Bankruptcy in Pittsburgh, PA
Are you contemplating bankruptcy or hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania? Are you tired of creditors calling for payments you can’t make? Maybe looking for a way to get out of debt and have you exhausted all other options? Then bankruptcy might be the solution you seek. It is a legal option that can erase a portion or all of your debts.
Types of Bankruptcy in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Bankruptcy is a legal process that helps individuals and businesses get a fresh financial start. It eliminates a portion of or all of their debts or financial liabilities. In Pittsburgh, PA to be approved, individuals must prove they have a hardship that prevents them from staying current on their financial obligations. Keep in mind that not all debts qualify. Some liabilities, such as child support arrears, delinquent taxes, alimony, and student loans generally do not qualify for discharge. Consumers who find themselves falling behind in debt can file either Chapter 7, 11 or 13. To determine which option is right for you, you’ll need to assess your goals, assets, and income. You should also consider working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Those filing for bankruptcy protections in Pittsburgh must file with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Many people find Chapter 7 to be the right solution for their circumstances because it provides them with the opportunity to start over financially. However, before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should thoroughly assess your income and ability to repay what you owe. You should also speak with a bankruptcy attorney in Pittsburgh who can help you to decide if a liquidation plan is right for you.
Typically, individuals approved for Chapter 7 lack stable income or have experienced a change in circumstances that has resulted in an inability to manage their debts. Though Chapter 7 erases debts, the tradeoff is you may have to give up certain possessions, such as your home, car or some other assets. However, once you file your petition, an automatic stay goes into effect that requires all collection activity against you like foreclosures and garnishments, to stop temporarily. However, the automatic stay does not prevent all collection attempts. For example, if you owe child support or restitution for a criminal case, you are still liable for those payments.
Online guides, along with the general timeline for the bankruptcy process, are provided by the U.S. Courts for Pittsburgh residents wishing to declare Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you choose this path as the best option, you’ll be required to pay the filing fees as well as file documents on your credit and income. You should also be aware that anyone filing for Chapter 7 will be required to pass a means test, complete credit counseling, and provide proof of completion of debtor’s education courses to the court.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is more complex than other types of bankruptcy. It is often used by businesses and certain types of people. It allows petitioners to restructure their debts with a reorganization plan, so they are easier to manage over a determined length of time, usually four to 18 months. The main benefit of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that it does not require petitioners to sell off or liquidate their assets to pay what they owe. It does allow debtors to negotiate with their creditors a reorganization plan that enables them to stay current on their debts moving forward.
The U.S. Courts provide basic information on filing for Chapter 11. Most entities that seek this route are businesses seeking to maintain their business and pay off their debts. Although it should be noted that certain individuals can file Chapter 11 if they meet the correct criteria.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt restructuring or wage earners plan. In Pittsburgh, PA after you file, the courts will assign a trustee to examine your liabilities and assets and ability to pay bills. Unlike other types of bankruptcy, Chapter 13 involves you restructuring your debt with a three to five-year repayment plan. The flexibility of this repayment plan will depend on what property you want to keep and how steady your income is. It may also give you the opportunity to have some or most of your debts discharged.
Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Law states that Chapter 13 is an excellent way to protect your homes from foreclosure, pay back taxes, and to stop interest from accruing on your account. It can also be used to make up missed car payments, and even protect certain non-exempt items from being seized. Chapter 13 allows those who file and use its protections to manage their debt, but you will have to provide proof that your income will allow you to pay back the debt under the restructuring.
The Bankruptcy Process in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
There is never an ideal time to declare bankruptcy. However, if you are unable to pay off what you owe within five years, filing for bankruptcy can help you to lessen the negative impact on your situation and help you get back on track.
In Pittsburgh to begin the filing process, gather all of your financial records, including monthly expenses, debts, assets and annual income. This information is crucial to give the courts an accurate picture of your circumstances. Failure to provide all necessary information can result in your petition being denied.
The U.S. Courts provide an online breakdown of the forms you’ll need to file in Pittsburgh. You’ll need to determine if bankruptcy can erase your debt, and which type of bankruptcy will be most beneficial to your set of circumstances. After you’ve discovered if you qualify for bankruptcy you’ll find out what property you can exempt and stop paying any qualifying debts. You’ll also need to take a credit counseling class. An experienced attorney in Pittsburgh can almost certainly help ease the burden of this process.
Pennsylvania is incredibly tight when it comes to the state exemptions offered. There is no homestead exemption, nor is there an exemption for any tools of your trade. Certain public benefits can still be exempt, as well as insurance and pensions. In addition, there is a meager wildcard exemption of up to $300 in personal property. You may be better off taking the federal exemptions if you are filing for bankruptcy in Pittsburgh.
At least six months before you file for bankruptcy, eliminate unnecessary spending. Do not run up the balances on your credit accounts. You’ll also need to complete an approved credit counseling course, usually online or over the phone. Credit counseling is necessary to help you learn financial literacy and help you learn better financial habits. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to include in your filing. If you don’t have the certificate of completion from the credit counseling course that you took, the courts will reject your bankruptcy petition.
Work With an Experienced Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Lawyer
Hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer in Pittsburgh during this process can help reduce the costly risks of self-representation in court. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer understands state and federal bankruptcy laws. He or she can help you understand which laws apply to your case, especially which debts that can be discharged or can’t be discharged. An experienced Pennsylvania attorney can also offer you guidance to improve the outcome of your case.
Keep in mind that there are debt management alternatives and financial resources that may benefit you more than bankruptcy, such as debt consolidation. Though bankruptcy is an attractive solution, it is best as a last resort. Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Pittsburgh can guide you through the entire bankruptcy process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Pennsylvania state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!