Frequently Asked Questions about New Jersey Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy FAQs

Will the recently enacted bankruptcy laws make me ineligible for a fresh start?

It’s true that Chapter 7 bankruptcy laws have made it more difficult to qualify for a fresh start, but a healthy percentage of applicants do still qualify for this type of bankruptcy. Every situation is unique, however, so the best course of action would be taking advantage of the free Chapter 7 bankruptcy consultations we offer here at Veitengruber Law. This process allows us to present you with the options that will benefit you most over the long term.

Which type of bankruptcy filing will be best for me?

If a debtor files Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the law requires that the debtor relinquish all property in excess of a set monetary limit in order that it can be liquidated through sales to creditors. However, in most of these cases, real property is exempt. This is to permit the debtor to be somewhat well positioned for a fresh start.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is designed for business and individual debtors who have taken on immense personal debt.

Chapter 12 bankruptcy is only available to family-owned fishing businesses and family farmers.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is usually called a “debt adjustment” since a debtor is required to file a concrete plan to repay most or all of their debts within their current income parameters.

What are New Jersey’s specific requirements for filing bankruptcy?

In order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey, a debtor must provide a wide array of personal information regarding their financial status. These categories include, but are not limited to: all creditors and any collection agencies, secured claims, unsecured claims, any existing debt schedules, pensions, stocks, real estate holdings, and the value of the debtor’s life insurance policy.

Once you have arranged your free consultation, the experienced team at Veitengruber Law will carefully explain the applicable filing requirements. Additionally, your bankruptcy attorney at our firm will go through this list with you to be sure you’re prepared to go forward.

Will I be permitted to keep any of my property?

When filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a debtor is permitted to retain property that either state or federal law has declared exempt from the claims of creditors. The debtor is given the option to choose which set of exemptions is more advantageous, but often the federal laws are more favorable.

 

Will I be permitted to own anything once I have filed for bankruptcy?

Absolutely. It’s a common misconception that anyone who has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is prohibited from owning anything. Bankruptcy is not intended to be punitive.

However, it’s important to note that if a debtor does come into an inheritance, receives a personal property settlement, or benefits from a life insurance payout within the first 180 days after filing for bankruptcy, this income or property will almost certainly be flagged as being owed to creditors unless it is specifically exempt.

Will I still be protected from discrimination despite my bankruptcy?

Federal law (No.11 U.S.C. sec. 525) protects you from discrimination from both governmental units and private employers due to your having filed for bankruptcy or failed to repay dischargeable debt.

Will I be required to appear in court?

Yes. Once you have filed your Chapter 7 petition, the court will schedule a formal Meeting of Creditors within 30 – 90 days. The Federal Court Trustee in Newark, Camden, or Trenton will conduct the meeting. Counsel will be present at your side to assist you as you answer questions intended to help the appointed trustee decide if you possess assets that should be distributed to your creditors. Additionally, the trustee will attempt to discern if you have filed your petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in good faith.

Will bankruptcy ruin my credit rating?

While it’s undeniable that having a bankruptcy on your credit report does damage your rating, it’s also true that over time, the bankruptcy itself can be less detrimental than a years-long history of unpaid debts and judgments against you. In fact, many people find that once they have filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they receive offers for fresh credit cards and are even able to obtain them! Lenders are overall more likely to view you as less risky once you are free from your huge burden of debt. After all, they are guaranteed that you will not be permitted to file for bankruptcy for a minimum of six years.

Does bankruptcy erase my debts?

While bankruptcy will erase most of your unpaid debts, there are notable exceptions.

Bankruptcy normally does not adjust:

  • Alimony or child support obligations
  • Some unlisted debt
  • Loans obtained under false pretense
  • Fines
  • Debts resulting from willful and malicious intent
  • Student loans

Additionally, mortgages and any other liens that are not paid via the bankruptcy may be attached to the property. They will not be reattached to you personally until and unless you decide to reaccept the obligation. If the creditor sells the property, the bankruptcy completely absolves you of all obligation to repay the debt.

