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Bankruptcy FAQs

What exactly is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that allows people who can no longer afford to pay their debts to get to cancel and not pay their debts or to create a repayment plan over 3 to 5 years in order to discharge the debt. The attorney will meet with you to review and discuss your detailed financial circumstances so he may outline your best options.

Should I file bankruptcy with my spouse?

Often, this can be determined during your first meeting with the attorney. Are most of your debts held individually or jointly? What does the household income and expenses look like? What assets are held jointly? Are you homeowners? Are both of you listed on the Note, Deed and Mortgage? These are some of the questions that will assist us in answering this question for you.

Should I file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Many detailed factors are used to determine what Chapter you are best suited for. Some of those factors include monthly household income from all sources, household expenses, assets and other considerations that the attorney will use in analyzing your eligibility.

Am I eligible to file bankruptcy?

People are often “eligible” to file bankruptcy, but what Chapter to file under and if it is the best strategy given your financial circumstances is something best to discuss directly with an experienced attorney. Call our office today to schedule a free 1-hour, no obligation consultation.

Can I keep my financed car if I file bankruptcy?

This depends on your ability to continue making payments on the auto loan. Let's discuss this during your free consultation. Call us today to schedule!

Can I keep any of my credit cards during or after bankruptcy?

Unfortunately, no. The purpose of filing a bankruptcy proceeding is to obtain a fresh start financially. Keeping a credit card through bankruptcy is not a good decision. New Jersey Bankruptcy Judges will not allow it.

How will filing a bankruptcy help me?

The true purpose of a bankruptcy is to obtain a fresh start financially at the end of the case regardless of Chapter. Bankruptcy can help to eliminate old debts or judgments that you are no longer able able to pay.  Bankruptcy is a very useful tool for honest people like yourself who need fresh financial beginnings for reasons often beyond their control such as job loss, medical problems or divorce.  Let's talk today about whether bankruptcy makes sense for you. Call us today to schedule your free 1-hour, no obligation consultation.

Can I stop a sheriff's sale by filing bankruptcy?

The short answer is yes, but this is only a temporary solution. Let's work together to find a permanent one. Call us today to schedule your free 1-hour, no obligation consultation.

Do I have to go to Court if I file bankruptcy?

Before the Covid-19 pandemic that began in 2020, all debtors (regardless of Chapter) were required to attend an in-person trustee meeting at the Bankruptcy Courthouse in Trenton, Newark or Camden (based on their residential location). Now, these meetings are being held by video or telephonically. You can come to my office and we can both attend the meeting together.

How long after bankruptcy will my credit start to improve?

You will notice that you start to get credit offers almost immediately after your case is discharged. Making timely, monthly payments and keeping low balances will help to improve your credit score. We recommend clients use their best judgment as to when to obtain credit again after receiving a bankruptcy discharge.

Can a creditor arrest me if I do not pay my bill?

No. Pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, a creditor cannot “. . . use or threat of use of violence or other criminal means to harm the physical person, reputation, or property of any person.” Know your rights by visiting the Federal Trade Commission website at .

Should I try to use a debt consolidation or management company before filing bankruptcy?

That is a decision only you and/or your spouse is able to make. Keep in mind, a debt consolidation cannot prevent collection efforts such as wage garnishments, bank levies or foreclosures.

How long does a bankruptcy filing stay on my credit report?

Typically, a bankruptcy remains on your credit report for approximately 8-10 years. While this is not ideal, you can begin to rebuild your credit worthiness and history in the meantime.

Can I include my tax debt in my bankruptcy?

This depends on factors such as when the tax was due, when your taxes were filed and assessed and other complex factors. Let's discuss your tax dischargeability today. Call our office to schedule your free 1-hour, no obligation consultation.

Can I include my insurance surcharges in my bankruptcy?

Often, insurance surcharges can be discharged in Chapter 7 or paid back a small percentage in a Chapter 13 plan over 3-5 years.

Should I file bankruptcy before or after my divorce?

This is a very complex answer that requires a careful interview between you and the attorney. Many details such as joint debts or other obligations, the marital home and other financial obligations will assist the attorney in advising you. It does not hurt to take advantage of our free 1-hour, no obligation consultation to help you make this decision. Call us today to schedule.

How long does it take to file a bankruptcy?

Depending on whether or not you are about to lose a home or other property, our office can get initial bankruptcy paperwork filed within a few hours. You will then be given 10-14 days by the Judge to file more detailed and/or missing paperwork. If you do not file them on time, then your case may be dismissed and you would lose the bankruptcy court's automatic stay.

How long does it take for a wage garnishment to stop after filing bankruptcy?

A wage garnishment must stop as soon as a bankruptcy case is filed. This usually takes 2-3 days after your attorney sends the bankruptcy notice to the attorney for the creditor, the sheriff and/or court officer who is collecting money.

Can my garnished pay be returned after I file a bankruptcy?

If your money is still in the hands of the sheriff or court officer, yes. Additionally, you may be able to get back money taken but not yet turned over to your creditor who holds the judgment.

How might filing bankruptcy affect my taxes?

If debt is discharged in bankruptcy, it is not considered to be income for the forgiveness of debt so you do not pick up any extra income. Bankruptcy can help eliminate tax debt that is more than 3 years old and where an honest tax return has been filed. There are other requirements that you must satisfy in order to discharge tax debt. After you file a bankruptcy, you must prove to a bankruptcy judge that you have filed all necessary tax returns.

Is Chapter 7 right for me?

A Chapter 7 is generally for people who have no assets or assets that are not worth more than the total amount of the exemptions and are below the median income for their state.


Initial meetings with an attorney should be more than a “meet and greet” session. Often, real progress toward a possible solution can be made. Your first consultation with Bill Wolfson is offered free of charge. We invite you to schedule it today so that you can get immediate answers to your most pressing questions.