For many, simply the word “bankruptcy” conjures up visions of mountains of paperwork, complex filings, meetings with creditors and hearings in bankruptcy court. After the 2005 revisions to the bankruptcy laws that mandated that anyone seeking to permanently discharge debt under Chapter 7 submit to a “means test,” it may seem that the days of a “simple bankruptcy” are over. You may have to determine which debts qualify for discharge, as well as what assets are exempt from sale under state or federal laws.
Nonetheless, there are still situations in which you can quickly and effectively complete a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and get a fresh financial start. Even if the process takes longer than expected, you will benefit from the automatic stay, which goes into effect immediately, preventing creditors from calling, writing or taking legal action to collect a debt.
Here are the conditions that will make it easiest for you to file and complete a bankruptcy with little or no difficulty:
- Your household income is less than the state median — Typically, if your income is below the state median, you are free to file either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, and do not need to undergo the complex calculations set forth in the means test.
- You own few or no assets — If you have significant assets, you will have to determine what assets you can keep and which may be sold to satisfy your creditors. If you have few assets, chances are good you will be able to keep everything.
- You have no secured debt (mortgage, car note or any obligation secured by collateral) — If you have secured debt, the bankruptcy court must make a determination as to who has priority regarding the proceeds of a bankruptcy sale. With no secured debts, the proceeds are simply shared by your creditors.
- Your creditors have no basis for an allegation of fraud against you — Allegations of fraud happen rarely, but when they do, they take a long time to resolve.
- Your bankruptcy does not involve any business debt — Business debts are often larger and more complex than most personal debt.
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.