Bankruptcy Information Center

The federal bankruptcy laws are complex, and an experienced advocate can help you navigate them efficiently. If you are contemplating filing for bankruptcy, contact a lawyer.

Legal Information About Bankruptcy

The bankruptcy laws were passed to help people like you get a new financial start.

At Minion & Sherman, we are experienced bankruptcy attorneys. By filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy for you, we can reduce or eliminate your debts, halt foreclosure and repossession, and help you get the financial breathing room you need.

To better help you understand the bankruptcy process, we have presented some general information about bankruptcy below. Your case is unique and requires an in-depth analysis by an experienced attorney.

We can review your situation in a free consultation and recommend the best course of action for you.

Free Consultation? Evening and Weekend Appointments Available.

For a free initial consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer at Minion & Sherman, call 973-559-5791 or send us an e-mail.

With offices in West Caldwell, we represent clients in the Newark area and throughout northern New Jersey.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy - An Overview

Both individuals and businesses may find themselves with more debts than they can pay when due. In such cases, filing for bankruptcy may provide a solution to what seems like an insurmountable problem. Bankruptcy provides two basic forms of relief: (1) liquidation and (2) rehabilitation, also known as reorganization. Most bankruptcies filed in the United States involve liquidation, which is governed by Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. An attorney at Minion & Sherman in West Caldwell, New Jersey, can advise individuals and businesses about whether Chapter 7 is the right choice for them. The bankruptcy lawyer's goals are to help Chapter 7 debtors make a fresh start and ensure that creditors are paid.

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Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act

On April 20, 2005, President Bush signed the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 (BAPCPA), which instituted substantial changes to the Bankruptcy Code. Most provisions of BAPCPA became effective in October 2005. In an effort to exclude from Chapter 7 relief those debtors deemed to have the ability to pay at least some of the debts that would otherwise be discharged in Chapter 7, BAPCPA tightened the eligibility requirements for Chapter 7 and broadened the court's power to dismiss Chapter 7 petitions for "abuse."

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Discharge Under Chapter 7

"Discharge" in the bankruptcy sense refers to clearing the debtor's slate of all, or most, past debts. Although many people expect that filing for bankruptcy will wipe out all of their debts, that is not always the case. Bankruptcy only discharges certain debts. The availability of discharge depends on the type of bankruptcy proceeding involved, who the debtor is and what type of debts the debtor has.

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Exempt vs. Non-exempt Property Under Chapter 7

In a Chapter 7 liquidation case, the debtor must relinquish certain property to the bankruptcy trustee so that he or she can sell the property and use the proceeds to pay off debts. Property of the bankruptcy estate is broadly defined in the Bankruptcy Code. 11 U.S.C. § 541. The bankruptcy estate is technically the legal owner of all of the debtor's property and consists of all legal and equitable interests that the debtor has in property at the initiation of the bankruptcy case. Income that the debtor earns after the date of the petition is not included in the bankruptcy estate. Debtors, whether they are businesses or individuals, are often justifiably concerned about what property they will be allowed to keep and what they must give up.

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Alternatives to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

The term "workout" is used to describe a non-bankruptcy negotiated modification of debt. More simply stated, a workout is an out-of-court agreement between a debtor and his or her creditors for repayment of the debts between them, which is negotiated without all the procedural complications - and perhaps the stigma - of the bankruptcy process.

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Chapter 7 Resource Links

U.S. Bankruptcy Courts
A brief overview of the structure and function of bankruptcy courts.

Liquidation under the bankruptcy code
Basic overview of liquidation under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code.

Bankruptcy: An Overview
A general overview of the topic of bankruptcy, along with state and federal materials, from Cornell University.

U.S. Bankruptcy Courts by State
Links to U.S. Bankruptcy Court sites.

Official Bankruptcy Forms
From the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts.

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