How to File for Bankruptcy in New Jersey
The essential steps to filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey are similar to the steps required in all other states. However, you will also need to have some basic knowledge regarding how to navigate your way through New Jersey’s court system. The first step will involve deciding which form of bankruptcy is appropriate for your circumstances. Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be the best choices for most individuals. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a form of liquidation that allows your debts to be discharged. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a form of restructuring that allows you to make payments to your creditors over a period of time. Farmers and fishermen are eligible for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Some individuals with high debt amounts or business-related debt may be eligible to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. You may want to seek the help of a lawyer when it comes to determining the option that best fits your situation. While it is possible to convert from one form of bankruptcy to another once the process has been started, it will result in extra court fees and costs.
Understanding New Jersey’s Bankruptcy Court
Bankruptcy courts are located in Newark, Trenton and Camden. You can download most of the local and national forms you’ll need to begin the process of filing for bankruptcy directly from the website of the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey. There are dozens of forms to look at once you begin the bankruptcy process. Specific forms must be completed and submitted at specific times throughout the process. It’s important to file all documents accurately because any errors could result in your case being dismissed from the court. This is one of the reasons why seeking the help of a lawyer is advisable in most cases.
Key Steps in the Bankruptcy Process in New Jersey
Filing for bankruptcy in New Jersey doesn’t just entail filling out paperwork and showing up for court dates. You will also have to do quite a bit of work on the side to qualify to have your debts discharged or restructured. You will need to participate in credit counseling and debtor education courses before your case can be closed. All courses you take must be offered by agencies that are approved in New Jersey. One course must be taken before you file for bankruptcy. The other must be taken immediately after your debts are discharged. Here is the list of approved debtor education providers in New Jersey. There is also a list for approved credit counseling agencies.
Another key step that cannot be skipped is a meeting of creditors. This is a time when you will meet with your creditors and provide them with one last chance to prove that you do have the assets to pay them back. You may be responsible for paying back debts if a creditor is able to prove that you are capable of paying them back. Here is a list of locations where your meeting of creditors may be held if you file in New Jersey.
Fees for Filing for Bankruptcy in New Jersey
The cost to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New Jersey is $335. The cost to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in New Jersey is $310. The list of complete fees for all filings can be found here. You will find that there are additional fees for things like converting from one type of bankruptcy to another, reopening cases, requesting transcriptions, printing documents, splitting a joint petition and much more. It may be possible to have fees waived if you meet certain criteria.