4 years, they are not eligible to receive a discharge in a chapter 13. However, that does not prevent the individual from filing a chapter 13. If they are behind with their mortgage, a chapter 13 can be used to pay mortgage arrears over 3 to 5 years even if they are not eligible for a discharge. Regarding chapter 7, a discharge will not be received if a chapter 7 is filed within 8 years of a prior chapter 7. In addition, the ability to file a chapter 7 and receive a discharge may be effected by other factors such as income compared to expenses. If an individual has too much disposable income, they could be forced to convert to chapter 7 or have their case dismissed. Equity in assets is also a factor in determining whether someone should file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Whether bankruptcy is an option and which type of bankruptcy are important issues that should be discussed with an experienced attorney before deciding how to proceed.

BANKRUPTCY MEETING OF CREDITORS

The bankruptcy code requires that a Trustee appointed by the US Trustee's office conduct a meeting of creditors. In a simple Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 meeting of creditors, typically no creditors appear. Business bankruptcies are more likely to have creditors appear. At the meeting, the trustee will ask the debtors questions under oath about their assets, liabilities, income and expenses. Your attorney will be there with you and generally will review your case with you prior to the meeting. A debtor may plead the fifth to avoid testifying about a pending criminal matter but the failure to testify could prevent the debtor from receiving a discharge. Section 344 of the Bankruptcy Code provides that a person required to testify can seek immunity, although whether it would be granted would be decided on a case by case basis.

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