We Can Help You Get Back On Your Feet Again
- Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2006
- What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
- Waht is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
- Alternatives to Bankruptcy
- Frequently Asked Questions
These are extremely difficult economic times. In many instances mounting debt is taking a stranglehold on individuals and their families.
Beware of so-called credit repair services that promise to reduce or eliminate your debt.
Unfortunately, in too many instances, these are no more than scams designed to exploit people when they are desperately looking for solutions and are most vulnerable. Don’t let fear paralyze you when you need to act decisively.
At Garces & Grabler, P.C., we provide a free consultation with experienced legal and financial professionals who have handled a countless number of cases of people in similar circumstances.
These attorneys will sit down with you individually and confidentially review your financial situation. They will review in detail your entire personal financial status. They will look at your household income and review it side by side next to your household expenses. Based on their findings, they will make educated recommendations as to all your financial and legally available options. This analysis will be provided free of charge without any legal or financial obligation.
Contact us today to find out how we can help you get a fresh start through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, consolidate your debts for easy repayment through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, or allow us to negotiate your existing debt and work out a repayment settlement with all your creditors as an alternative to filing a bankruptcy.
If you require us to immediately file your case because of a garnishment, foreclosure or threat of repossession, we can file your claim in a matter of minutes.
The sooner you take action, the more options you have to resolve your financial situation.
The new Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2006 was signed by President Bush on April 20, 2005 and is now the law.
The new law requires that any person interested in filing for bankruptcy follows some new procedural requirements and provide certain items not previously required by the Bankruptcy Code. For example:
A. All prospective bankruptcy clients must also gather a number of items, if applicable, which are:
- 2006, 2007 and 2008 tax returns. If not filed, client must order transcript from Internal Revenue via walk into any agency “see attached addresses nearest location of Request Form for Tax Transcripts” or visit online at http://www.irs.gov/individuals/index.html.
- Pay-stubs for the last 6 months for husband and wife. If debtor gets assistance from anyone else in the household, we will need six (6) months of their pay stubs, as well. Six months pay-stubs means from the date the petition is filed (i.e. if petition is filed in January, we will need pay-stubs July 2008 to the Present Date.
- Any documents regarding Pensions, 401(k), IRA, PERS, etc. with value in accounts or loan balances.
- Any documents regarding life insurance policies with value or loan balances.
- Bank Statements for the last 6 months, from the date petition is filed.
Copy of recent credit report. Client may contact the following credit report agencies:
a. Trans Union (800) 916-8800 www.tuc.com
b. Equifax (800) 685-1111 www.equifax.com
c. Experian (888) 397-3742 www.experian.com
Recent payoff statements for the following:
b. Car Loans
c. Motorcycle Loans
d. Personal Loans
- Appraisal of CMA (Certified Market Analysis) from a realtor for real property, no less than a year old.
- Recorded Deed(s) for real property(s).
- Recorded Mortgage(s) for real property and mortgage note.
- Authorization Form for people who have mortgages.
- Any pending personal injury, workers’ compensation, lawsuits where possible chance of getting money. Client must provide letter from their attorney with estimated value on the case and date incident occurred.
- Recent credit card statements.
- Judgment or complaints filed against client.
- Any losses or transfers of any property in the last 4 years (Car, home, job, etc.).
- Lease for apartment, if client has a lease.
Once the client has paid in full, the next step will be for the client to do the consultation for the credit-counseling certificate. DO NOT DO THIS UNTIL SPECIFICALLY INSTRUCTED BY YOUR ATTORNEY. (The certificate is valid for only 60 days, and the fee is $50.00. We want you to avoid having any additional unnecessary expenses.)
B. All bankruptcy candidates must contact, in person, by phone, or through the internet, one of several credit counseling agencies approved by the United States Trustee Office. The prospective bankruptcy petitioner’s financial situation will be evaluated and, if the candidate qualifies, the candidate will be approved as eligible to file for bankruptcy by the credit counseling agency, which will then issue, as appropriate, a Credit Counseling Certificate. Typically, there is a $50.00 fee for this initial step that the potential petitioner pays directly to the Credit Counseling agency.
Credit Counseling Certificate. Client may call the following numbers for credit counseling:
a. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Atlanta Inc. (800) 251-2227 or https://onlinecounsel.cccsatl.org/bk/scripts/Intintion.asp (Spanish or English). Firm Code: 2979
b. Credit Advisors Foundation (800) 942-9027 or www.creditadvisor.orgc. Family Guidance Center Corp. (609) 586-2574 in person & telephone
The future is not as hopeless as you might believe. You have alternatives.
At all times, please keep in mind that the decision to file for bankruptcy is not an easy one and the decision to hire a lawyer is an important one.
The attorneys of Garces & Grabler, P.C. have the combined necessary knowledge, experience, compassion and understanding to help you through the entire process.
In the past, Garces & Grabler, P.C. has prepared and filed tens of thousands of bankruptcy petitions. We have helped thousands of New Jersey residents save their homes from sheriff sales, avoid repossessions, and become debt free. If you are having financial difficulty, bankruptcy may be your answer.
