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What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy affords honest debtors a fresh start by reducing or removing debts. Through the mechanisms of stays and discharges, a bankruptcy proceeding alleviates the pressures of calls, letters and suits from creditors and mounting balances that you cannot repay.

Federal law determines the type of bankruptcy you can file, your obligations as a debtor and the extent of the relief you can obtain under bankruptcy. The laws of New York also impact limited aspects of your bankruptcy case. A Long Island bankruptcy attorney can help you with the questions you have and which may arise in a bankruptcy case.
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Bankruptcy Advice Are you drowning in debt? Are creditors harassing you day and night? Bankruptcy is a viable option to start over with a clean slate or repay your obligations under a reorganization plan. It may seem like credit death to ask the court for help, but it's one of the best choices if you need help stopping wage garnishments, foreclosures, and repossessions. Here are some of the most asked questions we receive, but if you have any further inquiries that you cannot find here, please don't hesitate to call us directly for assistance. We understand how significant this decision is to you and your family.

How Bad Is Declaring Bankruptcy?

Declaring bankruptcy is a decision that you shouldn't take lightly. This public record will remain in your credit report for up to ten years. However, most folks that need this type of court assistance already have credit problems that have impacted their score, so it’s one of the best options to get debt relief. There comes tremendous stress with being in debt and not having enough money to make ends meet. Many can’t get a reorganization loan from a bank, so it’s one of the few options left. Sadly, you can run yourself right back into the same situation if you’re not careful, so you must attend credit counseling and incorporate better financial practices in the future. However, you shouldn’t beat yourself up over filing bankruptcy as Debt.org reported that 774,940 people filed in 2019 alone.

When Is Declaring Bankruptcy the Best Option?

If you don't have enough money to pay your bills each month, then you should consider bankruptcy. You should be behind on your debts by a couple of months to show that there is a genuine need. Many people use credit cards to live on and have huge balances. If you feel that you cannot sustain your life anymore without the court's intervention, then it's a good choice. However, it should be the last option and not the first choice for debt relief.

Is There a Limit or Minimum Amount of Debt You Need to Declare Bankruptcy?

The US Bankruptcy court doesn't have any minimum debt for filing a chapter 7 or 13 case. However, when it comes to chapter 13, the maximum amount that you can have is $1,184,200 in secured debt or $394,725 in unsecured.

What Are Some Things That Most Won’t Tell You About Declaring Bankruptcy?

There are many things that people don’t know about asking the court for help in erasing or reorganizing their debts. Here are just a few of the most overlooked facts:

•It Takes Two Years or More to Rebuild
If you have already filed for chapter 7 relief or you are considering doing so, then you should be aware that you will be required to go to the bankruptcy court and attend a Section 341 Meeting of Creditors.

In every bankruptcy case, regardless of whether it is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, there is always a 341 Meeting of Creditors. This meeting, often referred to as a 341 hearing, is not held in a courtroom. There will be no judge. It usually takes place in a meeting room, presided over by a trustee, appointed by the Office of the United States Trustee (a Government Agency which oversees all bankruptcies in the USA), approximately one month after a case is filed. Although it not held in a court room, 341 meetings are nonetheless legal proceedings, and anyone who is examined or questioned, will be under oath.
Are you facing judgement, repossessions, or a foreclosure on your home? Do you know that you need to file for bankruptcy protection, but you are apprehensive about the process and going to court? You don't have to let your payment history or credit utilization hold you back anymore. We are facing a unique time in history with the Covid-19 pandemic that’s occurring. Just as it has changed many things in your life, it’s also changed the court processes for the safety of the staff and those seeking debt relief. Following tips from the CDC, the court is protecting you while still servicing your needs. While the pandemic hasn’t stopped the court from processing bankruptcy requests, it has altered things dramatically. The first step is to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or if you will be required to file a Chapter 13. The deciding factor is whether you have any disposable income and a method to repay some of the debts you owe.

Credit Counseling and Debtor Education

When bankruptcy reform occurred in 2005, the rules change significantly. Credit counseling is something that was added to the requirement list. Before you can file for bankruptcy protection, the court wants to see that you have a certificate where you have completed credit counseling. Before you can get a discharge from your debts, you must complete debtor education. Due to Covid-19, you can take these classes over the phone or on the internet, and many companies are waiving fees to people who cannot afford these services.

The Means Test

During your consultation with our Long Island bankruptcy team, we will use the information you give to decide which chapter will be right for you. However, if we believe that you will file a Chapter 7, we will issue you this expenses and income evaluation. The Means Test is an examination given when a person wants to file for complete liquidation. To file for Chapter 7, you must show the court that you have no way to pay back your debts. This test will evaluate your income versus your outgoing and see if there is any disposable income. Due to the number of people out of work and the drastic hit to credit scores, many people are looking to the court for help. You can only file for a complete liquidation once every eight years, but it’s the perfect time to take care of this now that everything has been simplified.

