What Can I Expect from the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process in Pennsylvania?

What Can I Expect from the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process in Pennsylvania?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is one of the most effective methods for eliminating unsecured debt. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not appropriate for all situations, it frequently allows individuals to handle otherwise insurmountable debt burdens and achieve a fresh financial start.  

However, some people are reluctant to file for bankruptcy because they are not familiar with the process. If you were to file a bankruptcy action in Pennsylvania, like in all states, your petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy would be filed in one of the state’s three federal court districts: Eastern District of Pennsylvania, Middle District of Pennsylvania, and Western District of Pennsylvania. For residents of Philadelphia, their petition would be properly filed in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Philadelphia bankruptcy lawyer of Sadek & Cooper can guide your bankruptcy petition through the entire process. To better understand the steps involved in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, please contact our law firm at 215-545-0008. Our attorneys are happy to discuss your concerns and assess if a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is appropriate for your situation. To familiarize yourself with an overview of the steps involved in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, please continue reading.

Bankruptcy Filers Must Undergo Credit Counseling

One of the new requirements introduced into the U.S Bankruptcy Code as part of the 2005 reform law is mandatory credit counseling. Individuals are required to undergo credit counseling within six months before filing for bankruptcy relief. Furthermore, following the close of the bankruptcy and the grant of a discharge, the filer must also complete a financial management course. The credit counseling requirement is intended to provide filers an overview of their non-bankruptcy options. The financial management course is intended to help the individual avoid financial mistakes that could lead to new debt.

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Collecting Financial Paperwork and the Means Test

If you have not already done so, one of the first things a bankruptcy lawyer will recommend is for you to gather all financial paperwork. This generally includes evidence of your debts, living expenses, major recent financial transactions, property owned, and income. Providing your two most recently filed tax returns is also wise. There will likely be additional documents that apply in your situation. They may include deeds to real property, title to a car or vehicle, and an itemized list of your possessions.

Once this essential information has been gathered, your attorney will likely determine whether you can meet the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test. The means test is intended to screen certain individuals such as filers who have a significant amount of disposable income. The means test process involves two steps. First, your income from the last six months will be compared to the state median. If your income is below the median, you qualify for Chapter 7. If your income is greater than the median, then your amount of disposable income will be assessed.

Accounting for Debts, Exempt Property and Filing for Bankruptcy

Drawing from the financial paperwork discussed above, the filer or the filer’s attorney would then begin to prepare the Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition. Preparing the petition is a painstaking process because the individual must be certain to include all liabilities he or she is seeking to discharge. Furthermore, the individual should also consider if there is any property that he or she wishes to keep that qualifies under Pennsylvania’s bankruptcy exemptions.

To actually file the bankruptcy petition, one must be certain to satisfy all requirements set forth by the Bankruptcy Code,  local rules, and standing orders. Furthermore, the petition must be filed in the correct federal court in Pennsylvania and the proper fee must be paid. Furthermore, per the local rules, what is known as a mailing matrix must be set-up and formatted to certain standards. The mailing matrix is used to notify creditors and is required by the code. The failure to meet these requirements accurately and comprehensively can reduce your likelihood to obtain relief. For instance, the court may view a failure to notify certain creditors or the failure to disclose certain assets as fraud and deny relief.

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Automatic Stay Goes Into Effect, A Trustee is Appointed, and Creditors Meet

When the petition is filed the automatic stay immediately goes into effect. The automatic stay is a welcome relief for most bankruptcy filers because it stops most new collection attempts. That means creditors will not be able to call you. Rather, they will have to pursue their collection activities through the court-supervised bankruptcy process.

This process is guided by a bankruptcy trustee. The trustee is appointed by the court. He or she will carefully review all the filings and paperwork you submit as part of the bankruptcy process. He or she will call what is known as a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors. While the Chapter 7 bankruptcy filer is required to attend this meeting, creditors are unlikely to attend for most Chapter 7 proceedings. Here creditors may object to your bankruptcy plan.

Contact a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer in Philadelphia For Help Today

If there is non-exempt property involved, the trustee will liquidate this property and distribute the proceeds following the Section 341 meeting. In some cases where the non-exempt property is minimal, the trustee may even decide to abandon it and return it to you. Following liquidation, remaining creditors have the right to challenge the right to a discharge. If no creditor challenges within 60 days, the discharge is granted and all dischargeable debts are eliminated.

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SEEWHAT OUR CLIENTS ARE SAYING

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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