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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney in Hackensack, New Jersey

Life's financial challenges can make it quite difficult for you to settle debts, pay bills, or meet your other monetary needs. When facing financial instability, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a promising solution for you to achieve the financial "clean slate" that you deserve. If you're thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your area, it is imperative that you consult with a seasoned New Jersey bankruptcy attorney

Over the past three decades, Mr. Alster has offered reliable advocacy and trusted legal guidance to clients in bankruptcy-related matters. He's available to discuss your unique situation, enlighten you about what Chapter 7 does, and determine whether it is the right debt relief option for you. Also, Mr. Alster will help file your bankruptcy petition, represent you intelligently in Bankruptcy Court, and walk you through all the legal proceedings involved. 

The Law Offices of Marc G. Alster proudly serves clients in Hackensack, New Jersey, and throughout Northern and Central New Jersey counties, including Passaic, Bergen, Essex, Hudson, and Union, as well as counties in New York, such as Putnam, Orange, Westchester, and Rockland. 

Understanding Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy – also known as "liquidation" bankruptcy – is a debt relief option available to individuals, business owners, and families going through financial distress. Chapter 7 will eliminate most of the consumer's general unsecured debts and help them achieve a fresh start financially. 

Upon filing for Chapter 7 in New Jersey, the bankruptcy court will appoint a Ch. & Trustee – an independent contractor – to manage or oversee your case. The Trustee will gather the debtors' relevant, financial information, and if the Trustee can find material, non-exempt equity in an asset that falls outside the Bankruptcy Code EXEMPTIONS, i.e., cannot otherwise be protected, the Trustee may attempt to sell such an asset to pay some or all of your creditors.  In almost all Ch. 7 cases approved by Mr. Alster, debtors' assets are not at risk, meaning any/all equity debtors have in their assets fall squarely within the amounts allowed under the Bankruptcy Code Exemptions.

Essentially, non-exempt assets are assets that a Trustee can sell in a Chapter 7 case. These can but do not necessarily include substantial equity debtors might possess in their second homes, family heirlooms, second vehicles, vacation homes, bonds, cash, stocks, bank accounts, and other investments. In the typical Ch. 7 case, however, all consumer debtors' assets are exempt, and debtors are able to retain all of their assets, such as their primary house, car, household appliances, clothing, furniture pieces, etc. 

What Chapter 7 Does 

Additionally, filing for Chapter 7 in New Jersey can help you achieve the following: 

  • It eliminates your general unsecured debts, including medical bills, credit card debts, and unsecured personal loans. 

  • It activates an "automatic stay" order on your existing debts. This Bankruptcy Court injunction instantly stops all creditor calls, wage garnishments, harassment, and other collection efforts. 

  • The "automatic stay" Order prevents creditors from foreclosing, repossessing, or evicting you from your home. 

  • It relieves you of a great many of your financial responsibilities, including most of your general unsecured obligations, excluding alimony and child support payments. 

  • It helps you rebuild your credit score gradually over time.  See other articles/blogs on this website regarding how to rebuild your credit after receiving your Ch. 7 Discharge Order from the Court.

  • You will likely be able to retain all of your major assets, such as your car, primary home, and personal assets, such as but not limited to your household furniture, clothing, etc. 

What Chapter 7 Doesn't Do 

However, not everything can be achieved under Chapter 7. Here are certain things that it doesn't do: 

  • It won't relieve your domestic support obligations. A family court order will be required to suspend child support and alimony payments. 

  • It won't necessarily eliminate your student loan debts, but see the Student Loan Tab and other articles/blogs on this website regarding the dischargeability of federal and private student loans.

  • It won't eliminate some debts, including but not limited to criminal restitution, fines and penalties, Family Support Obligations, debts that a creditor can prove were procured through fraud, and certain federal, local, and state taxes. 

A practiced New Jersey bankruptcy lawyer can fully explain how to qualify for Chapter 7 as well as the procedures involved in filing your bankruptcy petition. 

Qualifying for Chapter 7 

To qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey, you are required to pass the bankruptcy "means test" and attend credit counseling courses. 

Bankruptcy Means Test 

A bankruptcy "means test" test takes your total "household income" into consideration to determine your eligibility to receive Chapter 7 protection. If debtors have gross, household income above the threshold amounts indicated below, debtors will be determined to have disposable income and will not satisfy the Means Test; however, all reasonable government deductions and many reasonable, non-government deductions will work to reduce debtors' disposable incomes. Accordingly, the vast majority of good faith, debtors do satisfy the Bankruptcy Code's Chapter 7 Means Test requirements and are not barred from filing for Chapter 7 relief.

Here are the possible scenarios: 

  • If your income is lower than the state's median income for your household size, you will be eligible for Chapter 7. 

  • If your family income is more than the state's median income for your household size, but your disposable income is very low to settle your debts, you will still likely be eligible for Chapter 7 protection. 

  • If, after taking into account the many liberal deductions referred to above you do not satisfy the Means Test and are otherwise found to have a sufficient amount of "disposable income", good faith debtors will still qualify to have their debts discharged through filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.. 

Calculating New Jersey’s Median Income 

In order to qualify for Chapter 7, your family's close income must be lower than the median income for your household size in New Jersey during the 6 months preceding the month in which you file for Ch. 7 Bankruptcy relief: 

  • One-person household – $83,898  

  • Two-member household – $99,056 

  • Three-member household – $122,540  

  • Four-member household – $155,550 

*Add $9,900 for each household in excess of four members.  Also, see other articles/blogs on this website concerning the "Means Test."

The figures listed above are for cases filed on or after April 1st, 2023, and are Modified/'s updated from time to time. An experienced attorney can evaluate your unique financial situation and help decide whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey. 

When Chapter 7 Is a Good Debt Relief Option? 

Chapter 7 may be a good debt relief option for you if: 

  • You have credit card balances, medical bills, and personal loans that can be discharged. 

  • You do not own many assets or do not have substantial equity in the assets you do own. 

  • Your income is lower than the state's median income for your household size after taking into account the numerous, liberal, income deductions referred to under the" Means Test" section above, or you have very little "net disposable income", which means you have very money left over after deducting your reasonable, monthly household expenses from your "net income".

A well-informed New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney can help file your petition and guide you through the legal processes involved. 

Work With an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney 

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a common occurrence in New Jersey, and you should never be discouraged. However, it is essential that you understand the eligibility requirements, benefits, and limitations of Chapter 7 before you file. Therefore, seeking detailed guidance from a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney is imperative to help you make intelligent decisions. 

Mr. Alster has the diligence and experience to assist and guide consumers through the complex procedures involved in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Using his extensive experience, he can determine your eligibility, help file your petition, and represent you during court proceedings. Mr. Alster will help you achieve the financial fresh start you deserve for a stable financial future. 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney Serving Hackensack, New Jersey 

If you need proper guidance filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, call The Law Offices of Marc G. Alster today to schedule a simple consultation. Mr. Alster can offer you the personalized legal counsel and advocacy you need to make informed decisions in your bankruptcy filing. The Law Offices of Marc G. Alster proudly serves clients in Hackensack, New Jersey, and throughout Northern and Central New Jersey counties.

From his office in Hackensack, New Jersey, Attorney Alster's services extend throughout the state of New Jersey, as well as New York. Some areas he serves in New Jersey are Passaic County, Bergen County, Hudson County, Essex County, and more; in New York, he serves Rockland County, Queens, and the Bronx.