Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing in New York?

A common question I get asked by people from the Bronx, Queens, Staten Island, Brooklyn and Manhattan considering filing for personal bankruptcy is whether they should file chapter 7 or chapter 13.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically used to preserve a valuable asset, such as a house, car, or rental apartment when the debtor is past due on payment and facing a foreclosure, repo, or eviction lawsuit. In chapter 13 bankruptcy the debtor keeps making current payments as they become due and cures the past due portion over time through the chapter 13 plan.

For a debtor with no valuable asset to protect, unless his/her income is above the level where he/she fails the means test , or he/she would like to repay his/her creditors over time, it may make more sense to to file chapter 7 bankruptcy. The means test is based on average income and family size. In a prior blog post we discussed eligilibilty requirements for chapter 13 and issues and in a separate blog post discussed commonly encountered problems in NY chapter 13 cases.

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