Most people in New Jersey are hardworking individuals who are dedicated to ensuring that all of their obligations — including their financial ones — are met. Unfortunately, some people may experience unforeseen circumstances, such as the loss of a job or an illness or injury, that may impact their ability to meet these financial obligations. For these people, Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be a viable option.

A person seeking such protection must provide a great deal of information to the court, after passing a means test. First, a petition must be filed. Additionally, several other filings are necessary, including information on unexpired leases, executory contracts, a statement of financial affairs, a list of current expenditures and income as well as a list of assets and liabilities. A person with mainly consumer debts must provide even more information, including a certificate of credit counseling and evidence of payment from employers for the previous 60 days.

Many people who have been overwhelmed with debt have also experienced harassment from those trying to collect on their debt. Fortunately, filing for bankruptcy initiates an automatic stay. This prevents collection agencies and other debt collectors from taking action against the petitioners, including preventing phone calls, lawsuits and wage garnishment. Using the list of creditors provided by the petitioner, the bankruptcy clerk will provide them a notice of the stay.

Unfortunately, those who are considering seeking Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection may already be feeling a great deal of stress. Because an oversight could mean the difference between a successful and unsuccessful petition, many who are struggling with debt in New Jersey seek guidance from an experienced legal professional. Often, an initial meeting is the first step toward a resolution that will result in a clean financial slate.