Many individuals, families, and small businesses across the country are struggling with debt. Unfortunately, financial hardship can be difficult to talk about, causing many people to feel alone and even ashamed of their current economic situations. While bankruptcy is often considered a last resort, it may be the best path for you. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows you to climb out of debt and secure the fresh start they need to feel hopeful about your future once more. If you feel stuck with considerable credit card debt or other outstanding financial obligations, reach out to a caring and knowledgeable Watertown New York, bankruptcy attorney to discuss your situation. Together, you can identify the most strategic path forward to ensure you can regain control of your finances. Let’s explore some of the benefits of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Central New York and the North Country.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Basics
First, it’s helpful to understand how Chapter 7 bankruptcy works in New York. The Debtor must meet specific criteria to qualify for Chapter 7 relief, such as completing an approved online credit counseling program within 180 days before filing a Chapter 7 petition. Additionally, the petitioner must demonstrate that their current income falls below the state median income to qualify for relief under Chapter 7. Once the individual meets these requirements, they may proceed with the filing process.
Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Petition
The debtor must file a petition with their local bankruptcy court. In addition, they must provide the court with a list of assets and liabilities, documents that show their current income and expenditures, statements of financial affairs, and other relevant information. The attorney will prepare all the documents for you. It’s important to note that an “automatic stay” activates once the petition is filed. The automatic stay is what prevents your creditors from calling you, collecting on the debt, suing you, etc.
The Meeting of Creditors
A few weeks after you file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, there will be a court hearing, called a meeting of creditors, with a court appointed bankruptcy trustee. The attorney will attend the hearing with you. During this hearing, you will be placed under oath and asked to respond to questions about your financial affairs and property. This hearing is very straightforward (no trick questions) and literally lasts only a few minutes. You will also need to take a second online class, a debtor financial education class.
Obtaining the Chapter 7 Discharge
Once these steps are completed, the court will review the case and issue a discharge. The Chapter 7 discharge releases you from personal liability for most debts and stops creditors from collecting any remaining debts (your debts are wiped away). However, there are some debts that you can not wipe away in a bankruptcy, like child support, most taxes and student loan payments. Ultimately, receiving a Chapter 7 discharge gives you a fresh start so you can breathe again and rebuild your finances to face the future with greater confidence and hope. We will also help you with rebuilding your credit after the bankruptcy is over.
Why File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Relief in New York?
There are several reasons why you may want to consider filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition in Watertown. Below are just a few of the advantages of pursuing a Chapter 7 discharge.
A Straightforward and Quick Process
The path from filing a Chapter 7 petition to obtaining a discharge is actually relatively short. Most petitioners receive a discharge of their debts within three months of filing. Although the filing process takes time to prepare (as numerous documents are involved), your case will move forward quickly. Unlike a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, Chapter 7 bankruptcy does not require you to repay your debt via a court-approved repayment plan. Instead, you are fully released from your debt obligations once the court issues the discharge.
A Second Chance
Sometimes, all we need is a new opportunity to get our finances back on track. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows petitioners to enjoy much-needed freedom from debt obligations (such as credit card balances, medical bills, and personal loans), giving them time to start anew. While filing a bankruptcy will affect your credit score, you can work with your caring and experienced bankruptcy attorney to begin rebuilding your credit right away.
Take Control of Your Future Today
You are far from alone in your struggle with seemingly insurmountable debt. Although it can feel daunting to take steps to regain control of your finances, working with a trusted and compassionate bankruptcy attorney can give you the clarity, reassurance, and confidence to move forward. Together, you and your attorney can determine the most appropriate course of action, empowering you to feel hopeful about your future once again.