Bankruptcy laws are universal across the nation because it is a legal proceeding which is governed by federal laws. However depending on the state you reside in, state laws may also affect you during a bankruptcy procedure. If you are considering performing a bankruptcy Bethlehem, PA filing, it is important to understand how local state laws may affect your overall outcome.
Filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania is much like filing in any other state, the difference is that the exemptions at the state level differ than those at the federal level. At the state level your assets such as a home or car are not protected, however if you file using federal exemptions, you can protect those assets under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy Bethlehem, PA filing.
Understanding the process in Bethlehem, PA
In Bethlehem, PA the process of filing bankruptcy is similar to elsewhere within the country. You must first file a petition to discharge your debts under either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Prior to your discharge being granted, you will have to partake in credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency or debt consolidation company. The agency you select to do your counseling with must be approved by the U.S. Trustee’s office. Once you have completed the counseling, the agency will grant you a certificate as proof of completion. Credit counseling helps you organize a repayment plan as well as explore other options that may be preferable to filing for bankruptcy.
Means Test for prospective filers
After you have received your certificate from a bankruptcy Bethlehem, PA you will need to complete a means test to determine your eligibility to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. According to the 2005 Bankruptcy Act, the courts will look at your income levels for the six months preceding your bankruptcy filing. If it is determined that your gross income is below the median for Pennsylvania, you will be able to file for Chapter 7. However if your income exceeds the median, you may not be able to qualify for debt discharge under Chapter 7 and instead, you will have to do a debt restructuring under Chapter 13.
Whichever bankruptcy you choose to file, it is best to have the guidance and experience of a skilled and knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer by your side. Your bankruptcy lawyer will be able to inform you of the rules and regulations in Pennsylvania as well as federal laws that pertain to you. Ultimately once the process is over, you will have a reduction in your overall debt load and a fresh financial beginning.