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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and How It Works in Bucks County

Uncategorized Feb 13, 2024

 Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a legal process that provides a lifeline for individuals overwhelmed by debt, offering a fresh start by discharging eligible debts. Learn how Chapter 7 bankruptcy works in Bucks County if you want to improve your financial situation.

What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as "liquidation" or "straight" bankruptcy, is meant to eliminate most unsecured debts. It's the quickest, simplest form of bankruptcy, making it a popular choice for individuals unable to meet their debt obligations.

The Process:

  1. Filing the Petition: The process begins with filing a bankruptcy petition in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of PA serving Bucks County. This petition includes detailed documentation of debts, assets, income, and expenses.
  2. Automatic Stay: Immediately upon filing, an automatic stay goes into effect, halting creditors' collection attempts, foreclosures, and repossessions.
  3. The Bankruptcy Trustee: The court appoints a bankruptcy trustee to oversee your case. The trustee's role is to review your assets and financial affairs and to liquidate non-exempt assets to pay creditors.
  4. Meeting of Creditors: Also known as the 341 meeting, this is a mandatory meeting where creditors can question the debtor about debts and assets. However, it's rare for creditors to attend these meetings.
  5. Asset Liquidation: If you have non-exempt assets, the trustee may sell them to pay off creditors. In Bucks County, as in the rest of Pennsylvania, certain assets are protected under Federal exemptions and PA state exemption laws, allowing most filers to retain essential property.
  6. Discharge of Debts: Approximately 60 to 90 days after the meeting of creditors, most unsecured debts are discharged, meaning you are no longer legally required to pay them.

Pennsylvania Exemptions

Understanding the exemptions allowed under Pennsylvania law is vital. Exemptions determine what assets you can keep through the bankruptcy process.

Pennsylvania allows filers to choose between state exemptions and federal exemptions. This choice can significantly impact the outcome of your case, particularly in terms of what property you can retain. Commonly, PA exemptions are used to protect marital assets owned by both husband and wife while Federal exemptions cover a certain amount of equity in your home, personal property, retirement accounts, and vehicles up to a certain value.

Considerations for Bucks County Residents

For Bucks County residents, local court procedures and the disposition of local trustees add a layer of nuance to the bankruptcy process. Working with a bankruptcy attorney familiar with the local legal landscape is invaluable. A lawyer can help with important decisions, like choosing between state and federal exemptions and understanding local court processes.

Life After Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

While Chapter 7 bankruptcy can offer a fresh start, it's also a significant financial event with long-term implications. It remains on your credit report for 10 years. However, most clients find that getting rid of debt through Chapter 7 bankruptcy helps them recover financially faster than they thought. Generally, this type of bankruptcy will provide an opportunity to rebuild credit for most clients who have poor credit when filing for Chapter 7.

Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney

Chapter 7 bankruptcy represents a path to relief for those drowning in debt. In Bucks County, understanding the specifics of how this process works locally is crucial.

I am a bankruptcy lawyer who helps clients understand and feel confident during the bankruptcy process. Every financial situation is different. Talking to an experienced lawyer can help you make the right choice for your future.


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