How to File For Bankruptcy in New York
What Should You Expect in Your Bankruptcy Case?
Since 1983, White Plains bankruptcy lawyer Michael H. Schwartz has helped consumers and businesses in New York with this type of debt protection. He has filed more than 4,000 cases on behalf of clients – with not a single discharge denied or a home lost to foreclosure.
Why look anywhere else for help with your bankruptcy?
The New York consumer bankruptcy law firm Michael H. Schwartz, P.C., is available to talk with you right away. We can explain what you should expect in your bankruptcy case.
Get started by calling (800) On My Side or use our online contact form to schedule a confidential consultation at no charge to you.
Steps in Filing For Bankruptcy in New York
Several different types of bankruptcy can be filed. Each type is named after the U.S. Bankruptcy Code chapter that outlines the specific debt relief method.
For most individuals, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings are the best options. For businesses, Chapter 7 is an option if you have personal liabilities for the business debts and the business has assets that can be sold or Chapter 11 if the business is large and is to remain operational.
The steps differ for each type of bankruptcy. However, there are some general stages that you can expect to encounter no matter which type you pursue:
1. Completion of a credit counseling course. Consumers filing for either Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy must complete a consumer credit counseling course. The course must be accredited and approved by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in your district. (There are four districts in New York – Northern, Southern, Eastern, and Western.)
2. Filing a petition with the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcies are only handled by U.S. Bankruptcy Courts. These are federal courts. You will need to file a petition for bankruptcy with the correct court in your area. For instance, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of New York serves Bronx, Dutchess, New York, Orange, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Ulster, and Westchester counties. On the other hand, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York serves the counties of Richmond, Kings, Queens Nassau and Suffolk. When you file for bankruptcy, you will need to include information that will depend on the type of bankruptcy you are filing. You also will need to pay a filing fee to the government. As soon as you file your petition for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect. This means creditors are required to stop trying to get money from you. Even foreclosure or repossession actions must stop.
3. Notification to creditors. After you have filed for bankruptcy, the court will provide notification to your creditors. The notice will provide the time limit for your creditors to object to your bankruptcy and tell the creditors to stop collection activities due to the automatic stay. The notice also will give the date for the meeting of creditors. If creditors want to object to your debt being discharged, they will need to do so within the stated time period. Objections by creditors are rare.
4. Creditors meeting. Usually, within three-to-five weeks after you have filed a petition for bankruptcy, a meeting of the creditors will take place. This is also called a 341 meeting (after section 341 of the bankruptcy code). It is presided over by a bankruptcy trustee who has been assigned to your case. The bankruptcy judge is not present. You must attend. We will be there with you. Your creditors can also attend. However, they rarely attend. Creditors who don’t come can still ask you questions if they get a court order.
5. Repayment plan or sale of assets. If you have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee will be responsible for selling any non-exempt assets in order to repay your creditors. Most if not all of your property should be exempt from being taken during bankruptcy. This means you get to keep it. For example, retirement accounts (401Ks and IRAs) are not touched during bankruptcy. You get to keep the equity in your home and personal possessions, cars without too much equity and tools you need for your job or business. If you have significant assets, however, those may have to be dealt with before filing bankruptcy. If you file for Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy, on the other hand, a repayment agreement or debt restructuring plan will be created. For Chapter 13, this plan will generally last for 3-5 years and may involve repaying some of your unsecured debts. For Chapter 11, the plan can be more complicated. In either situation, you need a bankruptcy attorney to help you to create the plan and have the plan approved.
Michael H. Schwartz has more than 30 years of experience with helping both consumers and businesses to file for bankruptcy. He is dedicated to helping clients arrive at repayment plans that provide real solutions to their financial problems.
6. Discharge of debts. At the end of the bankruptcy process, your debts are discharged. This means that the debts are no longer collectible. All eligible debts will be dealt with. So, you will keep student loan debts, certain kinds of tax debts and keep paying your mortgage and car loan if you want to keep your home or car. However, you will get rid of other debts such as credit card debt and medical debt. In Chapter 7, the eligible debts are discharged after 60 days of the creditors meeting as long as there are no objections. In Chapter 13, the remaining debts are discharged after you have finished with your repayment plan.
Contact Our Experienced Bankruptcy Law Firm Today
At the law office of Michael H. Schwartz, P.C., our goal is to make bankruptcy filing as stress-free and painless of an experience as possible for our clients throughout White Plains and New York. We can guide you through the entire process and make sure your rights are protected at every stage.
Run – don’t walk – to the White Plains bankruptcy law firm of Michael H. Schwartz, P.C.
Call us today toll-free at (800) On My Side or fill out our online contact form to receive a free and completely confidential consultation about your bankruptcy case.