West Chester Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney
If financial problems are causing stress and anxiety in your daily life, you aren’t alone. Millions of Americans struggle with debt, including thousands of people right here in Pennsylvania. If you are a resident of the West Chester area, and are worried about how you will continue to pay your monthly mortgage, utility bills, auto loans, or other expenses, Chapter 13 bankruptcy could offer debt relief while simultaneously giving you the power to protect your possessions and property from debt collectors. Filing Chapter 13 can even stop your home from being foreclosed on.
While Chapter 13 bankruptcy has numerous financial benefits under the right set of circumstances, it is also a complicated process rife with opportunities for error. A small mistake could cause lengthy, costly delays in your case, or even cause the bankruptcy court to dismiss your case without relieving any of your debts. Before you file Chapter 13 in West Chester, make sure you are represented by a bankruptcy attorney you can trust, like the Chapter 13 lawyers at Sadek & Cooper Law Offices. With years of experience handling thousands of bankruptcy cases, you can feel confident you will be in capable hands.
To learn more about whether filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in West Chester could be right for you, contact Sadek & Cooper Law Offices at (215)-545-0008 for a free legal consultation. We will keep your information confidential.
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Should I File Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
There are several steps you need to take before you file bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. For example, you will need to make sure you satisfy residency requirements, in addition to compiling financial documents such as leases, deeds, and bank statements.
Critically, you will also need to decide which type of bankruptcy you should file. For most residents of Pennsylvania, this will either be Chapter 13 bankruptcy (“reorganization,” “wage earner’s plan”) or Chapter 7 bankruptcy (“liquidation,” “straight bankruptcy,” “ordinary bankruptcy”). There are some cases where Chapter 11 is appropriate, but these instances are extremely rare. The vast majority of debtors in West Chester choose Chapter 13 or Chapter 7. Both allow the debtor to:
- Reduce or eliminate many types of debt, including but not limited to medical debt, credit card debt, business debt, debt from personal loans borrowed from friends or family, and in some cases, student loan debt or income tax debt.
- Put an immediate stop to creditor harassment and debt collection actions, which are postponed by bankruptcy’s “automatic stay” feature.
- Delay or prevent utility shut-offs, home foreclosure, and/or repossession of personal vehicles.
While both types of bankruptcy can have profound financial benefits, their effects and procedures are very different, and need to be weighed carefully before starting the process. Choosing which chapter of bankruptcy to file is a complex decision which should not be undertaken without assistance from a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney. Though it is generally possible to “convert” a bankruptcy case – for example, switching from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 or vice versa – this process can be costly and cumbersome. By helping you choose the appropriate type of bankruptcy at the outset of the process, our Chapter 13 lawyers in West Chester can help you avoid this pitfall, and ensure that your case progresses as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
How Does Chapter 13 Work in Pennsylvania?
As a resident of West Chester, you will file for bankruptcy in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Bankruptcy courts are federal, and bankruptcy is primarily regulated by federal law: specifically, regulations contained in the United States Bankruptcy Code. These regulations were overhauled in 2005, when Congress enacted sweeping bankruptcy reform known as the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (BAPCPA). BAPCPA was designed to protect consumers, but has also had the effect of complicating the bankruptcy process, making legal representation even more critical than in decades past.
Your case begins when you file your petition for bankruptcy, in addition to supporting documents such as forms listing your debts and assets, in bankruptcy court. Your attorney will help you manage and file your paperwork. You will generally be required to pay a filing fee, unless the fee is waived.
Chapter 13 is sometimes called “reorganization” bankruptcy because of its defining feature: the “plan of reorganization.” In short, the reorganization plan is a plan for making monthly payments over a period of either three or five years.
Near the beginning of the Chapter 13 process, you will propose a reorganization plan that establishes how and when you will make monthly payments to a trustee, who then disburses the payments to various creditors depending on how your debts are prioritized. If you use your disposable income to make full and timely payments throughout the duration of the plan, including any missed or delinquent payments, you will be permitted to keep all of your property, including your house and car. Chapter 13 also allows you to lower or erase many debts, including debt from medical bills, credit card bills, and more.
While bankruptcy procedures are controlled mainly by federal law, state laws also have impact on your bankruptcy case. For example, as a resident of Pennsylvania, you are entitled to choose between the federal bankruptcy exemptions and the Pennsylvania bankruptcy exemptions. In Chapter 13, bankruptcy exemptions impact your monthly payments. In Chapter 7, exemptions play a crucial role in determining what property you will be able to keep. It is important to be represented by a lawyer who understands the nuances of bankruptcy laws specific to Pennsylvania, like the attorneys of Sadek & Cooper Law Offices, and how they affect your case.
West Chester Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers Offering Free Consultations
When you are represented by Sadek & Cooper Law Offices, our attorneys will explain your rights and responsibilities as a Chapter 13 debtor, and work to ensure that you comply with the laws in order to resolve your case more rapidly and effectively. When you are represented by a Chapter 13 lawyer from Sadek & Cooper Law Offices, you can expect clear communication, the highest standard of professionalism, and frank, honest advice concerning your legal options and their potential consequences. Our law firm’s mission is to help make bankruptcy work for you.
If you think Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be an option, we urge you to contact our law offices at (215)-545-0008 for a free and confidential legal consultation. We represent individual debtors, married couples, business owners, and more.