7 Tips Before Filing Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania

7 Tips Before Filing Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania

Bankruptcy can erase your debts, stop creditors from contacting you, and give you opportunities to prevent your car from being repossessed or your home from being foreclosed on. By stabilizing your finances, bankruptcy can also give you more freedom to start building good credit for your future. If you live in Pennsylvania, and you have spent months or years struggling to pay off your debts, filing bankruptcy may be the first step to turning your financial life around.

While bankruptcy can have tremendous benefits when executed carefully, the process can be confusing and difficult, especially if it is your first time filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. The bankruptcy tips contained in this guide can help make the process easier and simpler. Bankruptcy is a major decision with long-term effects, so it is crucial to review your options with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before you file.

To learn more about tips on bankruptcy, the bankruptcy process, the benefits of bankruptcy, or other aspects of bankruptcy law in Pennsylvania, call the Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyers of Sadek and Cooper Law Offices, LLC at (215) 545-0008 for a free and confidential consultation. Proudly serving Philadelphia, Bucks, Montgomery, and Delaware Counties, our attorneys handle Chapter 7 cases, Chapter 13 cases, and can also help you explore various alternatives to bankruptcy.

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What to Do Before Filing Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania

You must make sure you meet four basic requirements before you file bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. These requirements include:

  1. Residency Requirements – To file bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, you must have been a resident for at least 91 out of the 180 days preceding your filing date. Every bankruptcy court has a “jurisdiction,” which is the authority to handle cases in a certain geographical region. If you live in Berks, Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Philadelphia, or Northampton Counties, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has jurisdiction over your case. Residents of Bucks, Chester, Delaware, Lancaster, Montgomery, and Philadelphia Counties are served by the Philadelphia Division, while residents of Berks, Lehigh, and Northampton Counties are served by the Reading Division.
  2. Waiting Period Requirements – There is no waiting period for filing bankruptcy, but there are waiting periods for successive bankruptcy discharges. If you have previously received a bankruptcy discharge, there is generally a waiting period of at least two years before you may receive a second discharge, depending on the circumstances.
  3. Credit Counseling Requirements – Federal bankruptcy laws require all debtors to undergo pre-bankruptcy credit counseling prior to filing bankruptcy in Pennsylvania or other states. Your credit counseling provider must be approved by the Department of Justice. There is a small fee for credit counseling courses.
  4. Financial Requirements – The type (“chapter”) of bankruptcy you file is partly determined by how much debt you have. For example, to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, your secured debts must be under $1,184,200 and your unsecured debts must be under $394,725. If you earn too much income, you may be unable to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania.

Don’t worry if you are unsure as to whether you currently meet these requirements. Our knowledgeable attorneys can determine whether you qualify to file bankruptcy in Pennsylvania when you contact us for your free bankruptcy consultation.

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7 Bankruptcy Tips for Chapter 7 and 13

In addition to ensuring that you meet the bankruptcy filing requirements above, there are also some steps you can take before you file to facilitate the bankruptcy process. With guidance from an experienced attorney, following the tips below can make your case proceed in a smoother, easier, more cost-efficient fashion.

  1. Check your credit report. You may request one free annual copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies (Experian, Equifax, TransUnion). It is recommended that you take advantage of this opportunity, not only to check your credit report for errors or unusual activity, but also to make sure you are aware of all the debts you currently owe.
  2. Identify your debts. Some debts can be “discharged” (eliminated) in bankruptcy, while others cannot. Make sure your debts, or at least the bulk of them, are dischargeable before filing bankruptcy. Dischargeable debts include debts from medical bills, credit card bills, personal loans, business loans, and more.
  3. Gather your paperwork. Bankruptcy requires you to disclose detailed information about your debts, assets, income, and other financial activity. You will need to present as many bank statements, pay stubs, tax returns, credit reports, and utility bills as possible, so before you file bankruptcy, get an early start on digging up those old financial records.
  4. Explore all your options. Before you commit to the Pennsylvania bankruptcy process, confirm that bankruptcy is truly the best way to manage your debt. Our bankruptcy alternatives lawyers can help you understand your full range of options, including mortgage modification and debt consolidation.
  5. Consider how you’ll file. If you are married, you have a few filing options: you can file individually without your spouse filing, you and your spouse can each file separately, or both of you can file together, which is called filing “jointly.” Regardless of whether you are single or married, you also have options for which chapter of bankruptcy you file. Some of these decisions can be changed later, but making the appropriate choices at the beginning of the process will save you time and money.
  6. Do not try to hide assets. You may have felt tempted to transfer or sell some of your valuable assets prior to declaring bankruptcy. This is a major mistake you absolutely must avoid. Asset concealment is a form of bankruptcy fraud that can result in dismissal of your case – or even criminal prosecution.
  7. Work with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Philadelphia. It is legal but financially risky to file bankruptcy without a lawyer. Bankruptcy regulations are extremely complex, and you will need professional guidance to help you navigate the laws successfully.

