Ask Our Bankruptcy Lawyer in Buffalo, NY

Our Bankruptcy Attorney Can Answer Your Questions About Credit Card Debt Relief, the Means Test & More!

What is bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy refers to when a person cannot repay the debts he or she owes to creditors.  
Why should I file for bankruptcy?
If your debt has become unmanageable, it’s time to consider filing for bankruptcy. However, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney before making this decision. Attorneys can provide legal expertise regarding if and how you should file. 
Why do I need a bankruptcy attorney?
You aren’t legally required to have a bankruptcy attorney, but bankruptcy law is complex, and most often it is in your best interest to have an experienced lawyer on your side. Bankruptcy attorneys are well-versed in your state’s bankruptcy law and can walk you through every step of the process.  
What do I need to begin the bankruptcy filing process?
You must begin by filing your official petition. This includes providing a full list of your creditors and amounts owed; your income source(s), amounts and frequency; all the property you own; and a detailed list of your monthly living expenses. We can help you in gathering the information you need.
What is the difference between filing for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
There are two types of bankruptcy you can file for: liquidation or reorganization. Not everyone qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. In order to file for Chapter 7, you must earn less than the median income in your state or pass the “means test.”
What’s a “means test”?
In order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to pass the New York State means test. The "means test" is a complicated calculation based on the last six months of your income in which allowable expenses are deducted to determine whether you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
When are you exempt from the “means test”?
If your income is below the New York median for your household size, your debts are not primarily consumer debts, or you are a disabled veteran and acquired the majority of your debt during active duty. 
If I’m married, does my spouse have to file for bankruptcy too? 
No. But if you are married, you have to decide whether filing for joint bankruptcy or individual bankruptcy is a better option. A bankruptcy attorney can assist you with determining which scenario is more advantageous for your household. 
Will filing for bankruptcy eliminate all of my debts?
No. Filing for bankruptcy eliminates most debts, but not all. Exceptions include student loans, alimony and child support, recent taxes, etc.
How will bankruptcy affect my credit?
Chances are, by the time you have considered filing bankruptcy, your credit score has been negatively impacted. Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy often has the affect of improving your credit score within the first year as a result of debt being erased.
How can you improve your credit score after filing for bankruptcy? 
Keep in mind that you can always rebuild your credit score by building a positive payment history. After repaying your debts, it’s crucial to reestablish your credit as soon as possible. Start by applying for secured credit cards, retail store credit cards, or car loans. 
How long does bankruptcy stay on my record?
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, it will remain on your record for seven to ten years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain on your record for less than seven years.
What are my alternatives to filing for bankruptcy?
Beware of "for profit" credit counseling or debt consolidation companies. The fees are often high and must be paid before any debts are paid. Be sure you understand what such companies can and cannot do for you. Specifically, you will have no legal protection from your creditors who may continue to sue you or take other collection actions against you.
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