Difficult times call for difficult decisions. If you’re struggling financially, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you get out of debt, protect your assets, and obtain a discharge order.

Because each bankruptcy case is unique, filing for Chapter 7 can be risky if you don’t have proper planning, consideration, and experience. The Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers at Middlebrooks Shapiro, P.C. are here for you. They’ll listen to you, focus on the big picture, and give the guidance you need to get through this very difficult time.

Ready for a fresh start? Let us help you. Schedule your free Chapter 7 bankruptcy consultation today!

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What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy. It’s filed by people and businesses and is also known as a “liquidation.” Chapter 7 allows certain “exempt” property to be protected and requires a trustee to sell all other “nonexempt” property and use the proceeds to pay creditors.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is used to stop creditor collection actions, such as:

  • Lawsuits
  • Wage garnishments
  • Bank levies

What Debts Can a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Discharge?

Most people file Chapter 7 in order to obtain a discharge order. A discharge order will generally discharge unsecured debts such as:

  • Credit cards
  • Medical bills
  • Private loans

Debts that won’t be discharged by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy include:

  • Student loans
  • Certain taxes
  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Debts obtained through fraud

In addition, you should know that Chapter 7 bankruptcy may result in the sale of your property.

How Do I File For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is started by filing a bankruptcy petition with a bankruptcy court. This petition may be filed by:

  • Individually (You or your spouse)
  • Jointly (You and your spouse)
  • Your partnership or business

Generally, a petition needs to be filed with the bankruptcy court where you live, but you may also file with the bankruptcy court where:

  • Your business is organized
  • The principal place of business
  • In the location of your business’s principal assets

Some Quick Facts About Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

  • A discharge order is only available to people, not to partnerships or businesses
  • Credit counseling must be completed through an approved agency before a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed (Except for some emergency situations)
  • There are no debt or asset limitations to filing Chapter 7
  • You may be prevented from filing Chapter 7 if your household income is too high, or due to prior bankruptcy filings

What is A Chapter 7 Reaffirmation Agreement?

Chapter 7 allows you to get rid of cars, homes, furniture, jewelry and other assets that you’ve pledged as collateral to a lender. But some people want to keep those assets and continue paying the debt.

If this is your preference, you’ll need to get approval from the bankruptcy court to “reaffirm” these assets and the related secured debt. This is done by presenting the bankruptcy court with a reaffirmation agreement between you and your lender.

About Middlebrooks Shapiro

New Jersey Attorney Melinda D. Middlebrooks and Attorney Joseph M. Shapiro have over 30 years of bankruptcy law experience. From our office in Springfield, NJ, we help clients with the most basic or complex personal and business bankruptcy cases by leading them through the legal process of numerous practice areas.

Call 973-218-6877 to speak with the experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Middlebrooks Shapiro. We’ll ensure you get the perspective you need to understand the full picture and the right guidance to have a successful bankruptcy, rebuild your credit, and move forward with your new debt-free life.