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Philadelphia Bankruptcy Attorneys Offering Free Consultations

At the Pennsylvania bankruptcy law firm of Sadek and Cooper Law Offices, LLC, our attorneys have already helped thousands of people successfully file Chapter 7, file Chapter 13, or pursue effective alternatives to bankruptcy. Let us bring the same commitment, dedication, and focus to your case.

We have years of experience serving communities throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania, including Center City, West Philadelphia, South Philadelphia, North Philadelphia, Morrisville, Quakertown, Bristol, Croydon, Levittown, Willow Grove, Lansdale, King of Prussia, Pottstown, Norristown, Broomall, Yeadon, Ardmore, Drexel Hill, Chester, and more. To learn more about whether bankruptcy is right for you and how our attorneys can help, call Sadek and Cooper at (215) 545-008 for a free consultation today.

 

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SEEWHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING

Mel D
Mel D
03:13 26 Sep 18
My husband and I came in unsure of what to expect. We felt defeated, anxious and worried we might lose everything. Brad listened to our situation and was both understanding and sympathetic. He took us through the process, answered my 10 page questions efficiently and truly made it a painless experience. Thanks to Brad and Matt, we have a new start and bright future. Thank you Sadek and Cooper!! -Mel D.
Mark N
Mark N
02:50 26 Sep 18
Brad & Matt were outstanding. We came in scared, uncertain of our future. Brad was compassionate and understanding walking us through the process. Matt met us at court professional and supportive with a plan that has helped us tremendously. We can breathe again and have a fresh start. I highly recommend their services. Thank you! -Mark N.
Joannie Moronta
Joannie Moronta
14:51 07 Sep 18
I love sadek and cooper. They were with me throughout my entire process. I was really scared at first, but they made me feel super comfortable and secured. I would highly recommended them to anyone interested in hiring a group of excellent lawyers.
Kris Collins
Kris Collins
16:55 28 Aug 18
I hired Patrick Cooper to represent me to gain custody of my nephew. After the first meeting I knew Pat was the right attorney for this matter. Pat, Yoninah and staff were always helpful in explaining the process and answering any questions or concerns I had. I would recommend Pat and Sadek and Cooper for any and all family court matters.
Steven S Russ
Steven S Russ
16:54 23 Aug 18
Sadek and Cooper law firm is the one of the best law firms I’ve ever dealt with in my adult life. They staff is wonderful and kind! They have great customer service and they assists you with your every need. I’ve looked for a lot of lawyers when it came to bankruptcy, but none of them fit the bill. I didn’t second guess Sadek and Cooper at all. My gut feeling told me that they were the fit and the law firm to help me. And I’ve never looked back since.
jammee burhannon
jammee burhannon
12:39 08 Aug 18
Sadek and Cooper was fast efficient and made me feel at ease when I felt discouraged about the wrong Choice’s I’ve made not knowing the facts about credit and how to use it the right way. I just Loved the credit Counseling courses that explains the do’s and don’t the want and needs and the ups and downs of credit which has now gave me more knowledge to understand how to use credit 🤓🤓 Thank you so much for helping me out of this Deep Hole and putting me on the road to Credit recovery 😘😊
Krystal Stewart
Krystal Stewart
14:22 18 Jul 18
Matt Lazarus and the rest of the firm were absolutely wonderful. They held my hand through the whole process of my bankruptcy and made sure I knew what was happening every step of the way. They worked with my schedule and location to make every step as easy and smooth as possible. If every I need any legal advice in the future, I know exactly who I'm going to!
Matthew Justice
Matthew Justice
07:11 16 Jul 18
Brad Sadek has no equal when it comes to Foreclosure defense and bankruptcy. He is knowledgeable about the whole thing. It actually gave me confidence during the case.
Landlord Guy
Landlord Guy
16:25 06 Jul 18
