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When an individual files a bankruptcy petition, the automatic stay prevents creditors from trying to collect debt. Generally, this means that a creditor cannot contact the individual, repossess assets, garnish wages, foreclose on property, or sue the debtor. To view which actions are prohibited by the automatic stay, click here.

However, there are limitations to the protections afforded by the automatic stay if an individual previously filed for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy Code Sections 362(c)(3) and (4) were enacted by Congress in 2005 to limit the duration of the automatic stay afforded to serial filers.

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If you are struggling financially and cannot find an easy way to pay off the debts you owe, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Jersey may be the best option for regaining control of your finances. However, before you begin the bankruptcy filing process, it is important that you consider all of the pros and cons. Filing for Chapter 13 doesn’t have to be a frightening affair but it isn’t something that should be taken lightly either. The bankruptcy process can affect your future credit, your self-image and your reputation but it can also improve your short-term quality of life. Are you considering Chapter 13 to put a stop to harassing phone calls and letters from your creditors? Be sure to weigh out the benefits and drawbacks with our experienced bankruptcy attorneys before you file.

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Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be an extremely helpful way to get back on your feet financially after you have been struggling. It allows you to “start fresh” and try again. In that process, most of your debts can be forgiven entirely, which means that those harassing phone calls and intimidating letters will stop coming. It results in significant freedom for many individuals and companies that are stressed financially.

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An involuntary bankruptcy is one that is filed by creditors and not by the person or entity that owes the money. The filing of a petition for an involuntary bankruptcy is an extreme remedy with serious consequences for both the debtor and the petitioning creditors[1]. For the creditors, if the petition is found to have been brought in bad faith, the creditors may be shouldered with paying the litigation costs of the debtor which were incurred in dismissing the case.  And of course for the debtor, it must now find a way to meet its financial obligations under the heavy hand of the Bankruptcy Court. 

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The foreclosure process can be complicated and seeking legal representation is always recommended.  Sometimes borrowers ignore the foreclosure timeline until their property is sold at a sheriff sale.  The borrower, however, should have been properly served with the notice of sale.  The sale is the last step in the foreclosure process and effectively divests the ownership interest into the sale purchaser.  What happens if the borrower seeks to save their property after the sale? This is a possibility, but places a large burden on the homeowner.   

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People often feel embarrassed or ashamed when filing for bankruptcy. However, it's more common than you would think. High profile athletes, musicians, actors and entrepreneurs regularly file for bankruptcy, often as the result of unforeseen circumstances or an unsuccessful business venture. Serious illness, family tragedy and business deals gone bad can send your life and finances into a tailspin. Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy decision, but sometimes it's the right one.

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The least explained but most important insurance in New Jersey is Uninsured and Underinsured Motorist Insurance (UM/UIM) Coverage. Insurance agents do not explain this insurance fully, leaving you potentially in trouble with not enough insurance in cases involving serious injuries.

State law in New Jersey requires that insurance companies offer Uninsured and Underinsured motorist coverage as an option up to at least $250,000 for each person and $500,000.00 covering each accident for bodily injury.  Insurance companies also have to offer a $500,000 single limit option for uninsured and underinsured motorist coverage.  You can also have these limits increased further by purchasing an umbrella policy.

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[John J. Scura III, Esq. explains how Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you save your house in four minutes]

I wanted to go over some issues with respect to Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help save a house from foreclosure:

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, primarily, is used for someone trying to save a house from foreclosure. It's probably the number one reason we use Chapter 13. I'd say, 70% to 80% of our cases are for that reason.  The Chapter 13 is a powerful legal strategy.  No matter what stage of foreclosure your house is in ... In New Jersey, you can file the Chapter 13 bankruptcy, file a plan of reorganization, and catch up on any amount you fell behind on the mortgage.

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When an individual files for bankruptcy protection, they are entitled to exempt certain property from their bankruptcy estate. The exemptions ensure that property that the debtor seeks to retain isn’t liquidated, or that a specific dollar amount is protected from being disbursed to creditors. In other words, if the exemption doesn’t cover the entire value of the property, it may be sold and the debtor will still retain the exempt amount in cash.

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It’s common that many clients surrender their real property in Chapter 7 cases, and assume that surrendering the property will alleviate any issues or obligations owed by them. Unfortunately, the term “surrender” does not automatically mean a debtor is free and clear of any responsibility concerning the real property. The act of surrendering collateral simply means that the debtor no longer intends to make the loan payments, or as stated by the First and Fourth Circuit courts “means not taking an overt act to prevent the secured creditor from foreclosing its interest in the secured property.” In re Calzadilla, 534 B.R. 216, 218 (Bankr. S.D. Fla. 2015).   However, receiving a bankruptcy discharge does eliminate the debtor’s personal obligation to repay the note and mortgage.

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