1. Arrive early. This will give you a chance to review your case with your lawyer and listen to the trustee ask other people questions that he/she will also ask you.
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
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.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a great way to save your home by paying arrearages on a mortgage over time or to pay back unpaid taxes. But Chapter 13 has debt limits. As of April 1, 2016 a debtor cannot file Chapter 13 bankruptcy if they have more than $394,725.00 in unsecured debt or more than $1,184,200.00 in secured debt. Personal guarantees from a failed business, student loans and IRS debt can put an individual in this debt limit dilemma. What options do they have? There are several. A couple in Cherry Hill New Jersey could not file a joint Chapter 13 bankruptcy to save their home because each owed significant student loans. However, individually their total was less than the unsecured debt limit so each filed a separate Chapter 13 to save their home and address their debt. An individual from Mount Laurel New Jersey needing to pay mortgage arrears was unable to file Chapter 13 because of debt left over from a failed business. In his case, an individual Chapter 11 bankruptcy was filed to save his home. Filing a Chapter 7 and doing a modification helped an individual from Voorhees, NJ save his home when he was over the debt limit. Even with high debt limits options exist to deal with debt so meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is an important step in finding a solution.