Individuals, families, and businesses are not alone in their financial struggles. If you are facing a large amount of debt, it’s natural to feel overwhelmed and anxious about the future. Many people with significant debts experience overwhelming stress on a daily basis. While these feelings are common and understandable, it’s essential to recognize that you have options for regaining control of your financial situation. Unfortunately, many people view bankruptcy as an undesirable or even shameful option—but pursuing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief can help you obtain the fresh start you need to feel hopeful about the future once more. If you are exploring your bankruptcy options in Central New York and the North Country, here are some of the advantages of working with a trusted and compassionate bankruptcy attorney.
Helping You Understand Your Bankruptcy Options
One of the benefits of enlisting the guidance of an experienced Central New York and North Country bankruptcy attorney is gaining a clearer understanding of the options available to you. Your attorney will examine the specifics of your situation and determine the most strategic path forward. For instance, many individuals struggling with debt wonder about the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Below is a brief overview of each type of bankruptcy, and your attorney can provide you with more information and help you identify the option that best suits your needs.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New York
Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as liquidation bankruptcy, essentially wipes away your dischargeable debt without having to pay the debt back. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you list everything you own (house, car, clothes, household goods, etc.), and the law provides you exemptions to protect your property. Most people can protect all their property with the exemptions that the law provides for. To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy relief, you will need to pass the means test (compares your last six months of income to the average income in NYS), demonstrating that your income is low enough to warrant this option. Chapter 7 bankruptcy moves quickly and allows debtors to promptly discharge (wipe away) most debts and obtain a fresh start.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Also known as reorganization bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to keep their property, provided they complete a repayment plan. People facing foreclosure and individuals whose income is high enough to disqualify them from pursuing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing typically find success through Chapter 13. Once you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy relief, you’ll need to repay a percent of your unsecured debt within a three to five-year period. Upon successful completion, the remaining debt will be discharged (wiped away). You can also repay any mortgage/car arrears, property taxes, or income taxes during the repayment period. The advantages of Chapter 13 include the ability to remain in control of your property and catch up on missed mortgage, car, and nondischargeable priority debt payments.
Assisting You With Bankruptcy Preparation
Once you and your attorney have selected the bankruptcy option that best suits your needs, you can start preparing the documents needed to file for bankruptcy. You can determine whether you will be able to afford the monthly payments in a Chapter 13 filing, have your property assessed and valued, identify any exemptions, and explore how the debts will be discharged. Although some individuals elect to go through the bankruptcy process without legal assistance, those who involve a knowledgeable attorney are more successful and find the experience more manageable and less stressful.
Taking Each Step Together
It can be difficult to get motivated to file for bankruptcy, which is why working with an attorney is the best way to hold yourself accountable and take the necessary steps to enjoy a brighter financial future. Your attorney knows the nuances of the bankruptcy process, and they will help you complete the paperwork, understand what to expect at each phase of the process, and advocate for your best interests at every turn. Sometimes, creditors will violate the automatic stay that activates once you file for bankruptcy and continue to harass you for payments. Should this happen, your lawyer can demand compliance or petition the court to hold the creditor in contempt for their failure to comply with the automatic stay. Additionally, your attorney can negotiate with creditors on payment terms and interest rates to ensure your repayment plan is achievable and affordable.
Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy
Many people see bankruptcy as leaving a long-term, devastating impact on their financial status. However, your attorney can help you take full advantage of your fresh start and show you how to start rebuilding your credit as soon as the bankruptcy is filed. Together, you can discuss strategies for rebuilding your credit and making the most of this opportunity to enjoy a brighter future. Most importantly, your attorney will answer your questions, address your concerns, and support you through this challenging time.
If you need help obtaining a fresh start in Central New York or the North Country, call Grady BK, PLLC, today at (315) 299-9005 to discuss your bankruptcy options with a skilled and compassionate attorney.