Well... About a year ago I was faced with an unpleasant (but necessary) decision. I contacted Sadek and Cooper to make an appointment and ended up speaking with Brad. I brought all of the required/requested information and we did some calculations together (I like numbers) to see what my options were. The process was relaxed and transparent, and his advice was neutral and objective (in my opinion). I ended up filing for CH13, which allowed me to keep my property. I worked with Matt for the remainder of the process. He was communicative, helpful, and very patient with someone like me who asks A LOT of questions. If you're going to go for CH7 or CH13 I'd suggest at least talking to Sadek & Cooper to get an idea of what your options are. And if you decide to go through it with them I can't imagine you'll be disappointed (as lond as YOU do what's required on time, etc. of course). We're talking about court here, so it's best to be early and over-prepared for everything. I hope I never have to use their services again (for obvious reasons lol), but I'm certainly very happy that I DID when I needed to. They helped me tremendously and it has been SMOOTH SAILING since my CH13 plan was approved. I wish them all the best and look forward to the end of my CH13 and it being cleared from my record eventually. If you're considering CH7 or 13 DO your RESEARCH. Don't be "afraid", educate yourself, be an INFORMED consumer. And go talk to Sadek & Cooper for some SOUND advice and a good analysis of your options! SOONER rather than LATER. Don't wait until the last minute.
Joseph Olson
Joseph Olson
17:12 22 Jun 18
We are extremely pleased with this firm. They have provided amazing detail, information and support during this difficult time in our life. We are truly grateful for all of their hard work and would highly recommend them to anyone!
Jamie Daniels
Jamie Daniels
13:20 20 Jun 18
I am more than happy with the service and expertise I received when I filed my recent chapter 13 case. They made everything very easy and comfortable under very stressful circumstances. I would highly recommend Sadek and Cooper.
Nagena Pierre-Louis
Nagena Pierre-Louis
13:19 13 Jun 18
I was less than a week away of losing my home. Sadek And Cooper helped me to save my only home. If they helped me they will be able to help you. Their help is just a phone call away. Please just call them!
Alicia Green
Alicia Green
14:16 22 May 18
My experience with Sadek and Cooper was awesome. They were extremely helpful with answering all my questions and made me feel comfortable and less anxious about filing for bankruptcy. The process was smooth and quick and had no issues at all!Alicia
Selena Pinkney
Selena Pinkney
13:52 22 May 18
I used Sadek Law Firm and had the best experience. All of the staff were very helpful and knowledgeable. They made a very scary process easy and painless. I would and have recommended their services.
Ethan Hew
Ethan Hew
13:44 16 May 18
Sadek & Cooper has to be the best firm for our bankruptcy needs. They walked my wife and I through the entire process and were always there to answer our questions. Hands down the best firm I’ve ever worked with.
Chris Jamison
Chris Jamison
19:52 04 May 18
Matt Lazarus from the start was very helpful with making me filing for bankruptcy as easy as possible. It is one of the hardest things to go thru in life. But you have to look at it as a new start. Thank you again to everyone at Sadek & Cooper for all your help.
Thomas Wright
Thomas Wright
15:09 24 Apr 18
Sadek and Cooper Law did a great job on my bankruptcy case. I really appreciate their assistant. Thank you
Kelly McKenna
Kelly McKenna
11:57 19 Apr 18
This form - specifically Yoninah Orenstein and Patrick Cooper are PHENOMENAL. They were great to work with, very fair with legal fees, and successful in getting an excellent settlement for my divorce (short term marriage
Dessiana Cruz
Dessiana Cruz
13:11 04 Apr 18
I was nervous about bankruptcy, but from the moment I stepped in your office I felt at ease. This process was so easy with your help, that yesterday I was talking to my coworkers about it and recommending your firm to them. You make something that’s scary seem easy and I thank you so much for helping me!
Valerie Nesbitt
Valerie Nesbitt
14:51 03 Apr 18
Sadek and Cooper have been excellent. Everyone has been extremely helpful and patient. The lawyers I have worked with, Matt and Brad, are extremely knowledgeable. I felt very comfortable with them handling my case.
Marlena Lucas
Marlena Lucas
16:08 02 Apr 18
Very simple. Any time I had questions, they were answered quickly. The lawyers are just great. Just a fast painless process.
James Smith Sr
James Smith Sr