We can provide you with legal counsel in a straightforward, non-judgmental manner. After your free initial consultation you will know your legal rights, and your options (from bankruptcy alternatives to seeking protection under the U.S. Bankruptcy Code).
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to:
- Keep all property (house, car, etc.) if you are current on your payments
- Stop all wage garnishments
- Eliminate almost all unsecured (credit card) debt; medical bills; most personal loans; judgments; deficiency judgments associated with the repossession of a motor vehicle
- Eliminate all lawsuits or civil judgments
- Prevent any creditor from placing a lien on your home
- Have your drivers license reinstated if it had been suspended due to having a car accident while your vehicle was uninsured or due to unpaid parking summons
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed for individuals who are unable to pay their unsecured debts. In many instances, the Debtor does not give up any assets. Businesses also utilize Chapter 7 to discharge their liability on debts.
A Chapter 7 begins with the filing of a petition which, for the most part, initiates the “automatic stay.” This prevents creditors from taking any action against you to collect a debt without following strict rules. For the most part, they can’t call you, they can’t write you, they can’t sue you, and they can’t continue to sue you if they have already started a lawsuit, unless allowed to do so by the bankruptcy court.
We can advise you on such issues as whether a debt can be discharged, whether you can, and how to keep, assets such as your home, your car, your retirements benefits, and on many other related issues.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to:
- Reorganize and consolidate your debts and repay them interest free over a 36-month or 60-month period
- Stop foreclosure on your home if filed prior to sheriff sale
- Stop creditors from collecting any money from you
In order to qualify for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your repayment plan must be approved by the court. This approval will require gainful employment or some other verifiable source of consistent income. You must be able to demonstrate not only that you have the financial ability to pay the regular mortgage payment and your other living expenses, but also the economic ability to make an additional payment to the trustee to consolidate your outstanding debt.
Under Chapter 13, you are still obligated to make all future mortgage payments to the bank or mortgage company as before, plus an additional payment to the trustee to cover the outstanding consolidated debt amount.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is primarily designed for individuals who earn a regular income. It is typically, though not always, for people who are behind on their mortgage payments and their property is in foreclosure.
In such situations, a Chapter 13 petition is filed to prevent or delay a sheriff sale. A Chapter 13 reorganization plan would be eventually set up for a period of five years to allow a debtor time to catch up with the mortgage payments, refinance, sell, and/or pay other debts.
A Chapter 13 also works almost the same way if a person is financing a car and he or she is behind on their car payments and wish to retain the car.
If a person or married couple has credit card debt, these debts could also be listed on the bankruptcy petition.
The two major factors that determine which type of bankruptcy a person will file is how much disposable income is available after all expenses are calculated and how much equity remains in one’s home.
If you are having problems with a small number of creditors, are receiving harassing phone calls yet you do not have enough debt to justify filing for bankruptcy, or you do not qualify to file for bankruptcy, we can assist you in debt negotiations and work out debt settlements.
We will work one-on-one with your creditors to get the most cooperation and best deal possible.
- What should I bring to my initial bankruptcy consultation?
- Do I have to disclose all of my assets?
- How can I stop wage garnishment, bank account levies, car repossessions or foreclosure?
- What happens once I have retained a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney?
- When does a bankruptcy commence?
- How long will the entire process take?
- What is a bankruptcy discharge?
- Can all debts be discharged by filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey?
- What does reaffirming a debt mean?
- Who is a trustee and what does a trustee do?
- Should I file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in NJ or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in NJ?
- Can I switch from one chapter to another?
- Do I have to attend any proceedings?
- Do complications usually arise? If so, what are they?
- How long will a bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
- If I find myself in financial difficulty again can I file another bankruptcy petition?
2. Do I have to disclose all of my assets?
Yes. The Bankruptcy Code may allow you to protect all or most of your property, but only if that property is listed on your New Jersey bankruptcy petition. If a creditor or the bankruptcy Trustee later discovers an undisclosed asset you could not only lose that property but also have your discharge denied. You must disclose all your assets and all your debts.
3. How can I stop my wages from being garnished, my bank account from being levied upon, my car from being repossessed or my home from being foreclosed upon?
For the most part, filing a New Jersey bankruptcy petition immediately stops all legal proceedings. That is, however, a temporary halt. Later, depending on your plans and the law, some of these legal proceedings are forever barred, modified, or allowed to proceed.
4. What happens once I have retained a New Jersey bankruptcy attorney?
Once our New Jersey bankruptcy attorneys have been retained, our Bankruptcy practice group will handle all creditor calls and will begin gathering the necessary information in order to complete your petition in New Jersey. In the meantime, if a creditor contacts you, inform them that you have retained us and provide them with our telephone number. Also, provide us with any correspondence you may receive while your New Jersey bankruptcy petition is processed for filing, and thereafter.
5. When does a New Jersey bankruptcy commence?
Typically, a New Jersey bankruptcy case commences with the filing of the New Jersey bankruptcy petition. The day of preliminary relief is the day that the New Jersey bankruptcy petition is filed with the court. On that day, or shortly thereafter, the New Jersey bankruptcy clerk notifies the creditors that you have filed for bankruptcy.