Chapter 13 Repayment Plan

If you have told us that you have disposable income, or if the Means Test has shown that you can repay some debts, you must file for a Chapter 13. Additionally, if you have filed for bankruptcy in the previous eight years, the court will require you to file this method. During a Chapter 13, your disposable income will be used to pay back some of your debts. The amount of disposable income will dictate how much you will pay. Many just pay pennies on the dollars, but it’s all dependent on your situation. The benefit of using this chapter over others is that you can keep assets like cars and homes through reaffirmation of the debts. Though it’s also possible in Chapter 7, it’s easier when you have money and can prove to the court you can repay the debt. Additionally, the fees paid for our services can be worked into the plan so that you less out of pocket.

The Petition

The petition is quite lengthy, and it has several schedules that must be completed. This paperwork is essential to your case because if anything is left out, then you won’t get protection from the bankruptcy court for this debt. It’s vital that you take your time, gather your bills, pull your credit reports, and have a complete list of all your debtors. Any charge-off debts that are on your Experian, Equifax, or FTC reports must be reported. The trustee assigned to your case will go through your petition and check for any inaccuracies. If you leave anything off this petition or attempt to hide debts, it can be considered fraud. So, before your first meeting with us, make sure you have an accurate list of all your debts as well as income. Transparency before the court is of the utmost importance. If you cannot pay for the filing fee, we can ask the court to split the payment into four smaller installments. They usually approve these if they see that a person is struggling financially and unable to pay it. They are also more understanding of financial suffering during this Covid-19 crisis. So, a lack of money should never be the reason you don’t file for the court’s protection.

The 341 Meeting of Creditors

About 20-40 days after we file your petition, the court will schedule your Meeting of Creditors. Traditionally, you would go to the courthouse, and any lender that wanted to appear against you would come and file an objection to their debt being discharged. You would sit at a table and be sworn in by the trustee of the court. This process makes people very anxious even though we are standing beside you the whole time. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, these meetings are now being conducted over the phone. You will be in a recorded session and answer the trustee’s questions. Your creditors can still file an objection, but nothing will be done in person. The good news for you is that you can take care of these matters in the comfort of your own home. You don’t have to go to court, deal with the nauseating nerve issues, and worry about finding parking. If you tend to be a bit shy and don’t like confrontation or appearing in front of others, then this is the time to take advantage of the court’s assistance during these unprecedented times. You don’t even need to worry about getting dressed in court attire.

Receiving a Discharge

If no one files an objection to the liquidation of their debt, then you will be granted a discharge from the court. They will typically issue a discharge 4-6 months after you file for a Chapter 7. If you successfully complete your Chapter 13 payment plan, then they will give a discharge within 60 days after your last payment. Keep in mind the repayment plan can last anywhere from 3-5 years, so it will take some time to get discharged using this method.

The Benefits of Bankruptcy

One thing that many people don't consider is that they can repair their credit through this process. We can give you many tips and develop a strategy to help you fix your score. Your payment history and credit utilization won't be erased, but the bankruptcy will go on your report drawing a defining line of debt forgiveness. You can start rebuilding your credit right away. Those inquiries and negative marks on Experian, Equifax, and FTC will not have such an impact moving forward. Yes, your charge-off debts and foreclosures also will not have the effect on your score as this strategy will help you fix and repair your credit. Though a bankruptcy will stay on your record for 7-10 years, it’s not going to stop you from rebuilding. While Covid-19 has brought unprecedented issues, it has helped those who want to file for bankruptcy.

The Law Offices of Adam C. Gomerman can help navigate you through this process. While you’re dealing with all these issues, the last thing you want to handle is the financial debts on top of everything else. Thankfully, this horrific time in history has led some assistance in seeking debt relief. Call today at 631-549-1111 to schedule your appointment for a consultation to get rid of your debts. 
Millions of Americans, and thousands of Long Island residents, are drowning in a sea of debt. This debt has many different causes. Some people are faced with underwater mortgages for houses they never should have bought. Other people are forced to pay massive medical bills or run up tens of thousands of dollars on credit cards. These people are often overwhelmed by the process of asking for help or applying for discharge. This feeling can be mitigated somewhat by the emergency discharge process. Emergency bankruptcy is by no means a solution to a person's financial problems. Instead, it is a tool that a person can use to stem the damage from their obligations and eventually get back on track. If you are looking for emergency bankruptcy filing in New York or on Long Island, contact The Law Offices of Adam C. Gomerman today to speak with an experienced Long Island bankruptcy attorney.

Why would one need an emergency bankruptcy filing?

