How Soon Can You File for Bankruptcy in New Jersey

Filing for Bankruptcy in New Jersey—How Soon Can You Do It?

If you are struggling financially, and have just moved to New Jersey, perhaps to get a fresh start, you may have concluded that a personal bankruptcy filing is the best way to address your financial concerns. Because bankruptcy law is federal, you may believe that the location of your filing doesn’t matter. This is not entirely true, though, as individual states have their different exemption schemes which determine what property an individual debtor in bankruptcy can keep free and clear of claims of unsecured creditors. Here’s how the bankruptcy residency requirements work.

The Effect of Residency on Bankruptcy Filings

The residency requirements do not prohibit you from filing for bankruptcy protection—they only have an impact on where you can file your petition. A bankruptcy can be filed in the federal court district where you have (A) resided or (B) had your principal place of business or (C) had your “domicile” for all or the greatest portion the past 6 months (180 days). A domicile is where you intended to be your permanent residence. This can be determined by various factors such as where you had your property, voted or had your driver’s license. But if you moved, you may be able to file in as little as 91 days.

Moved in that past 2 years? It could affect what you will be able to keep.

For many people who have moved from one state to another in the past 2 years, the more important question is what exemption scheme will apply. Some states, like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, have kept the fairly liberal federal bankruptcy exemptions. But others have “opted out” and set up their own bankruptcy exemptions. This can be a problem if you did not have your current state of residence as your domicilefor all of the 2 years before filing bankruptcy. If that is true, then the exemptions that will not necessarily the ones that apply in the state where you now live. Instead, the exemptions that will apply are those where you were domiciled for most of the period from 2 and 2 ½ years before filing. Just be aware of this. Applying this rule is tricky and needs careful analysis by an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP

At Neuner & Ventura, LLP,we understand the stress, anxiety and confusion that can be associated with a potential bankruptcy filing. We offer a free initial consultation to every client. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. For an appointment, call us at (856) 596-2828 or send us an e-mail. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

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