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How a Bankruptcy Lawyer in PA Can Help You With Your Case



By:Mike Cibik


Filing for Bankruptcy Does Happen

We have all heard terrible myths about filing for bankruptcy, such as it’s a horrible experience and it scars you for life. These could not be farther from the truth. Yes, bankruptcy is an unpleasant experience, but the attorney you choose have the ability to make your experience a good one. In our practice, we have helped thousands of clients understand what it truly means to file for bankruptcy. There was a time where many people were filing solely because of the economy. Now, there are many reasons why people file for bankruptcy, such as:


  • To Stop a Foreclosure – No wants to see their home taken over by the bank. When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay stops the foreclosure. It can give you time to catch up on payments with a payment plan.


  • Reduced Income Due to a Lay Off – Sometimes when are you’re laid off, it is hard to find a job at the same salary. You might have to take a job that pays less, affecting your lifestyle.


  • Medical Bills – When you or a family member gets ill or in an accident, medical bills can pile up, and you have used up your savings to pay them. When you have run out of money and you can’t pay your regular bills, bankruptcy is the only choice.


  • Divorce – This causes a reduction in a household income, and delinquencies can occur. A fresh start is needed to get used to the new budget.


The Bankruptcy Process in PA

Since bankruptcy is under federal law, there are few differences between states. However, in Pennsylvania, the median income is lower than in New Jersey. So, the means that you could file for Chapter 7 in Pennsylvania whereas in New Jersey, you would have to file a Chapter 13. Also, Pennsylvania allows you to choose state or federal exemptions (you can’t mix the two). Also, you do not have to attend the hearing.


Your Pennsylvania bankruptcy lawyer should make the entire bankruptcy process easy. There is a lot of paperwork, so it is important to know what you have to fill out and what documents to bring with you. At Cibik & Cataldo, we offer a free consultation to provide the information and bankruptcy tips needed before, during and after the bankruptcy. Here the steps of the bankruptcy process:


First Step: Choosing how to file. Will you file as a single, a married individual or as a married couple? You can file for just yourself and not include your spouse. You will need to provide documentation that you have gone through credit counseling.


Second Step: Choosing state or federal exemptions. We’ll sit down with you to make a list of your property from your home to work tools. We know the when the values will change and how to calculate them.


Third Step: Determining the dischargeable debts. These include credit card debt, past-due rent, medical bills and veteran assistance loans. We’ll also tell what you can’t discharge, such as alimony, child support, and student loans.


Fourth Step: Filing the paperwork. There are filing fees: $335 for a Chapter 7 and $310 for a Chapter 13. Once we file, the automatic stay is in effect. This means creditors can’t go after you and the foreclosure on your home is stopped.


Fifth Step: You will then be assigned a trustee by the bankruptcy court and the paperwork is mailed to this person. The trustee administers the bankruptcy estate, sells your assets and property, and interviews you in the hearing. (You do not have to go to the hearing for a Chapter 7.)


In a Chapter 13, you propose a payment plan and get it approved. You will make payments to the trustee and he or she will allocate payments. Also, with a Chapter 13, you must attend the confirmation hearing. The first payment is due 30 days after you file, so it is in your best interest to have a draft created for us to review.


Within 60 days of the hearing, you will have to go through “pre-discharge debtor education” through an approved company. This is different than the credit counseling you must go through 180 days before filing.


Within two to three months after the hearing, if you have passed the credit counseling program you will be discharged.


Let Cibik & Cataldo Help You File

Going through a bankruptcy is stressful. It’s easy to lose sight of the big picture. Cibik & Cataldo wants to help you get the fresh start you need, so you can get your life back. We are happy to meet you at your home, or you can visit our office in Philadelphia. Contact us today at (215) 735-1060.


Bankruptcy Law Awards/Associations

We are a debt relief agency that helps people
seek bankruptcy protection under federal law