The U.S. Trustee’s Office will appoint a trustee to review your bankruptcy case. You will be required to meet with the trustee usually within one month after your bankruptcy petition is filed.
We have represented hundreds of clients in meetings before trustees. We have a thorough knowledge of all the bankruptcy rules and procedures with the U.S. Bankruptcy Courts in New Jersey. We will thoroughly prepare you for your meeting and review with you, ahead of time, as many prospective questions that the trustee could ask you.
6. How long will the entire process take?
In most Chapter 7 cases, a discharge is received in three months after the New Jersey bankruptcy petition is filed. A Chapter 13 case usually takes at least five years for the plan to be completed, unless an event, such as a sale of a home or an asset, or a refinance, occurs meanwhile, and brings it to a premature end.
7. What is a bankruptcy discharge?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge is a court order that sets forth particular relief, that could include a relief of your entire debt burden. Generally, in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor receives a discharge after the “repayment” plan is completed. Further, as a general matter, the bankruptcy discharge has per effect to prohibit creditors from communicating with the debtor regarding the discharged debt.
8. Can all debts be discharged by filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey?
Under the law, the following debts are usually not discharged by filing bankruptcy in New Jersey: taxes, student loans, alimony, child support obligations, criminal restitution, debts for death or personal injury caused by driving while intoxicated from alcohol or drugs, and motor vehicle surcharges assessed by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. Also if you are found to have committed certain types of improper conduct described in the Bankruptcy Code, the court may deny you a discharge, or limit that discharge in various possible ways.
9. What does reaffirming a debt mean?
Reaffirming a debt means that you sign and file with the court a legally enforceable document, which states that you promise to repay all or a portion of the debt that may otherwise have been discharged in your New Jersey bankruptcy case. Reaffirmation agreements are strictly voluntary, must not impose an undue burden on you or your dependents, and must be in your best interest. As a practical matter, a debtor might choose to enter into one or more of such reaffirmation agreements to maintain a car, a household item, or for some other reason.
10. Who is a trustee and what does a trustee do?
A bankruptcy trustee is a private individual or corporation assigned to represent the interests of the bankruptcy estate and debtor’s creditors, under the general supervision of the court and the direct supervision of the U.S. trustee or Bankruptcy Administrator.
A trustee represents the interests of the bankruptcy estate and the creditors. The trustee’s responsibilities include reviewing the debtor’s petition, liquidating the property of the estate, and making distributions to creditors. The trustee may also bring actions against creditors or the debtor to recover property of the bankruptcy estate.
A Chapter 13 trustee also serves as a disbursing agent. He or she collects payments from debtors and makes distributions to creditors.
11. Should I file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in NJ or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in NJ?
Under which chapter to file depends on various complex factors. These factors include, for example, whether or not there are secured assets at stake, such as a house or car that needs bankruptcy protection. Typically, you file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy because you are behind on your mortgage or car loan and you do not want to lose these assets. Therefore, through bankruptcy, you enter into a “repayment plan” to get caught up on the mortgage and to repay the loan, or to refinance or sell the house at your ease.
12. Can I switch from one chapter to another?
You may have a choice in deciding what chapter of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code best suits your needs. More often than not, however, your circumstances dictate your choice, including whether you qualify to file for bankruptcy in New Jersey. Nevertheless, even if you had already filed for relief under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you may be eligible to convert your New Jersey bankruptcy case to one under a different bankruptcy chapter. For the most part, you cannot convert a bankruptcy case repeatedly from one bankruptcy chapter to another.
13. Do I have to attend any proceedings?
Yes. You have to attend at least one formal proceeding, the meeting of creditors (also called a 341 meeting), which takes place at the office of the U.S. trustee. The meeting is typically held 20 to 40 days after the petition is filed. During that meeting, the bankruptcy trustee will go over your petition with you and your attorney, and ask you questions such as whether you stand to gain any income from sources such as an inheritance, lottery winning in this or any other state, or from any civil suit with an award that exceeds the legal exemptions applicable. Creditors, and/or the trustee may ask for a reasonable explanation as to how you incurred your debts. Your attorney will prepare you for, and attend the meeting with you, as well as any other meetings or court appearances.
14. Do complications usually arise? If so, what are they?
Even after a New Jersey bankruptcy petition has been filed, mortgage companies may still continue to make efforts to take your home, or collect on debts. The attorneys for the lender holding your mortgage can file a variety of motions with the bankruptcy court to protect the interests of their clients.
As New Jersey bankruptcy lawyers, we have completed and filed hundreds of motions in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases in New Jersey. Some of these different types of motions are motions to reinstate bankruptcy stay protection, motions for private sales of residences, as well as motions to avoid judgment liens on real property.
16. In the future, if I find myself again in financial difficulty, can I file another bankruptcy petition?
You may be able to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey eight years after a discharge. A Chapter 13 petition may be filed, under most circumstances, 180 days after a discharge.
Consultations are free and appointments are available daily including most Saturdays, except Sundays and major holidays.
To speak with a Bankruptcy Law attorney immediately call toll free 1–800–923–3456 or contact us online to discuss your legal matter today.