There is a bit of strategy involved in whether you should file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 in a case like this, so it is important that you hire an experienced bankruptcy lawyer to assess how your case should be handled and what you can expect to accomplish in your bankruptcy case. The discussion with your bankruptcy attorney will be a big factor in your decision as to which Chapter or type of bankruptcy case is in your best interest under your particular circumstances.

Since there are so many factors that have to be considered, it would be best for you to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney. My 30+ years of legal experience and my 25+ years involved in consumer bankruptcy cases – many involving personal injury cases – can give you confidence in our recommendations regarding the intersection of your personal injury case and your bankruptcy case.

If you are interested in learning more about how we can help with your bankruptcy matter if you have a pending personal injury claim, give our office a call at 732-302-9600 or fill out our online consultation form and we will call you!

The quick answer is YES, New Jersey EZ-PASS debts and the associated “Penalties” are dischargeable.  Many attorneys may respond that these debts are not dischargeable as fines to government entities are not dischargeable and as you may already know, if you fail to pay an EZ-PASS toll of $1.50, the State of New will assess a $50.00 penalty against the $1.50 that you owe.

However, not too long ago the New Jersey Attorney General found that the $50.00 penalty that most of us thought was a fine, was not in fact a fine but was, as the New Jersey Attorney General found, was the cost of collecting the missed/avoided toll.  So based upon the finding that the penalties assessed against the missed/avoided tolls was not a “fine,” the toll and the associated penalty became dischargeable.

The answer — just like many other answers in the law is — it depends.

A personal injury settlement can be protected up to a certain amount of money with its own personal injury exemption and sometimes additional settlement or court awarded funds can be protected with leftover “wildcard” exemption.  This means that the amount of exemptions available to apply against the award or settlement amount is going to be key. We will be able to protect some of it, maybe even all of it in some settlements, with the following caveat: If you have a fairly large settlement coming your way from a personal injury case some, your creditors may get paid some or all of the debt owed them with our office protecting as much as we can given the available exemptions. The bottom line is: We can protect some amount of the award or settlement from your personal injury case.  In some instances we can protect it all.  In other cases we can protect some portion of it even when you are going to have to pay some of it into your bankruptcy case for payment to your creditors.

Read our comprehensive article on this subject matter and contact us if we can help you with your bankruptcy questions.

A frequently asked question from potential bankruptcy filers is “can I keep my car?”  Now… assuming that the car in question is not a Porsche 911 that is fully paid for, keeping the car will not likely be a problem.  Most of the time, my potential bankruptcy clients have an income issue and are driving a modest car that is financed.  In that case reaffirmation of the loan will be under taken and as long as the car loan is paid on time keeping the car will not be an issue.

Please link to our Article here for full details on how bankruptcy affects all of my property.

Interested in how we can help you with your bankruptcy case?  Give us a call at 732-302-9600 or fill out our online consultation and we will call you!  We look forward to hearing from you and answering all your questions!

Your home, your car and all other property you may own at the time of your bankruptcy — such as your retirement account — will certainly be at the top of your concerns when considering bankruptcy.

Like almost everything else in a bankruptcy the answer is not one size fits all and depends on your individual circumstances. These are just some of the things to be considered:

  • Your Home: The value, amount of mortgage owed and who is listed on the Deed;
  • Your Car: What kind it is and if it’s fully paid;
  • Retirement/Pension/Life Insurance Accounts: Consider everything.

Being well educated on the above considerations will certainly help guide you through all of your concerns. Please link to our Article here for full details on each subject set forth above.

Interested in how we can help you with your bankruptcy case?  Give us a call at 732-302-9600 or fill out our online consultation and we will call you!  We look forward to hearing from you and answering all your questions!

Many times we have to tell new clients that they should wait days, months or sometimes even years to file their bankruptcy case for the best possible outcome. Why? Because the timing of recently incurred debt has a lot to do with the outcome of your bankruptcy.

Let’s discuss just a few scenarios:

Credit Card Usage

If you have used a credit card for a luxury good (plane tickets, cruise tickets, hotels that are not work related, restaurants, etc.) in the last ninety days, you may need to wait to file your case.  These purchases will be presumed to be “fraudulent” since it would seem that you were running up the card in anticipation of the filing of your bankruptcy case. Read more in-depth details here.

Transfer of ANY Property

Don’t be fooled into thinking that transferring any form of property to a relative or family member will help in your bankruptcy. It actually has the opposite effect as a transfer of property prior to bankruptcy triggers the “fraudulent transfer” issue and that can be a big issue with the timing of your bankruptcy filing.  Read more in-depth details here.

