Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys in Pennsylvania and New Jersey Can Eliminate Credit Card Debt
In today’s day and age it is difficult, if not nearly impossible, to live and conduct one’s financial affairs without some form of credit or credit cards. Credit cards can provide financial flexibility to make payments over the Internet or by phone or by mail. Credit cards also provide individuals with a “cushion” they can utilize to avoid financial missteps like an overdrawn checking account or other mistakes. Furthermore, credit cards are often the primary means through which individuals build a credit history and a credit score. However, while credit cards are extremely useful tools, it can be extremely easy to get into financial trouble.
If you have run into trouble with credit cards and are seeking a way to eliminate your debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may present a viable and expedient means of getting out of debt. The bankruptcy lawyers of Sadek & Cooper may be able to help. Call our Philadelphia or other local Pennsylvania or New Jersey law offices at 215-995-2543.
What Problems Will a High Credit Card Balance Create?
The problems created by a high credit card balance are numerous and can seep into all aspects of one’s life. To start, a high credit card balance can quickly become unmanageable for an individual. While minimum payments may initially only amount to $30 to $50 a month, as the balance grows the payments will as well. If you happen to miss one or several payments, penalties may apply. These penalties can include missed payment fees and sky-high interest rates. Interest on high balance accounts accrues quickly. Once the balance reaches tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars, the individual may endeavor to pay down the debt but only end up falling further and further behind. Needless to say, facing a debt situation of this type can feel like fighting through quicksand; the harder the individual fights to get out of debt, the further they nevertheless sink.
However, serious financial problems can exist even prior to the debt becoming unmanageable. While these problems may not yet warrant a bankruptcy filing, they are clear signs that the individual’s finances are moving in the wrong direction. For instance, simply carrying a revolving debt balance that approaches one’s credit limit can drag one’s credit score down. Similarly, multiple, maxed-out cards raise the temptation of “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” The financial gymnastics required to balance these competing creditors is anxiety inducing, stressful, and increases the likelihood of mistakes that may trigger harsh penalty provisions described above.
Perhaps the most distressing part of falling behind on credit cards and other debts for many people are the seemingly non-stop creditor and bill collector calls. These calls are often directed at your home, work, and any other location you are frequently present. Many individuals find these calls extremely embarrassing and simply want to make them stop.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Eliminate Credit Card Bill Debt
For some individuals who already find themselves facing the harsh financial consequences of credit card debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy frequently presents a viable and expedient means of eliminating debt. One immediate and additional bonus that Chapter 7 bankruptcy filers can enjoy is the automatic stay. They automatic stay is a type of temporary injunction that requires creditors to immediately cease most collection attempts. This means that bill collector calls to your home and work will cease. It also means that these debts will be handled through a process that is guided by and overseen by a bankruptcy court.
Aside from the relief provided immediately by the automatic stay, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is typically one of the most effective ways of dealing with unsecured debt. Unsecured debt is any type of debt that is not secured by the property. To illustrate, credit cards and medical bills are common forms of unsecured debts while a home mortgage is one of the most common forms of secured debt. In many instances, where factors and circumstances align in a favorable manner, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filer can obtain their bankruptcy discharge and fresh financial start in as little as six months.
How Is Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Unique in New Jersey and Pennsylvania?
At Sadek & Cooper, our bankruptcy lawyers are proud to serve individuals living in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Potential bankruptcy filers who come into our Bucks County, Delaware County, or Philadelphia law offices often want to know makes bankruptcy unique in Pennsylvania. Similarly, individuals who come into our South Jersey office in Moorestown often want to know about what is unique about New Jersey bankruptcy filings.
To start, while all bankruptcies are filed in federal court, all cases contain certain elements of state law. One of the more relevant state-by-state differences for a Chapter 7 filing is the fact that bankruptcy exemptions are often affected by state law. Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions are the property you can keep. While both New Jersey and Pennsylvania allow Chapter 7 filers to select from the state or federal exemptions, the state exemptions are unique in New Jersey and Pennsylvania. For instance, while neither Pennsylvania’s nor New Jersey’s state bankruptcy exemptions include a homestead exemption, the federal exemptions available in both states include protection for home equity. Therefore, a person considering Chapter 7 bankruptcy should also expect to be able to keep a substantial amount, or all, of one’s property.
What Should I Expect from the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process in New Jersey or Pennsylvania?
When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to address credit card debts or other unpaid obligations, the matter will be filed in a federal bankruptcy court. The proper court in which one should file their cases is based on the individual’s state of residence and other additional factors. More specifically, a person should file their bankruptcy petition in the jurisdiction of the court where they are considered a “resident.” A person is typically considered a resident when he or she has lived in a state or jurisdiction for at least 91 of the past 180 days.
For instance, Pennsylvania’s federal courts are broken up into three districts. A bankruptcy filer living in Philadelphia, Media, Upper Darby, or Bucks County would file his or her bankruptcy petition in Pennsylvania’s Eastern District Bankruptcy Court. In New Jersey, the federal court’s District of New Jersey is also partitioned into three districts. Depending on where in South Jersey an individual lives, he or she may be required to file in either the Camden or Trenton vicinage. Individuals living in Camden County, Gloucester County, and Cumberland County are required to in the Camden vicinage. Additionally, individuals living in the southern Parts of Burlington County – including Cinnaminson, Delran, Edgewater Park, Evesham, Marlton, Maple Shade, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Palmyra, Riverside and Riverton should all file in the Camden vicinage. Individuals in Mercer County, NJ and northern parts of Burlington County are required to file in the Trenton vicinage.
However, filing your bankruptcy petition first requires significant research and workup. A filer must be sure to include all debts because a failure to include one or more debts can preclude a discharge of these debts. Furthermore, a filer must be sure to include all income he or she receives regardless of its source. A failure to include certain sources or types of income may be viewed by the bankruptcy court as fraud. If the court reaches this determination it is likely to prevent the filer from receiving any bankruptcy relief. Therefore, it is essential to move meticulously and methodically through the entire process from the initial filing to the creditor’s conference, and to the close of the proceedings that is hopefully marked by a Chapter 7 discharge.
A Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorney of Sadek & Cooper Can Handle Chapter 7 Filings to Eliminate Credit Card Debt in PA and NJ
If you are considering filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey or Pennsylvania, the attorneys of Sadek & Cooper may be able to provide advice and guidance regarding Chapter 7 bankruptcy and other options to address your credit card debt and other obligations. To schedule a free and confidential consultation at our Philadelphia, Bucks County, Delaware County, or southern New Jersey law offices call 215-995-2543 or contact the bankruptcy attorneys of Sadek & Cooper online.