West Chester Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Under the right set of circumstances, bankruptcy can be an extremely powerful financial tool. As a resident of Pennsylvania, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy gives you the opportunity to wipe out most of your debts, escape harassment from persistent debt collectors, and prevent or delay the loss of your home, vehicle, and personal property. With most of your debts erased or drastically reduced, you will be able to start with a clean slate, and get back to living your life without the constant stress and anxiety that is caused by financial hardship.
However, it’s very important to get help from an attorney before you begin the bankruptcy process. Filing Chapter 7 is a delicate and detailed legal procedure that requires technical knowledge of bankruptcy code. Without legal representation, it is very easy for debtors to overlook small details that have major impacts on how much debt you can eliminate, how much property you can keep, and other crucial aspects of Chapter 7.
At Sadek & Cooper Law Offices, we have helped thousands of people file bankruptcy successfully, and are well-versed in the complex laws and court rules that govern the process. If you live in the West Chester area and are struggling to keep up with monthly bills and mortgage payments, call Sadek & Cooper Law Offices at (215) 995-2543 for a free consultation about how Chapter 7 bankruptcy could benefit you.
Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13: What’s the Difference?
There are several different types of bankruptcy. Each is named after a chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code. For example, most people who file bankruptcy in Pennsylvania file Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The second most common type of bankruptcy – not only in the West Chester area, but throughout the United States – is Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Before you declare bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, it is critical to make the right decision about which chapter of bankruptcy is best for your situation.
There are many factors to consider when choosing between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, but our knowledgeable and experienced West Chester bankruptcy attorneys will be there to help you make an informed and strategic decision. Our role is to advise you and protect your best interests while handling the legal work surrounding the filing process.
There are three key differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13:
- The amount of time the process takes. Chapter 7 is over for the debtor in a matter of months, typically about four months to half a year. Chapter 13 takes either three or five years to complete, depending on the case.
- The steps that are involved in the process. In Chapter 7, the court assigns a trustee to liquidate (sell) certain property, which is how the filer’s creditors are remunerated. However, most Chapter 7 filers keep most or all of their property. In Chapter 13, the filer keeps their property, but is required to make monthly payments to a trustee, who then distributes the funds to creditors in order of importance.
- The financial requirements for filers. Chapter 7 does not require the filer to make monthly payments, and is therefore intended for people who have minimal assets and resources. Chapter 13 does require monthly payments, and therefore, is only available for filers with higher income levels or valuable assets.
What Happens When You File Chapter 7 in Pennsylvania?
West Chester residents are sometimes surprised to learn that West Chester is not where they file for bankruptcy. If you live in West Chester, or in another town in Chester County, you will file for bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, which has two locations: one courthouse located on Market Street in downtown Philadelphia (Center City), and an additional courthouse located on Washington Street in Reading, PA.
You will be required to pay a filing fee to submit to the court your bankruptcy paperwork, which includes not only the bankruptcy petition, but also a series of supporting financial documents, such as forms that list your debts and assets. Our attorneys will explain which forms must be submitted and when, and will help you prepare each form with detail and accuracy. Your court fees to file your documents may be waived if you can demonstrate financial hardship. The Pennsylvania Chapter 7 filing fee is $335 as of July 2017.
If you obey the bankruptcy court’s orders, comply with bankruptcy laws, avoid committing fraud (such as concealing assets), and meet all legal deadlines, the court should discharge your case, which means most of your debts will be erased (“discharged”). Debts which can be erased in Chapter 7 are called “dischargeable debts.” Dischargeable debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case include:
- Business Debt
- Credit Card Debt
- Medical Bill Debt
- Overdue Rent
- Overdue Utility Payments
- Personal Loans
- Social Security Overpayments
Under certain circumstances, student loan debt and older income tax-related debts may also be dischargeable.
West Chester Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys Offering Free Consultations
Don’t spend another night lying awake and worrying about how you will pay your bills next month. If you live in West Chester or the surrounding area, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can offer the relief you need to start fresh and wipe the slate clean. Additionally, the debt relief provided by bankruptcy can help you reach a financial position where it is easier to start building good credit. To learn more about the many benefits of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in West Chester, contact Sadek & Cooper Law Offices at (215) 995-2543 today.