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Frequently Asked Questions About the Benefits of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Queens

Chapter 7 can help you save your home in Queens

Mark E. Cohen, Esq. ensures clients are fully informed about Chapter 7 bankruptcy. I provide answers to common questions based on more than 20 years as a Queens bankruptcy attorney. The answers to the following questions are just the beginning. Once you have read them, I can discuss your financial situation in depth.

To ease the stress of overwhelming debt, call a bankruptcy lawyer in Queens

All too often, good people find themselves in financial trouble that quickly spirals out of control. For more than 20 years, I have helped people like you understand the available options, make informed decisions and navigate through the complex process of filing for bankruptcy.

Located on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills, I offer a wide range of services to individuals and families suffering from the weight of debt. Call Mark E. Cohen, Esq. at 718-487-9979 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.


 

What are the benefits of filing for Chapter 7 in Queens?

There are numerous Chapter 7 benefits. In Queens, it may be your best bankruptcy option if:

  • You cannot pay your debts
  • Your creditors are pestering you or threatening to sue you
  • Your estate is small
  • You do not have any debts with co-signers

If you are considered judgment-proof, meaning creditors can do virtually nothing to obtain money or property from you because you own nothing, then bankruptcy is probably not for you.

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Does Chapter 7 liquidation wipe the slate clean?

Chapter 7 comes the closest to giving you a fresh start, although it does not discharge all your debts. You will still have to pay some debts. But with Chapter 7, an appointed trustee takes your nonexempt assets and liquidates or sells them to pay your creditors. You may have a cleaner slate, but that does not mean you can walk away from all your debt free and without some pain.

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What debts does bankruptcy not cover?

Bankruptcy cannot relieve you of all debts. The following will probably still be your responsibility:

  • Alimony and child support
  • Drunk driving judgments
  • Criminal fines
  • Criminal restitution
  • Debts incurred by fraud or intentional wrongdoing
  • Back taxes less than three years old
  • Student loans
  • Large purchases of more than $550 for luxury goods made within 90 days of filing

As a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney, I am familiar with federal and New York bankruptcy laws, and I review the list of nondischargeable debts with every client.

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What is the process for filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Queens?

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy follow the same general steps. After reviewing your finances and documentation and deciding on Chapter 7:

  • You must pass the Chapter 7 means test, which I help you complete.
  • If you pass, I prepare the bankruptcy petition and supporting documents and file the petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
  • After the court accepts your bankruptcy petition, your creditors are notified. A creditors’ meeting is scheduled. At this meeting, some or all of your creditors may question you about your debt, your assets and your financial condition. I represent you at this meeting.
  • This creditors’ meeting is likely the only court appearance you will be required to make.
  • You will be required to attend credit counseling before your bankruptcy case can be closed.
  • Once you have attended the creditors’ meeting, completed the financial management counseling, no objections have been filed by a creditor, and you have complied with the trustee’s demands, your debt will be discharged and you can get on with living.

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Can I keep my home if I file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York?

If you are behind on your mortgage or car loan and wish to keep your home or vehicle, then a Chapter 7 is most likely not the best bankruptcy tool for you. While you can keep up to $150,000 in equity in your home (twice that if your spouse also files) when you file, under Chapter 7, a secured creditor, such as a loan holder, maintains its right to take the collateral (your house) to cover your debt. Therefore, if you wish to keep your house or other property, you must get current on the debts.

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What are some reasons not to file for bankruptcy?

The following are all reasons why it would not be in your best interest to file for bankruptcy:

  • One consequence of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the loss of nonexempt property (or its value in cash).
  • Bankruptcy will be part of your credit history for ten years under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If you have substantial debts, or are in default, your credit is already lousy, so starting fresh may be an improvement.
  • If you complete bankruptcy, you must wait eight years to file for Chapter 7 again.
  • Your reputation may suffer if you live in an area where your filing is likely to be revealed.
  • You have to live with the fact that you failed to pay your debts, which takes too much of an emotional toll on some people.
  • Filing for bankruptcy is not free. In addition to about $300 in filing fees, you must pay your attorney and pay for a personal financial management education course.

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