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How to Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer in Pennsylvania

The process of filing for bankruptcy in PA (or in any state) can be an intimidating experience, especially for individuals unfamiliar with the process. Bankruptcy filings can be very tricky. Filing for bankruptcy involved a long process, and the reasons behind it vary from person to person. Although the reason behind filing for bankruptcy varies amongst individuals, in PA the process remains the same no matter the reason behind the bankruptcy filing. Although this process appears scary, it is important to remember that other people have been in the same situation and they have survived, and even thrived, after filing for bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania with the Help of a Lawyer

Many people do not realize that there are many details in the bankruptcy code which all Pennsylvania residents to keep many of their assets such as their home, a car for each adult, cash in their bank account, family heirlooms, and many other protected assets. This, all the while legally erasing their overwhelming debts.

It is important that a person gets the help of a qualified and competent bankrtupcy lawyer in Pennsylvania because if they do not follow procedures carefully, they may lose assets which they could have kept. The bankruptcy lawyer’s office will also be very helpful in guiding you through the process and helping you know which documents you need and which you do not. It takes a huge headache out of the process.

Bankruptcy Process in Pennsylviana

Before filing for bankruptcy, it is important to gain an understanding of the process. Although attorneys help people throughout the bankruptcy process, it is important to know the process so that you can ensure that your attorney is doing what is in your best interest and so that you do not become overwhelmed during the process. Bankruptcy is a legal procedure which helps individual to restructure and/or eliminate their debt. Most bankruptcy filings in PA are settled n 4 – 6 months. Depending on whether you choose to file Ch. 7 or Ch. 13 bankruptcy, you will be responsible to pay fees ranging from $274.00 – $ 299.00 to file a bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Eligibility

Once you officially file for bankruptcy, a stay is placed on all of your debt, which means creditors can no longer speak to you directly and they cannot place any new liens on your personal property. About a month after filing for bankruptcy, a 341 meeting will be held. This is a meeting of the debtor (person filing for bankruptcy) and the creditors if they choose to attend. Generally, creditors do not attend these meetings. Any objections creditors have about the proposed bankruptcy are generally handled between the creditors and the debtor’s attorney. If it is not possible for the creditors and the debtor to come to an agreement, then a judge will intervene in the process. Usually, these meetings last only a few minutes and within 4 – 6 months, the debtor’s debt will be discharged.

Bankruptcy in Pennsylvania

Are there any income requirements for filing bankruptcy in Pennsylvania?

There are not currently any income requirements in order to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  In order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will need to prove that your annual income is below the average annual income in the State of Pennsylvania.

If I am married, do I have to file with my spouse Pennsylvania?

Since Pennsylvania is not a community property state, you do not have to file for bankruptcy with your spouse.  There is however, many benefits to filing a joint petition for bankruptcy.  When filing a joint petition, you will be able to double the amount of your exemptions, and discharge joint debts.  If only one spouse is responsible for the household debt, you may wish to file a single petition in order to preserve the other spouse’s credit rating.

What are the property exemption rules in Pennsylvania?

The State of Pennsylvania does not have a specific homestead or motor vehicle exemption rule.  They do however, allow for the exemption of up to $300 in personal property, and 100% of all personal clothing, bibles, books, sewing machines, and veterans benefits.  You may choose to utilize these property exemption rules or opt for the federal exemption rules depending upon what will offer you the most benefits.

Will all of my debts be discharged as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania?

Not all debts are eligible to be discharged as part of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  In the State of Pennsylvania, only unsecured debts can be discharged as part of a bankruptcy hearing.  Unsecured debts are those which do not utilize collateral in order to secure the debt.  Some examples of unsecured debts are:

-credit cards

-medical bills

-utility bills

-unsecured loans

-store credit cards

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