Filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Brooklyn, NY - FAQ

Posted By Law Office of Simon Goldenberg, PLLC || 9-Nov-2015

Bankruptcy can be confusing and complicated. Hiring an attorney can make the process tremendously easier for the debtor. Our office handles the bankruptcy planning, so that we can identify red-flags that may interfere with the discharge of debts. We prepare the bankruptcy petition, which is typically in the range of 80 pages. We handle the filing of the bankruptcy with the court, and the submission of necessary documents to the Trustee, as well as appearing with the debtor at any required meetings. We keep in close touch with our client's every step of the way.

Not all bankruptcy lawyers are the same. Hire a lawyer that has the experience and reputation to give your matter with the attention it deserves.

We offer a free bankruptcy phone evaluation, call our law firm at (888) 301-0584.

Bankruptcy is oftentimes an option of last resort and is seriously contemplated when other options fail or are unavailable. Read about alternatives to bankruptcy to learn about debt relief options that can help potentially avoid filing for bankruptcy. Our attorneys provide rigorous defense from debt collection lawsuits and we are also highly tuned debt negotiators.

For the convenience of our readers, please enjoy our library of frequently asked bankruptcy questions listed below:

  1. What are the fees to file bankruptcy?

There are several different costs and fees that apply in a “typical” Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Some examples are: the court filing fees, credit report, car and real estate valuations, and credit counseling/debtors education courses. Click the link above for a breakdown of the most common fees.

Tip - Individual vs. Joint Filing: The cost of the court-filing fee for a chapter 7 bankruptcy is the same regardless of whether it is an individual or joint filing.

Tip - Filing Fee Waiver: If you earn less than 150% of the poverty guideline (as determined by the federal government) and cannot pay the court filing fee in installments, then you could file an application to request that the court filing fee is waived. The judge may grant or deny the application, or may order a hearing to obtain additional information.

  1. What is the bankruptcy means-test?

The purpose of the means-test is to help identify if the filer is a suitable candidate for Chapter 7. Filing for bankruptcy while exceeding the means-test can result in a dismissal of the chapter 7 filing, or a conversion to a chapter 13 bankruptcy. The test primarily looks at the income of the filer, in relation to certain expenses.

Tip – Business Debt Exception: If the debts are primary “business debt”, then the means-test may be omitted. Examples of business debts are money owed to vendors and suppliers, business loans, commercial rent, credit cards used to pay business expenses, and merchant cash advance loans.

  1. Will bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Yes, however, each filer will have a different impact to their credit score as a result of filing.

Once debts are discharged in a chapter 7 bankruptcy, each respective account that appears on the filers credit report should be updated to reflect a notation such as “included in bankruptcy” along with the deletion of any outstanding balance. It is not uncommon for credit bureaus to be delayed in updating information, in which case, a credit bureau dispute can be helpful.

Tip: If you are discharging a joint debt (like a credit card or car loan with a co-signer), the co-obligors credit report may be updated to reflect that the debt was included in bankruptcy, even though that person was never part of the bankruptcy filing.

  1. Can I be approved for a credit card or car loan after bankruptcy?

Yes, it’s possible to qualify for new credit cards and loans, however, it will be largely contingent on your credit score and income. Filing bankruptcy does not mean that a person will never be approved for a loan. It order to get a good credit score, the filer must take steps to rebuild their credit. We have seen many situations where our client’s credit score has improved after bankruptcy, and this increase in credit score is largely due to the elimination of large balances of debt.

Tip: Our law firm obtains a specialized credit report for our potential bankruptcy filers. It provides an estimate for what the projected score will be 1-year after being discharged for bankruptcy.

  1. Should I hire a cheap bankruptcy lawyer?

Hiring a “cheap” bankruptcy lawyer is somewhat akin to buying a cheap pair of sox. It might look adequate at first glance, and it appear to save you money as compared to other options, but the purchase is a waste if the socks stretch out, get holes, and fail to keep your feet warm. Not only will you experience some unnecessary discomfort, but you will inevitably buy a better pair of sox, which means that you really didn’t save any money at all. Hence the saying: “Cheap People Pay Twice”.

A cheap lawyer might be desperate for clients, might not manage their files well, and may have a limited ability to provide customer service because they are not compensated enough. It is important to have a strong line of communication with your lawyer.

Tip: With respect to the legal costs for filing for bankruptcy, look for an affordable lawyer, rather than a “cheap lawyer”. Also, it is critical to ensure that the attorney you hire has the experience to handle your bankruptcy competently, and is accessible to you in-person and by phone.

  1. How to file bankruptcy in New York?

Our lawyers have helped many individuals in New York City successfully discharge their debts in chapter 7 bankruptcy. Learn some of our tips and tricks on how to avoid common pitfalls when filing for bankruptcy in New York.

  1. Best bankruptcy lawyer in New York City?

Reading reviews from former client’s is one of the best ways of gauging whether an attorney is the right fit for you. There is no single “best lawyer” for bankruptcy, and there are actually many competent attorneys that practice in the area of bankruptcy in New York City.

The best lawyer for you is the one that can help you avoid potential problems and help you achieve a positive disposition. Hire an attorney that is accessible. Hire an attorney that is affordable. Hire an attorney that is honest with expectations. Hire an attorney that is trustworthy.

  1. Can I keep my house in bankruptcy?

New York City allows for generous exemptions for a primary residence, known as the Homestead Exemption. In Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan, the NY Homestead statute allows an exemption of up to $150,000 in real estate equity per filer.

Tip: In the situation of a spousal/joint bankruptcy filing where both spouses jointly own a home in NYC, each spouse could claim up to $150,000 in equity (as necessary), for total potential homestead exemption of $300,000. This powerful exemption can make the difference between keeping a home, or potential losing it to liquidation.

Tip: The federal exemptions allow for a much smaller homestead exemption. It is important to compare the available exemptions in light of all the assets that need to be protect from liquidation by the bankruptcy Trustee.

  1. I filed bankruptcy in the past, how long do I need to wait to file again?

The time period is counted from the discharge date, not the filing date. Short of abuse of the bankruptcy court, there is no per se restriction on the amount of times a debtor can file for bankruptcy. However, if a debtor received a bankruptcy discharge in the past, it is important to wait the necessary amount of time before refiling. Special attention needs to be paid in situations where someone filed a Chapter 7, and now seeks a Chapter 13, and vice versa.


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The Law Office of Simon Goldenberg PLLC has assisted many individuals with respect to settling, discharging, disputing, or otherwise resolving their debts. This includes individuals that qualified for a discharge of their debts in chapter 7 bankruptcy. Learn more about our Brooklyn Bankruptcy Lawyers. While our primary office is located in Brooklyn, NY, our firm assists with legal debt relief options across New York. However, our bankruptcy practice is limited to the Eastern and Southern Districts of New York. Contact us to learn more.

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