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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania

Is This Debt Relief Option Right for You?

When your finances get out of control, you might resist filing for bankruptcy. After all, many people and businesses can find the financial relief they need by selling off assets, downsizing cars and homes, eliminating memberships, rethinking budgets, and reducing expenses dramatically enough to find the funds they need to work their way out of crippling debt.

However, others struggle to stay afloat when life events severely impact their finances. Perhaps you or someone in your family or business has experienced a serious drop in income, a job loss, got divorced, became ill, or passed away. Sometimes the economy, new regulations, changes in interest rates, or industry shifts also challenge your ability to make ends meet. When life events surprise you, it can become hard to pay leases, rents, mortgages, car payments, installment payments, major medical expenses, or other ongoing financial responsibilities.

Bankruptcy Offers a Chance to Reboot Your Finances.

While declaring bankruptcy feels like a failure to some people, legal and financial professionals know that can actually be a good way to rebuild your life. Numerous successful people have declared bankruptcy during their lives, including Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Henry Ford, Milton Hershey, and H.J. Heinz.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy. Once a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is completed, the debtor is usually free of major debt, and is provided a fresh start with smaller, more manageable expenses. However, in exchange for the forgiveness of debts, a trustee will evaluate your assets and may require you to sell possessions to subsidize your debt. Depending on your situation, you may be able to keep your home and essential vehicles. If you have no possessions, your debt will be dissolved without selling off assets. Contact us to discuss your situation.

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How do I Know if I can Declare Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania?

Before you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, the Commonwealth mandates that you must meet these requirements.

1. You’re a Pennsylvania Resident

You must be a resident in Pennsylvania for at least 91 of the past 180 days preceding your bankruptcy filing date. Bankruptcy courts in Pennsylvania have jurisdictions. If you live in Lancaster, Berks, or Bucks counties, you’re in the jurisdiction of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. Residents of York, Dauphin, and Cumberland Counties fall under the jurisdiction of the Pennsylvania Middle District Bankruptcy Court.

2. You Meet Chapter 7 Income Requirements

To qualify for a bankruptcy discharge in Pennsylvania, you’ll have to submit a variety of forms and records, which will be compared to federal IRS and Social Security documents. Honestly is required, and dishonesty or hiding assets may result in criminal prosecution.

The income means test compares your adjusted monthly income to the median state income for a household of your size. If your income falls below the mean, or average, of a Pennsylvania household like yours, you may be a good candidate for Chapter 7. However, if your income ranks about the mean, or is higher than an average Pennsylvania household like yours, you may be asked to switch to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. Chapter 13 bankruptcies focus on reorganization and repayment, not elimination, of debt. It’s important to remember that each case is different. A qualified legal expert on bankruptcy can help you walk you through this process, and identify exceptions in your favor when they exist.

3. You Have Fulfilled Credit Counseling Requirements

Anyone who wishes to file any type of bankruptcy in Pennsylvania must complete a designated pre-bankruptcy credit counseling course. In fact, this is a federal law. The course requirements and fees may vary slightly among bankruptcy court jurisdictions. A Going and Plank bankruptcy expert can talk you through this process.

Is Chapter 7 Right for You or Should You Pursue Other Options?

Once you decide to explore bankruptcy seriously, you should schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy expert from Going and Plank. We’ll help you evaluate your current situation in many ways, including assessing your eligibility and identifying which debts can be discharged. Our team will help you check your credit report, identify all your debts, and gather the paperwork needed to file.

Before you commit to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we’ll help you explore all your options. Even if you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, other types of bankruptcies might be more helpful to you or your business. We’ll be understanding but honest, and our experienced legal team will help you explore all your choices.

Bankruptcies Will Change Your Life. Make Sure You Have Experienced Support.

Bankruptcies are complex and time-consuming. Mistakes in the process can significantly affect your ability to file bankruptcy and discharge debt. That’s why it’s so important to get the right legal help from Going and Plank. Like Abraham Lincoln and Milton Hershey, you can make bankruptcy the first step to launching the next phase of your life. Contact us today to schedule your free bankruptcy consultation.

The Law Offices of Going and Plank are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy under the bankruptcy code.

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