How To File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New York

Posted By Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, PLLC || 2-Jun-2015

You've probably landed on this blog because you are interested in learning more about how to file a petition for bankruptcy protection in New York. A chapter 7 bankruptcy is also know as a "liquidation". It can be filed individually, or jointly with a spouse.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a relatively quick and cost-effective method for qualified individuals to discharge many types of unsecured debt such as: credit cards, medical debts, and car reposession debt. However, attempting to file bankruptcy on a student loan can be tremendously more complex as the threshold to qualify for discharge under the is very high in New York and is in part determined based on the brunner test. When seeking help with resolving such debts, consult with a student loan lawyer for a full evaluation as to your potential resolution options outside of bankruptcy.

When preparing the petition, it is important to ensure accuracy and that the information is complete.

If you are working with a lawyer to assist you with the bankruptcy, they will likely provide you with an questionnaire to get the basic information they need to begin drafting the chapter 7 petition. The questionnaire will request basic information such as: your name, address, social security number, date of birth, and whether you have ever filed for bankruptcy relief in the past. It will also inquire as to detailed information such as: whether your own real estate, automobiles, and other assets, and will require the information about the outstanding balance and the lien holder.

Upon completing the questionnaire, we request that our client's submit this information to our office along with a copy of:

  1. Driver's License
  2. Social Security Card
  3. 6-months of payment advices (ie. pay stubs)
  4. 3-months of statements for all bank accounts
  5. 4-years of tax returns
  6. Award letter for SSI, SSD, Unemployement, and any government subsidies such as food-stamps
  7. Recent statement for IRA / Pension / Retirement Accounts
  8. Recent life insurance statement and policy information
  9. Copy of automobile title and lien information
  10. Copy of mortgage statement and real estate closing documents
  11. Real Estate Appraisel

Although we obtain a 3-bureau credit report for each of our bankruptcy client's, we also request that our client's provide any recent collection letter and credit card statements. This is to ensure that the creditor matrix is complete.

Furthermore, as a pre-requisite of filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, one must complete a credit counseling course using the certified provider of their choice. Similarly, a filer must complete a debtors education course prior to the court issuing a discharge. Depending on the provider, this course may be available to be taken over the phone or online, and may be available in multiple languages.

Part of the qualifications process is to determine whether the petitioners household income falls within the mean-test for the respective jurisdiction. These numbers are updated periodically. You may check the median-income for your state at the U.S. Department of Justice Bankruptcy Means Test website.

Filing a bankruptcy is typically done with the assistance of petition filing software such as EZ-Filing, Legal-Pro, or Best Case, most of which require a paid license. A bankruptcy can be filed manually, however, it can be a tedious process.

Typically, the 341 meeting, also known as the "meeting of the creditors" is held 3 to 6 weeks after the petition is filed. Attendance by the petitioner is mandatory. If an attorney represents the petitioner, then the attorneys appearance is mandatory as well. Despite being known as the meeting of the creditors, there is typically no creditors present in most of the meetings we have attended for our consumer debtor client's. Creditors are more likley to appear at the hearing, and attempt to object to the discharge, if there are allegations of abuse or fraud perpetrated by the filing party.

TIP: One of the most common reasons we see people's cases adjourned at the meeting of the creditors is due to having insufficient identification information. Our bankruptcy attorneys advise our client's to be prepared at the meeting with a valid unexpired Drivers License as well as their social security card.

It is important to be aware that if the debtor is reaffirming a car loan in the bankruptcy, the court will oftentimes require an additional appearance to address the reaffirmation.

Bankruptcies are administered by the Federal Courts. In the State of New York, there are four districts. Our lawyers practice bankruptcy law in the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York.

The Eastern District Court has a main courthouse in New York City located at: 225 Cadman Plaza East Brooklyn, NY 11201 and an additional courthouse located in Suffolk County, Long Island at: 100 Federal Plaza Central Islip, NY 11722.

The Southern District Court has a courthouse in Manhattan location at: 500 Pearl Street, New York, NY 10007-1312 and an additional courthouse located at: 300 Quarropas Street, White Plains, NY 10601-4150.

Our Bankruptcy Lawyers in Brooklyn are experienced in assisting struggling debtors in finding solutions to their debts to help meet their goals of attaining a financial "fresh start". Speak to an attorney to learn more about bankruptcy debt relief, as well as whether you may avoid bankruptcy through alternatives such as debt settlement and debt defense.

We offer a FREE phone evaluation. Call us at 877-717-0098 to learn more.

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