WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHAPTER 7 AND CHAPTER 13?

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1 NEW JERSEY BANKRUPTCY WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHAPTER 7 AND CHAPTER 13? Because the Difference Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Can Have Serious Consequences for a Client Who Files the Wrong Case, You Want a Bankruptcy Attorney Who Is Well Versed in Both Chapters TRAVIS J. RICHARDS SOUTH NEW JERSEY BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY

2 When you are considering whether to file for bankruptcy relief, you are probably not thinking about the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. You are more focused on whether you should file for bankruptcy and how filing a bankruptcy will affect your finances now and in the future. Filing a bankruptcy is a huge decision and one that you should not make without first consulting an experienced bankruptcy attorney who has expertise filing both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 cases. An attorney who tries to fit every client into one type of bankruptcy is not taking the best interests of his clients to heart. Because the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 can have serious consequences for a client who files the wrong case, you want a bankruptcy attorney who is well versed in both chapters. Travis J. Richards meets with each of his clients personally to discuss their financial situation so that he can offer his best legal advice to each client. That might mean you should file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy or that you may want to pursue other options to resolve your debt problems. SIMILARITIES BETWEEN CHAPTER 7 AND CHAPTER 13 Before we go over the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, we will look at some of the similarities between the two chapters.

3 Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Under both chapters of bankruptcy, you will be required to take a credit counseling course prior to filing bankruptcy. You will also be required to take a debtor education course after the bankruptcy case is filed in order to receive your discharge (the discharge is the reason you filed bankruptcy). The courses do provide some valuable information that debtors can use as they begin to rebuild their finances. Bankruptcy Automatic Stay When you file a bankruptcy case, an automatic stay goes into effect that prohibits creditors from taking further action to collect the debt. This puts an end to harassing telephone calls, threatening letters and angry bill collectors. The automatic stay also prevents creditors from beginning or continuing any lawsuits as well as repossessing or foreclosing on your property. First Meeting of Creditors Debtors under both chapters of bankruptcy are required to attend a hearing to submit testimony about their case to the trustee. It is a very short meeting (less than five minutes) and simply gives the trustee an opportunity to ask any questions he or she may have about your filing. Cannot Sell or Transfer Any Assets When you file a bankruptcy case, you are prohibited from selling or otherwise disposing of any property during your bankruptcy proceeds without first obtaining permission from the bankruptcy court.

4 THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CHAPTER 7 AND CHAPTER 13 First, Chapter 7 bankruptcies are considered liquidation bankruptcies. What this means for the debtor is that if he or she owns any property that is nonexempt, the Trustee may seize the asset, sell it and use the money to pay the creditors. Chapter 7 cases are known as liquidation or straight bankruptcies because the non-exempt property is liquidated by the trustee to pay the creditors. However, in 99% of all Chapter 7 cases that are filed, the debtors keep all of their property while discharging thousands and thousands of dollars in debt. A Chapter 13 trustee will not seize your assets but he or she will require you to add the value of the item to the amount you pay your unsecured creditors. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you will be required to make monthly payments to the trustee for five years. The payments are based on your income, expenses, debts and assets as well as other financial information. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are called wage-earner plans because you must have a steady income in order to qualify for a Chapter 13 case. Most people wonder why anyone would choose a Chapter 13 over a Chapter 7 when most people keep their property in a Chapter 7 while getting rid of their debts.

5 The simple answer is that some people do not qualify to file a Chapter 7 case. In order to file a Chapter 7 case, you must meet the income requirements according to the means test. If you do not meet the income requirements, you cannot file a Chapter 7 case. Even though a Chapter 13 cases lasts much longer than a Chapter 7 case (5 years vs. 6 months), there are things that you can accomplish through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that you cannot with a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Save your home or car by paying the past due payments through the bankruptcy plan Pay taxes over five years with less (or no) interest and without penalty Avoid going to jail for back child support or alimony because you can pay those debts through the bankruptcy plan as well Protect non-exempt assets from the court and your creditors Pay your attorney s fees through the plan GOALS OF FILING BANKRUPTCY Both chapters of bankruptcy help you achieve your ultimate goal for filing bankruptcy a discharge of debts in order to have a fresh start to rebuild your finances. To eliminate your debt is the ultimate goal of any bankruptcy. Please call our office to schedule a free consultation if you have questions about filing a bankruptcy. We are here to help you resolve your debt problems quickly, and with as little stress as possible.

6 SCHEDULE A FREE CONSULTATION WITH AN EXPERIENCED NEW JERSEY BANKRUPTCY ATTORNEY You can eliminate your debts and, in most cases, keep your property by filing for bankruptcy relief. We understand that you may be experiencing fear about losing assets if you file bankruptcy. However, we can explain why you can keep your property and still find relief from your debts. By helping you choose the right bankruptcy chapter for your financial situation, Travis J. Richards helps you get a fresh start while protecting your interests. Travis J. Richards and his staff are here to assist you with your financial problems. We focus our services on bankruptcy, debt consolidation and credit repair. We offer free bankruptcy consultations during normal business hours as well as on weekends and after-hours. Call our office at or use our convenient online contact form to schedule an appointment today.

7 About the Author Travis J. Richards Travis Richards is not your typical attorney. He understands the random curve balls life throws at honest, hard-working people. Growing up on a farm in Southampton, New Jersey, money didn t always come easy for many of his family, friends and neighbors. He saw that bad things often happen to good people. This background shaped his approach to the practice of law. Mr. Richards considers it a privilege to help clients from all walks of life recover from financial hardship. In doing so, he aims to provide every client with the same service he would provide a member of his own family. His mission is to get to know each client individually and provide the best legal advice possible for them to regain control of their lives. Over the past decade I have impacted the lives of hundreds of individuals and families in an extremely positive way, he says. Through bankruptcy I am able to show my clients a freedom that they thought impossible to achieve My goal is not only wipe out the debt they have accumulated, but also help make sure they will never be in a situation to need my services again. Mr. Richards has helped hundreds of individuals eliminate debt, keep their property and return to financial stability. He strongly believes that Bankruptcy gives deserving individuals a second chance. Mr. Richards graduated with honors from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey, where he majored in history. In 1999, he graduated with honors from Rutgers School of Law in Camden, New Jersey. He was admitted to the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Bar in 1999, where he is licensed to practice law before the United States District Courts. Mr. Richards specializes in bankruptcy, mortgage loan modification work, debtor's rights, and credit card negotiations. He maintains memberships in the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, the Burlington County Bar Association, the New Jersey State Bar Association, the Pennsylvania State Bar Association, and the American Bankruptcy Institute. The Law Office of Travis J. Richards, LLC 141 High Street Mount Holly, NJ Phone: Fax: Website: njbankruptcyinformation.com

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