Who Are We?
Our firm is composed of experienced Pennsylvania Bankruptcy attorneys who regularly file bankruptcies for people who need debt relief in Pennsylvania's Western and Middle Federal District District courts for debtors who live in McKean, Potter, and Tioga County, Pennsylvania.
We serve the communities of Coudersport, Galeton, Shinglehouse, West Branch, Smethport, Port Allegany, Bradford, Roulette and Wellsboro.
The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
A Chapter 7 discharge refers to the successful removal of unsecured debts like credit card debt, medical bills, most personal loans, judgments resulting from car accidents, deficiencies on repossessed vehicles, some older tax debts, payday loans and wage garnishments.
How Long Does a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case Take?
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases move quickly. It’s possible that you could receive your discharge within three to four months unless there are complicating issues.
Steps to Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Qualifying to File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Mandatory Credit Counseling Before Filing
Filing Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Mandatory Debtor Education Course
Chapter 7 Debt Discharge
Qualifying to File For a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
When people think of bankruptcy in Pennsylvania, they typically think in terms of Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in most cases a bankrupt person's unsecured debts are wiped out. In a minority of cases if all of the assets cannot be protected through allowable exemptions, some property might have to be surrendered. Our attorneys will do everything possible to avoid surrendering any of your personal property.
Since October, 2005 the bankruptcy code was amended to include a two-part test to determine if a debtor qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
1. Ability to Repay - The debtor's income is examined under a formula which exempts certain necessary expenses, such as food and rent, to determine if the debtor will be able to repay 25% of his or her "nonpriority unsecured debt".
2. State Median Income - The debtor's income is compared to the median state income.
If the debtor earns in excess of the state median income, and is able to repay 25% of his or her "nonpriority unsecured debt", the debtor will be ineligible for Chapter 7 protection and must proceed under Chapter 13. If the debtor's income is below the state median income the you meet this criteria for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Can All Debt Be Discharged?
Certain debts are classified as “non-dischargeable” debts, which means they can’t be discharged or can only be discharged under special circumstances like child support, most student loans and many tax debts.
The Role of The Chapter 7 Trustee
In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee is appointed by the bankruptcy court. The Trustee ensures that your creditors are paid as much as possible of what you owe to them. The Trustee makes money by identifying assets that can be sold.
You will attend a 341 Creditor's Meeting about 6 weeks after filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania. At this meeting, the Trustee will put you under oath and ask you questions about the Petition that your filed and your income, assets and debts. In most cases, the creditors' meeting lasts about five minutes.
The trustee categorizes the debtor's property as "exempt" or "non-exempt." Once this categorization process is complete, following the creditors' meeting, the trustee will collect the debtor's nonexempt property. The non-exempt property is then sold or liquidated, with the proceeds used to pay off the debtor's unsecured creditors. In most cases there is no non-exempt property and so no liquidation occurs. Our experienced attorneys at Ross & Ross, LLC will do everything they can to help you keep all of your property while making sure your unsecured debt goes away.
From offices in Coudersport, Potter County, Pennsylvania, Ross and Ross, LLC serves the personal injury, bankruptcy, social security disability, divorce and family law needs of Western, Northwestern, Central and North Central Pennsylvania including the communities of Coudersport, Galeton, Shinglehouse, West Branch, Smethport, Port Allegany, Bradford, Roulette and Wellsboro, as well as Potter County, McKean County, Tioga County, Bradford County and other areas of Western PA and Central PA.
* Federal law requires the following disclosure: We are a debt relief agency helping people file for relief through bankruptcy under the bankruptcy code.
** There are other types of bankruptcies. Chapter 11 is for businesses and chapter 12 applies to farms.