Are there other viable options for getting out from under my debt?

Once a debtor has been hounded by creditors and has realized that they have very little hope of paying off their debts, the promise of a fresh start through bankruptcy can seem like the only escape. While bankruptcy is the best course of option for a good portion of overwhelmed debtors, it can also greatly impact their credit rating and their ability to purchase large items such as a home or vehicle. Therefore; it is prudent for debtors to carefully consider less drastic alternatives.

This caveat is especially pertinent if the debtor’s financial problems are likely to be merely temporary, in which case creditors may accept smaller payments, or stretch payments out over longer periods of time. It helps the debtor’s credibility if they have demonstrated prompt payment habits in the past, or if they inform their creditors that they are facing potential bankruptcy. Creditors are eager to avoid bankruptcy if they may reasonably expect that the debtor will be capable of and willing to repay their debts over time; once bankruptcy proceedings have begun, they are unlikely to recover anything, or will only be able to garner a fraction of what they are truly owed. Creditors also often like to avoid court proceedings connected to bankruptcy because they are costly and time-consuming.
Veitengruber Law works with our clients to present them with every available avenue of debt relief so that they are able to make a fully informed decision. We will work together with you to get you to the other side of debt. To find out what debt relief solution is right for you, schedule your free consultation with us today.

 

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3rd Annual Leadership Summit – Monmouth County, NJ

Dear Bankruptcy,

Dear Bankruptcy,

As a follow-up to my previous correspondence with you several months ago, I write you now only to keep you apprised of the situation. I want you to know that I am not deliberately trying to hurt your feelings, but I feel it is my duty as one of your staunchest supporters to let you know the truth.

In an attempt to squelch the initial rumors I shared with you, I have worked tirelessly educating the masses regarding the misinformation that was swirling around. While I strongly believe that those who I am able to work with directly are now getting the right message about you, I have to tell you that through word of mouth I have heard that someone is still spreading rumors about you.

My intention here is to clear the air, as I will post this letter publicly in the hopes of putting a stop to what is being said behind your back. Please feel free to do the same on your end so that we can get the correct information in front of as many people as possible.

Ok, I’ll just dive into the details, then. Here goes.

(Deep breath, because these may hurt a little)

I think I told you this already, but I’ve recently opened a second office in New Jersey. Bankruptcy help is one of the main services I provide at both offices. As I’ve moved into a new location, I’ve heard some real head-shakers about you. You would never tell someone they can never get a credit card again, right? RIGHT! I mean, obviously, those who need your help will have to reel in their credit card use until you help right their financials, but I have been telling everyone who asks: YES YOU CAN GET A CREDIT CARD AFTER BANKRUPTCY comes into your life.

A friend of a friend came to me (claiming to be “asking for a friend,” sigh) with this question: Will everyone know if I’m involved with Bankruptcy? Again, I am incredulous that there is still such fear at the mere mention of your name. Times have changed, Man! Bankruptcy doesn’t post a public announcement or install a blinking red light in front of your home. However, as I’ve previously been preaching: Needing Bankruptcy’s help is nothing to be ashamed of.

“But we wanted to own a home one day” – I heard this last week from a husband and wife who approached me in town. As challenging as it may be, I continue working to convince people everywhere that an encounter with you is not a life sentence. After all, you aren’t out to attack or harm anyone; you’re here to help.

Even though you and I know that times have changed, it is apparent to me now that I still have more work to do in defending your honor. You have my word that I will continue in earnest to defeat any and all Bankruptcy myths that I encounter. You and I are in this together, friend.

A Letter to Bankruptcy

Dear Bankruptcy,

Oh how thee have gotten such a bad rap over the years. It’s a shame because of all the good you can do! I know it must hurt your feelings when people believe myths about you that simply aren’t true.

I recently heard the most incredulous Bankruptcy myth: that you don’t even exist anymore! Just because a few more rules have been put into place so people don’t abuse you does not eradicate your existence. Bankruptcy, I know you are real, and I know that you just want to help people.