13:19 14 Mar 18
Everything has been great. Really awesome job with my case... You and your staff have done a perfect job in my opinion.
Michkel Davis
Michkel Davis
17:02 09 Mar 18
Mr. Sadek was the best and most thorough lawyer I’ve ever met. He’s very human and caring about our case. His whole staff is great too. Highly recommend...
Tamika Richardson
Tamika Richardson
14:56 01 Mar 18
My bankruptcy went very smoothly with your firm. No issues. You are all very nice. That’s why I recommend my sister to your firm and your now helping her too! Thanks again.
Geraldine Ross
Geraldine Ross
14:14 28 Feb 18
This is an Excellent firm to work with; my questions were answered in a timely manner and I felt very supportive in handling my bankruptcy. I would highly recommend this firm to others who have found themselves in a position like mine.
Lavern Baker
Lavern Baker
17:03 23 Feb 18
You are all super lawyers. Brad and Matt made me feel comfortable. Every one in your office so nice and just made it easy. You’re the best!
peter b
peter b
19:42 21 Feb 18
Thank you, Sadek and Cooper Law offices for your dedication on my behalf. I appreciate Matthew and Patrick and your staff and all that everyone did to support me in this legal matter. You took an embarrassing, sad experience, for me, and turned it into a successful solution without all the emotional pain expected. After dealing with a loan modification company for over eighteen months without going to an attorney first that is the biggest mistake anyone can make. The Modification Companies set out to sell you lies, broken promises and dilute the homeowner's assets with no knowledge of any kind of law. I can't stress enough stay away from Modification companies, as a Military Veteran and family man, protect you or your family best interest. Go directly to Sadek and Copper you will not regret it! This firm moves with Super speed and diligence protecting you and your family's the entire process, even after watching some of these other attorneys in the courtroom appearing to mishandled their clients’ cases before the Trustee. You made it easy and I’m finally getting my financial life back on track! Thank you for your prompt replies to me, your clear information and preparation needed when at the courthouse. I would of course recommend you to others and I am glad you were the one who had my case. Kind genuine law firm who treats you like family. God bless you all and I pray for your continued success in your field of expertise. This firm is Super Lawyers for a reason. They are the best at what they do! Pete
Doug Tinlin
Doug Tinlin
06:55 15 Feb 18
Brad Sadek gave me hope when he decided to handle my mortgage for enclosure defense. I had exactly 10 days left of the 30 days ultimatum given me, but he was able to bargain for an extra 30 days for me to pay up. That duration turned out just right.
Jacinth Jacinth
Jacinth Jacinth
16:07 31 Jan 18
Excellent service. Brad and Matt were outstanding and friendly. They helped me through this. I’ve never met attorneys like these. Thank you!
julie njoku
julie njoku
12:29 24 Jan 18
Brad Sadek is excellent!. He understands and he's fair. You feel like you have someone fighting for you. The staff is friendly, professional, and courteous. These guys are the best at what they do !
Owen Black
Owen Black
20:14 09 Jan 18
Thanks for the great service! I would recommend this firm highly. Throughout the years I have been helped by this firm greatly and very much appreciated.
Steven Rychalsky
Steven Rychalsky
15:30 09 Jan 18
Sadek and Cooper law office was a wonderful experience to work with. Bankruptcy is a difficult experience but they helped with the stress so much and made it easy. I would recommend Sadek and copper too anyone.
Chris Kourelias
Chris Kourelias
19:09 28 Dec 17
Working with both Brad & Matthew was a pleasure. Both gentlemen are extremely knowledgeable and helpful in providing me the right assistance needed to make the correct decision to benefit me in the long run. I would recommend both candidates to anyone looking for assistance with a reputable law firm.
Jennyfer Santana
Jennyfer Santana
21:17 21 Dec 17
Highly Recommended. Matt & Brad assisted with my case. I felt comfortable throughout the entire process. Matt was very understanding, patient, and ensured he answered all my questions! Both great guys and very friendly! It was a pleasure working with Matt and Brad.
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