The process of gaining official debt liquidation or repayment is a time-consuming one. It can involve signing and processing a number of forms and aggregating a considerable amount of financial data. This process can be stressful for a person who has nothing else to do. But people who are going through discharge are incredibly stressed and face pressure from a number of different areas. They are often being harassed by creditors and bill collectors. The tactics of many bill collectors are ruthless and unscrupulous. Some collectors knock on a person's door and directly demand the money that is owed. They can call at many hours of the day and constantly send pieces of mail threatening wage garnishment. In many instances, bill collectors will try illegal tactics such as impersonating law enforcement. They count on people facing overwhelming bills to be too overwhelmed to fight back and file charges. In many instances, that assumption is correct. Some parts of the bill collection system are irreversible. Many banks will have a foreclosure sale for people who are far enough behind on their debts. These sales are final and cannot be undone. Therefore, people sometimes need an emergency option to stop the foreclosure system at any time. Emergency creditor relief filing is useful for these situations. A person can go through an immediate filing and secure an immediate halt on a foreclosure procedure. They can then work their way through the procedure and secure protections for their property. Preparing a filing is much easier when a person is able to do so in the comfort of their own homes.

Types of bankruptcy Long Island, New York

Along with filing for official protection from their creditors, individuals looking for an emergency filing on Long Island or New York need to determine what kind they are filing for. Chapter 13 is a common form that involves a person setting up a sanctioned debt repayment plan out of their regular income. This type of bankruptcy is for people who have a considerable income and still work a job. It can be less debilitating to a person's overall credit score and credit history than a Chapter 7 discharge. In Chapter 7 in NY, a person secures discharge of their debt except for special cases such as student loan debt. Chapter 7 discharge takes away many types of property from a person and sells that property in order to help discharge debt. Creditors, like credit card companies and hospitals holding medical bills, line up and are paid according to the importance of their bills as determined by a court. Some creditors will receive nothing in a process that reflects the risk they took on when they made a loan or extended a line of credit. People who go through Chapter 7 often are unable to borrow money for seven years. They have to start over financially from scratch but are able to do so without fear of foreclosure or constant calls from bill collectors.

Steps to filing for bankruptcy on long island

There are multiple steps to filing for bankruptcy on Long Island. The first step to an immediate bankruptcy filing is filling out a skeleton form. This form has a number of sections that must all be filled out quickly. There is a general information petition where an individual lists their identifying information, the basics of their situation, and what chapter they would like to file under. A person fills out this form along with a list of creditors and their addresses. This list is essential to informing these persons that they need to stop all collections procedures while a person is filing for official protection from their creditors. Then, a person needs to address the credit counseling requirement. They must show that they have attended credit counseling and that it has been unsuccessful in allowing them to meet their credit obligations. Finally, there is the filing of a form of dismissal along with the skeleton form. The form of dismissal provides for a legal justification to dismiss a case if the full amount of paperwork is not turned in within 14 days. All of these forms are filed together along with a fee. If a person cannot pay the fee or wants a payment plan, they can file a form requesting a waiver. All of these forms are quickly reviewed and put into action. Once the Long Island court accepts the emergency filing with the blessing of a lawyer review, they can immediately send out notices to creditors stopping all actions. The creditors then have 14 days to wait until it becomes clear what a person is going to do. If the person does not file their paperwork, they can go back to wage garnishment or foreclosure in order to retrieve their bills. But if they succeed in filing the paperwork, they are once again halted and have to go through the discharge process.

What to do next?

Any individual who is considering an immediate bankruptcy filing in Long Island needs to first consult an attorney and a financial adviser. The financial adviser and attorney will help an individual gauge their financial situation and determine if discharge is right for them. Many people feel overwhelmed by their bills and simply want out as quickly as possible. Professionals will help a person determine if they need to go this drastic step and what they need to do. Most courts in NY require that a person also go through credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy. The person should follow the suggestions of credit counseling as they attempt to work their way out of their debt problems. If a person has to file for emergency bankruptcy, they should first start by quickly filling out the required forms with the help of an attorney. Then, they should focus on filling out other required forms associated with creditor protection with the help of a lawyer. These forms include itemized lists of different pieces of property and means test forms as well as lists of expenses and income. Such forms help a court better ascertain a person's financial situation and the best way for creditors to receive as much as they reasonably can. A person needs to put all of their time and effort into filling out these forms on time. Missing a filing deadline can be debilitating in many ways. It can lead to a person being poorly treated in any future discharge filings as well.

Conclusion

An emergency bankruptcy filing should be viewed as a final step in the debt repayment process. People should do everything they can in order to avoid this drastic step. It may not be particularly helpful in the bankruptcy process after the emergency declaration has been granted. Enlisting the help of a lawyer may also cost money that a person does not think they have. But the process may be worthwhile if it means the difference between keeping or losing one's house.

To speak with a qualified, experienced bankruptcy attorney on Long Island today, contact our offices immediately to schedule your consultation.
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