A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can provide much-needed relief to individuals struggling with overwhelming debt. However, the cost of filing can be a significant barrier for those who have limited financial resources. The good news is that it is possible to file for Chapter 7 with no money upfront.
The Macco Law Group, LLP is a law firm based in Long Island, New York that offers a free initial consultation to individual clients seeking legal advice on bankruptcy, debt relief, and other related matters. With our extensive knowledge and expertise in bankruptcy law, the attorneys at Macco Law Group, LLP are dedicated to providing personalized and effective legal solutions to their clients in Nassau County and Suffolk County. Our firm understands the stress and uncertainty that can come with financial difficulties and strives to guide clients through the bankruptcy process with compassion and professionalism.
Here are how the Long Island bankruptcy attorneys at Macco Law Group, LLP can help you file for this type of bankruptcy with no money.
Determine Your Eligibility
Before starting the bankruptcy process, our local bankruptcy lawyers will help you determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To qualify, you must pass a means test, which compares your income to the median income in your state. If your income is below the state median, you are eligible. If your income is above the median, our Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers will help you determine if you meet additional requirements.
Obtain a Fee Waiver
In addition to legal fees and other typical fees, there are court fees associated with filing for bankruptcy. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer from Macco Law Group, LLP will assist you in obtaining a filing fee waiver or possibly a waived debtor education course fee if you cannot afford to pay. We will file an application with the bankruptcy court and provide documentation of your financial situation to help you qualify. Bankruptcy judges will review your financial situation and determine whether you qualify for a fee waiver.
To request a fee waiver, you will need to file an application with the bankruptcy court that details your financial situation, including your household income, expenses, assets, and debts. The court will review your application and determine whether you qualify for waived fees based on the information you provide.
To be eligible for a fee waiver, you must show that you are unable to pay the bankruptcy fees based on your current income and expenses. The court will again use a means test to determine whether you meet this requirement. The means test considers your expenses, including housing, utilities, food, transportation, and other necessary living expenses.
It’s important to note that even if your fees are waived, you will still need to provide all necessary financial information to the court and attend credit counseling before filing for bankruptcy. Working with our experienced bankruptcy lawyers can help you navigate the process and increase your chances of a successful outcome.
Gather Your Financial Documents
To file for bankruptcy, you will need to provide detailed financial information to the court. Our attorneys will help you gather all relevant bankruptcy paperwork, such as pay stubs, tax returns, bank statements, and credit card statements. If you are missing any bankruptcy forms or documents, we can help you obtain them from the issuing institution.
Attend Credit Counseling
Before filing for bankruptcy, you must attend a credit counseling course with an approved agency. Our bankruptcy lawyers can refer you to an agency and guide you through the process. The agency will provide you with a certificate of completion, which you will need to include with your bankruptcy petition.
File Your Bankruptcy Petition
Once you have gathered all necessary documents and completed credit counseling, our attorneys will prepare your bankruptcy petition and file it with the bankruptcy court. The court will issue an automatic stay, which stops all collection activities against you. This means that creditors cannot contact you or pursue legal action against you while your bankruptcy case is pending.
You Can Use Exemptions to Protect Your Property
One of the primary concerns individuals have when filing for bankruptcy is losing their property. However, in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can use exemptions to protect certain types of property. Exemptions allow you to keep a certain amount of equity in your property, such as your home, car, and personal belongings. In many cases, individuals are able to keep all of their property by using exemptions.
It is important to note that exemptions do not apply to secured debts, such as mortgages or car loans. If a debtor wants to keep their secured property, they must continue to make their payments on those debts. However, in some cases, a debtor may be able to negotiate a reaffirmation agreement with the creditor, which allows them to keep their property in exchange for continuing to make payments on the debt.
Bankruptcy Can Eliminate Most Unsecured Debt
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed to eliminate most unsecured debt, such as credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans. Unsecured debts are debts that are not backed by collateral or property, such as credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans. This can provide significant relief to individuals who are struggling to make ends meet. By eliminating their debt, individuals may be able to regain control of their finances and start rebuilding their credit.
It is important to note not all debts can be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Certain types of debts, such as taxes, student loans, and child support payments, are generally not dischargeable. Additionally, if an individual has secured debts, such as a mortgage or car loan, they may have to surrender the property to the creditor or continue making payments to keep the property.
Bankruptcy Can Stop Wage Garnishments
If a creditor has obtained a wage garnishment against you, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stop the garnishment immediately. The automatic stay issued by the court stops all collection activities, including wage garnishments.
The automatic stay remains in effect throughout the bankruptcy process, providing temporary relief to the debtor from the financial pressure of wage garnishments. In some cases, the debtor may be able to discharge the underlying debt that led to the wage garnishment in the first place, eliminating the need for future wage garnishments.
However, it is important to note that not all types of wage garnishments can be stopped by filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For example, wage garnishments for child support, spousal support, or certain types of tax debts may not be affected by the automatic stay.
Bankruptcy Can Stop Evictions and Foreclosures
If you are facing eviction or foreclosure, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can stop these actions and give you time to catch up on your payments. However, it is important to note that bankruptcy may not be the best option for individuals who are behind on their mortgage or rent payments, as it does not provide a long-term solution for these types of debts.
In the case of eviction, the automatic stay can temporarily halt the eviction process, but the landlord can still file a motion to lift the stay and proceed with the eviction if they have a valid reason, such as endangerment to other tenants or damage to the property. Similarly, in the case of a foreclosure, the automatic stay can temporarily halt the foreclosure process, but the lender can file a motion to lift the stay and proceed with the foreclosure if the debtor is not able to catch up on their payments or negotiate a repayment plan.
It’s important to consult with a local bankruptcy lawyer from Macco Law Group, LLP to determine if Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right option for your situation and to explore other potential options for addressing your housing-related debts.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Can Provide a Fresh Start
Finally, one of the most significant benefits of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that it can provide a fresh start. By eliminating your debt and allowing you to keep certain types of property, Chapter 7 bankruptcy can give you a clean slate and allow you to move forward with your life. With the help of a bankruptcy attorney and careful financial planning, you can rebuild your credit and regain control of your finances.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a complex and challenging process, but it is possible to do it with no money upfront. By hiring Macco Law Group, LLP for your legal services, obtaining a fee waiver, and following the other steps outlined above, you can successfully file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and obtain relief from more debt. However, filing for Chapter 7 can also have long-term consequences, such as a negative impact on credit scores and difficulty obtaining credit in the future. Therefore, it is important to carefully consider all options and consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer at Macco Law Group, LLP before deciding to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.