New York Bankruptcy Lawyer

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If you have become overwhelmed because of your high amounts of unsecured debt, and you cannot see a way out of your troubles, then it may be time to contact a bankruptcy lawyer.

New York bankruptcy lawyers are well-educated, experienced, and skilled at representing people just like you. They understand that while you may have gotten yourself into financial trouble through a medical emergency, a job loss, or other crisis, it's never too late to turn over a new leaf and begin anew. That's where the option of bankruptcy comes in.

There are two basic types of bankruptcy proceedings: (1) liquidation; and (2) reorganization. Liquidation, which occurs under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, involves the appointment of a trustee who collects the non-exempt property of the debtor, sells it, and distributes the proceeds to the creditors. Usually, any remaining debt is then cancelled.

Reorganization, which is the goal of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, seeks to rehabilitate the debtor and allow for future earnings to be used to pay off creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as the wage-earner plan, and is meant for individuals who earn a steady income, and who have assets such as a car or a home which they would like to be able to keep. Under this plan, the individual's debts are restructured into a three- to five-year payment schedule, over which a court-appointed trustee presides. Sometimes a debtor may be able to discharge debt under Chapter 13, but the trade-off for being able to maintain one's home or car is the commitment to paying at least a portion of the money that is owed.

In 2005, Congress passed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act, in order to limit individual access to the bankruptcy court and prevent repeat bankruptcy filings. The Act also makes it more difficult to qualify for Chapter 7, instead pushing most people into either Chapter 13 bankruptcy or a non-bankruptcy workout.

In order to file for bankruptcy, you will first have to submit to a means test. This will determine which kind of bankruptcy you'll be eligible for, Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. If your income falls under the Census Bureau's established median income level for families in New York State, you will automatically be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you make more than the median income for families in Pennsylvania, you will proceed to the next level of the means test, at which point the court will consider several financial factors, including your income over the past six months, your mortgage and car payments, any back taxes or child support due, and certain other expenses. If, after deducting these amounts and the living expenses provided in the Internal Revenue Service's national collection standards, you are still found to be able to pay approximately $100/month to your creditors over a period of five years, you will not be able to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Another requirement under the new legislation will compel you to undergo credit counseling, and possibly a money management course, before you can being the bankruptcy.

A qualified New York bankruptcy attorney will be able to assist you at every stage of the process. He or she will evaluate your own personal financial situation in order to determine whether or not bankruptcy is the right option for you; because they are also knowledgeable about other forms of debt relief, they may find that you do not need to file bankruptcy after all. If you do, however, your attorney will explain the procedure, file all the necessary paperwork, and accompany you to court.

In order to find an experienced, compassionate bankruptcy attorney lawyer who practices in your area of New York State, please visit the website of the American Bar Association today. There you can access resources to help you locate and choose the attorney who can help you get your finances back on track.


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