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Fighting the stigma surrounding bankruptcy

There are many reasons why filing for bankruptcy can be a difficult decision to make, whether one is worried about various legal stressors or the different ways in which a bankruptcy filing may affect their lives. However, some people push off the bankruptcy process (or avoid it altogether) because they are concerned about the stigma surrounding bankruptcy. However, you should not allow these concerns to get in the way of what is best for you, financially and in other aspects of your life. Filing for bankruptcy has helped many people who were buried in debt and unable to have hope with respect to their financial future.

First of all, many people are surprised to find out just how common bankruptcy is. Not only do many businesses file for bankruptcy, but personal bankruptcy occurs quite often as well. There are a lot of reasons why people may need to file for bankruptcy, whether they lost their job unexpectedly or their credit card debt ballooned out of control as a result of interest and unexpected life challenges, such as a health crisis. Some people feel ashamed of their financial state, but financial problems have become increasingly prevalent in recent years due to wage stagnation, the recession and a host of other factors.

Who can benefit from Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

When it comes to personal financial struggles, everyone is different. This is why there are so many different bankruptcy Chapters. Each bankruptcy Chapter is designed with certain situations and financial scenarios in mind and is tailored to help specific groups of people.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often referred to as liquidation because it essentially uses a debtor's material assets to help pay off the debts that they acquired. Since the bankruptcy Chapter involves no repayment plan, it can be completed in a matter of months, and debts that are not repaid through the liquidation of assets are often discharged. This is why Chapter 7 bankruptcy is such a common choice for many. However, this does not mean that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is right for everyone. The bankruptcy filing is only available under certain circumstances, and will only be optimal for certain people.

Bankruptcy and depression

There are a lot of different factors when it comes to filing for bankruptcy, from the financial benefits of eliminating debt to exploring some of the different types of bankruptcy as well as the benefits of each option. For some people, however, the bankruptcy process can be challenging, especially if someone is dealing with other hardships at the same time. For example, someone who is dealing with depression may have a particularly difficult time while working through their bankruptcy, and it is imperative to take the right approach to bankruptcy if you are in this position.

People become depressed for various reasons, whether they recently went through a difficult divorce or they have depression because of a long-term injury or a traumatic experience they went through. Sometimes, depression lasts for many years and is an ongoing challenge, while other people may struggle with depression temporarily. If you are depressed, it is vital to prevent negative feelings and some of the challenges associated with depression (such as a lack of energy) from getting in the way of your bankruptcy, which could make your life more difficult.

Motor vehicle accidents and bankruptcy

Auto accidents can shatter lives in countless ways. Many crash victims struggle from a physical point of view, whether they are seriously hurt, or they are suffering from a great deal of pain. The mental of an accident can be overwhelming too, and victims should not overlook the financial ramifications of a crash. In some instances, auto accident victims take on high levels of debt due to an accident. After all, with hospital bills, property damage and lost wages due to an injury, there are many reasons why traffic crashes can result in excessive debt. For some people, filing for bankruptcy can not only help eliminate accident-related debts, but help them recover from the crash in other ways.

There are many factors to think about if you are considering bankruptcy following a traffic accident. For example, you may be under a lot of pressure in your daily life, especially if you have mental trauma due to the accident or you are in a lot of pain. Our law firm understands the diverse challenges that auto accident victims struggle with, but it is imperative for those whose lives have been thrown off-course due to a car crash to carefully examine their options on their path to recovery.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy and the debtor in possession

At William H. Oliver, Jr. & Associates in New Jersey, our legal team understands that the language of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is unique. For example, you may wonder what it means to be a debtor in possession.

If you are the debtor who is filing, you will probably be filling this role, so it is important to understand it.

How can I improve my credit score?

While it can help you get a handle on debt, filing for bankruptcy does have a negative impact on your credit score. While bankruptcy will stay in your credit history for a number of years, there are steps you can begin taking right away that will boost your credit score and prevent you from making financial missteps in the future. Nerdwallet offers the following tips to help you get back on track. 

The first step is to check your credit score. Chances are your credit score was poor before filing for bankruptcy, as late and missed payments also have an impact on your credit history. You also want to look for any inaccurate records that might be dragging your score down further. If you notice anything out of place, contact the credit bureau responsible for issuing the report. They can help you remove erroneous items.

How to slow or avoid foreclosure

Purchasing a home in New Jersey is an exciting experience. Unfortunately, medical debt, loss of employment and other changes to a person’s financial status can lead to foreclosure. Many people facing a foreclosure may believe their banks are eager to evict them from their homes and seize the property. However, banks often stand to lose more from taking this route than trying to work something out with the homeowner. Because of this, if creditors are calling, it may be beneficial to take the call.

According to USA.gov, the first step when avoiding foreclosure is to communicate with the lender. In fact, it is better not to wait until they start calling. Be proactive if there is any reason to believe there may be some difficulty with making upcoming payments. This provides the opportunity for creditors to adjust payment terms, even temporarily. Some options on the table may include refinancing, forbearance, loan modification or a repayment plan.

Bankruptcy may only delay - not derail - home ownership dreams

One common misconception causes debtors who could really benefit from bankruptcy relief to delay or shun filing for Chapter 7.

Many consumers mistakenly believe that filing for bankruptcy precludes their ever qualifying again for a mortgage. While it's true that bankruptcy proceedings can make your plans to purchase a home simmer on the back burner for awhile, if you use that time wisely and pay all of your bills on time each month, you will improve your credit score and be ever closer to your dreams of owning your own home.

What are New Jersey's homestead exemptions?

Most states have homestead exemption laws that prevent homeowners from losing their homes in bankruptcy by protecting all or some of the equity in their primary residences. Unfortunately, New Jersey has no such laws. Instead, residents of The Garden State who want to avoid destitution in tough financial times must turn to the federal government exemptions.

According to FindLaw, the bankruptcy courts generally consider the equity in a home an asset which they can use to repay creditors. Equity, in this case, refers to the overall dollar value of a home less the remaining mortgage balance. The federal homestead exemption, which the government last adjusted in 2016, protects up to $23,675 in equity for single filers and up to $47,350 for married individuals or those who file jointly.

What are the basics of Chapter 13 and Chapter 7?

Are you a resident of New Jersey with too much debt and no way to bail yourself out? William H. Oliver Jr., & Associates, can provide you with a basic rundown of Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy options. One of them may be exactly what you need.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is based around the notion of having a stable enough source of income to make and stick to a repayment plan. This plan will be decided together with those you owe, as well as your bank. Over a period of time, you will pay off the debts owed on your own. It can take a long time and may not be feasible for those without stable income, but can help you avoid the major problems of Chapter 7.

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With offices in Toms River and Neptune, attorney William H. Oliver is ready to answer your questions and help you find the right debt relief solution. Evening and Saturday appointments are available. Call local: 732-988-1500 or fill out our contact form.

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