Too Much Income/Not Enough Income

This is where timing is very important since your income is such a big part of your bankruptcy case. Your income is going to impact how much you have to pay or don’t have to pay to your creditors.  Filing at the wrong time could dramatically affect whether or not you have to pay anything to your creditors, and if you do have to pay your creditors something, how much you have to pay them.  Read more in-depth details here.

The Bottom Line

These are just some of the scenarios where “timing” can significantly affect your case.  Everyone’s circumstances are different so every bankruptcy case is different.  As experienced Bankruptcy attorneys we will evaluate your case carefully to get the best possible outcome for you.

Do you have any other questions on how we can help you file a bankruptcy?  Give us a call at 732-302-9600 or fill out our online consultation form.

In my previous blog, I listed “domestic support obligation” as one of the debts which cannot be wiped out in bankruptcy.

Since a domestic support obligation (such as child support or alimony) is considered a legal obligation made as part of a divorce proceeding, it simply won’t hold up in a bankruptcy claim. Only your state’s Family Law Court has the right to order and change this type of debt. Consequently, you will need to continue paying child and support obligations after you file for bankruptcy.   However, Equitable Distribution may be dischargeable in a Chapter 13 case (Not in Chapter 7).

Equitable Distribution states, as opposed to Community Property states, allow the Court to determine how property and assets are to be fairly divided.  The majority of states follow the Equitable Distribution model, of which New Jersey is one.  In a Chapter 13 case Equitable Distributions obligations may be dischargeable.

For a comprehensive list of non-dischargeable debts which cannot be wiped out in a bankruptcy, please link here.
Contact us if you’d like a free bankruptcy consultation, we’re here to help.


Yes, after you complete your bankruptcy case there will be the “discharge” of most of your debts. This means that you no longer have a legal obligation to pay them. However, there are certain debts that will remain, and not be discharged by your bankruptcy.

The following are some of the debts that will NOT be discharged as a result of your bankruptcy case.

  • Domestic support obligations;
  • Taxes;
  • Student loans;
  • Criminal and quasi criminal fines, penalties and restitution;
  • Claims for injuries caused while driving drunk;
  • Money obtained under false pretenses or by fraud.

For a further explanation of the above debts that will not be discharged through bankruptcy, see my full article here.

What Fresh Start means is that by filing bankruptcy, (liquidating assets to pay your debts or by creating a repayment plan) you can get rid of unwanted debt and start rebuilding your finances on much more stable ground. It’s like starting over — a second chance — a fresh start.

If you are looking to get a Fresh Start with bankruptcy, then complete our 5 Minute Online Consultation. This way, we will already have your basic information and know what to expect when we meet virtually. Even if you can’t be exact, your answers should be as close as possible.

Thank you for contacting us through our online consultation. We look forward to speaking with you about your Fresh Start!

Savings!  You know you should have it, but saving money when you are already on a tight budget is difficult at best.   The standard for an emergency fund is 6 months of savings.  So how the heck do you do it?

Treat Savings Like a Bill

If you have read the rest of this series you have purged your budget of the extra expenses that you didn’t even know you had.  Those are a tough habit to kick.  This will likely take some time.  Some people take weeks, some take months.  Give those changes time to kick in.  In the meantime, treat your savings like an expense.  Something that has to be paid every payday first.  It is now a bill.  If you treat it like a bill you will find yourself a bit more inclined to take saving seriously.

Automatic Transfers to a DIFFERENT bank!

That’s right — automate it to a bank so you have to work to get to it.  I like to use online savings for this.  Ally and Barclays both offer high yield rates, no brick and mortar locations, and no debit cards.  They also offer automated transfers from your checking to your savings.  This means that you will have the money taken out of your account before you even know you have it AND you will have to set up transfers and wait whole days to get at it.

True Emergencies ONLY

Going on a cruise is not an emergency.  You should not be dipping into your emergency fund for this.

I am a big fan of having three accounts in your online savings:

  1. your emergency fund;
  2. our non-monthly expenses fund; and
  3. your fun fund.

You should contribute to these accounts at each pay period.  Want to go on a cruise – grab from the fun fund.  Need to get an oil change on the car – go to the non-monthly fund.  Hospital bill for the emergency room when your kid decided to take a header at the playground and needed stitches – That is an an emergency. You can go to the emergency fund for that.  Got it?

Now if you are drowning in debt, saving is going to be near impossible at best.  Interested in how we can wipe out your debt so you can actually save a few bucks?  Give us a call at 732-302-9600 or fill our our online consultation form and we will call you!