This next one you might not have even heard yet. Did you know that some people are spreading rumors about me, too? It has been said that “consulting with me (or another one of the law people) about you means we can force bankruptcy upon them.” Haha, seriously! As Bankruptcy law helpers, we are exactly that – helpers. Not to mention, it would be illegal for any of us to force anyone to do anything against their will.

Now – I’ve only heard this rumor from a friend of a friend, but I believe it went something like, “The Jones’s can’t ask for help from Bankruptcy because they still pay all of their bills on time.” I did try to explain that your help is available even before people dig themselves into a hole, but I’m not sure my friend believed me.

Please don’t get offended, Bankruptcy, but there are a few things being said about you that, while they aren’t exactly 100% true – they do hold some merit. I guess I’d say these are more like pieces of misinformation than myths. For example: “Making too much money prevents someone from calling upon you for help.” Obviously, it’s not a person’s income alone that determines how badly they need you, Bankruptcy. I’ll be the one to say it: Means Test!!

Brace yourself, because this one may sting a little. I know you’d never do this, but apparently it’s been said that you can destroy people. I mean, as if! Now, I acquiesce that you are indeed one powerful fellow, and naturally you do pack a bit of a punch when you do your thing, but “destroying” someone has never been your M.O. You hang around for what, 7-10 years, but in name only, right? What about all of the good things you do for people, like taking care of everyone they owe money to and stopping foreclosure single-handedly?

Bankruptcy, I know your intentions are good. You are a superhero in my eyes! Don’t fret about the bad press; I’m working hard every day to set people straight, one rumor at a time.

Sincerely,

George

 

 

 

Practicing Bankruptcy Law: “Isn’t it Depressing?”

I frequently get asked why I decided to go in to bankruptcy law. Most of the time, the person asking the question does so with a perplexed facial expression and concerned body language.

“Isn’t it depressing?” they ask.

The truth about why I got into bankruptcy law is actually quite simple. To be completely honest, when I first graduated from law school, I worked on the other side of the equation for a debt collection law firm. Not to say that lenders and creditors don’t need and deserve quality representation, but it just wasn’t for me. I saw the debtors who were struggling and I felt drawn to wanting to help them. I knew that I could help them, but I needed to figure out the best way to do that.

In 2010, I took the leap and opened Veitengruber Law. We started out as a very small solo practitioner firm, but I knew from the very beginning that we would do great things for many people. I put together the very best team to work with me: a bankruptcy specialist paralegal, a foreclosure specialist paralegal, a marketing specialist, and the most qualified legal assistant I could find.

Since the year of our inception, we have not looked back. I knew instantly that making the move to own my own firm was the right decision. Every year the firm grows exponentially. I have put no less than my entire heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into moulding Veitengruber Law into the kind of bankruptcy law practice that has a reputation for helping people.

To circle back to the original question that was posed at the opening of this post: “Isn’t bankruptcy law depressing?” The general consensus is that I must be crazy to want to spend all day every day with those less fortunate, or those who have made some poor financial choices.

The answer to that question is quite simple, actually. My “job” as a NJ bankruptcy attorney is hands-down the most rewarding thing I’ve ever done. You’ll often find me still working at 9pm – and happy about it! The bottom line: I’ve discovered that helping people is what I was destined to do, and I don’t say that boastfully. Showing my clients (who quickly become friends) that there is a light at the end of what they thought was a never-ending tunnel of debt makes all of my efforts worthwhile.

Upon first meeting me, my clients are almost always in emotional distress. They are almost never happy about filing for bankruptcy, and many of them have a very negative attitude:

“I don’t want to be here.”

“I can’t believe I’m really doing this.”

As we begin to talk and I make them aware of what bankruptcy can actually do for them, every single person visibly relaxes. It’s as if I have physically removed a 25 pound weight from around their shoulders. Smiles start to peek out, they begin to make more eye contact with me, and sighs of relief abound. Sometimes, tears spring from their eyes, taking them by surprise – simply because they are tears of joy.

Tell me, what could be more fulfilling than that?