Good Reasons Not to Handle Your Own Bankruptcy Filing

Good Reasons Not to Handle Your Own Bankruptcy Filing

When you are facing financial challenges and have concluded that your best option moving forward is a bankruptcy filing, you may be tempted to handle the bankruptcy on your own, particularly if you are seeking protection under Chapter 7. It’s almost always a bad idea to do that—here are some of the reasons why.

  • Bankruptcy is complex—you might choose the wrong chapter and end up losing money or property. You might be disqualified if you  miss a step, like completing the two courses required. Or you might mess up the Means Test, which is complex. Even experienced attorneys such as us use specialized software and tools to get it right.
  • The forms and procedures are complex and ever changing. Filing the wrong forms could jeopardize your bankruptcy.
  • You may fail to file important documents, or miss critical deadlines
  • You may not get the relief you wanted, needed or expected—Some debts cannot be discharged in bankruptcy. For example, if you file bankruptcy primarily to rid yourself of child support or student loan payments, you won’t succeed, as those types of debts typically cannot be discharged.
  • You may not get all the benefits to which you are entitled—there are both state and and federal exemptions. Some property is excluded. But you won’t know what to do if you’re not trained as a bankruptcy lawyer or assistant.
  • You do not know the judges and the trustees, or the accepted procedures where you are filing.

Contact 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. For an appointment, call Neuner & Ventura at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Representing Clients across South Jersey

Can Criminal Debts Be Discharged?

Suppose you’ve run into trouble with the law—maybe you’ve incurred criminal penalties for drunk driving or have been ordered to pay restitution for malicious destruction of property or embezzlement. If you are facing financial challenges, you may be considering a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, so that you can permanently discharge some of your debts. Can any of the obligations arising out of the criminal proceeding be discharged in bankruptcy?

The answer—it depends. There are some criminal obligations that are not subject to discharge. For example, any debt you owe for fines or restitution that accompany conviction for a crime simply cannot be discharged. In addition, any fine or penalty imposed by a government agency is not subject to discharge.

However, in New Jersey, certain motor vehicle convictions result in a “motor vehicle surcharge”. This is payable to a state insurance fund. For that reason, courts have ruled that these surcharges can be discharged in either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If you have criminal fines, traffic tickets, or non-tax penalties, these will not be dischargeable. We recommend taking steps to pay these, or plan to be paying them.

That said, for many people, a bankruptcy which clears away other debt makes it easier to pay the fines or penalties that must be paid.

Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP

At Neuner & Ventura, LLP, we know that the bankruptcy process can be intimidating and confusing.  We offer a free initial consultation to every client. For an appointment, call our office at 856-596-2828 or send us an e-mail. We do, however, reserve the right to charge a fee to review any work done by another attorney. Evening and weekend appointments are available upon request.

Representing Clients across South Jersey

How Chapter 7 Really Works When Surrendering Your Home

Giving Up Your Home in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

If you are struggling to make your house payments, you might be able to file for Chapter 7, discharge some of your debts and keep your home. In the long term, though, that might not be in your best interests. The most effective way for you to get a fresh financial start may be to simply surrender your home as part of your bankruptcy filing. How do you do that and what are the consequences?

Surrendering your home in bankruptcy may make sense, but requires care and planning

When you took out a mortgage loan, you signed two papers. One was the Note, or “IOU” in which you promised to repay the loan. The second was a mortgage, in which you gave the lender your home as collateral. In a bankruptcy, your discharge eliminates your personal liability under the Note. However, the mortgage lien remains in place.

For many people, a home or other real estate is simply too expensive for them to keep. In these situations, a decision to let the real estate go to foreclosure may be the proper path to long term financial stability. However, many people just move out, and that can create many other problems. In other words, there is a right and a wrong way to “surrender” a home. Moving out too early can create other problems, including an inability to keep insurance in place to protect you from liability damage claims if someone or their property is injured or damaged. A vacant property is prone to vandalism. If there is a homeowners association or condo association in place, those fees need to be paid until the property is no longer in your name. Moving out too soon can actually make matters worse!

This is an area where individualized advice from an experienced attorney is essential. There are several useful articles and blog posts on our website. Check them out!

Contact Neuner & Ventura, LLP

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

Representing Clients across South Jersey

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