The vast majority of people in New Jersey and across the country are hard workers, dedicated to providing for themselves and their families and meeting their financial responsibilities. Unfortunately, even these people can become overwhelmed with debt, potentially prompting them to seek information regarding their options. For some, the best choice is to seek Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.

Reports indicate that between Oct. 2005 to Sept. 2017, approximately 12.8 millions consumers sought bankruptcy protection in federal court. There are a variety of different factors that could have led these petitioners to seek such action. One of the most commons reasons — cited in over 66% of cases according to a study by the American Journal of Public Health — is medical debt. An unexpected medical incident can result in thousands of dollars in bills. Additionally, those who are unable to work due to their condition may quickly use up their savings, causing them to sink further into debt.

Other factors include the person’s age. People over the age of 55 often suffer financially as a result of decreased income, increased medical issues and using their assets to help family members. Additionally, the area in which a person lives could potentially play a role; for example, those who live in an area with a higher cost of living can get behind on rent or taxes more quickly in comparison to other areas. Though they cannot typically be discharged in a bankruptcy filing, student loans can also create a significant financial burden. 

For many people in New Jersey, Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the best option to seek a clean financial slate. If a petition is successful, it is a relatively fast option that allows a petitioner to discharge all of his or her unsecured debt. An attorney with experience with the process can help those overwhelmed with their debt understand these options and determine whether they are an appropriate choice.