How to File for Bankruptcy in New York
Filing for bankruptcy in the state of New York requires much of the same protocol as filing in every other state. However, there are some state-specific guidelines to follow. Filing for bankruptcy in New York will allow you to have many types of debt discharged. It may also enable you to stop a foreclosure, prevent repossession of a car, stop wage garnishment, restore the termination of utility services and prevent creditors from harassing or contacting you. The first steps to take include finding a lawyer, deciding which type of bankruptcy is appropriate for your situation and finding out which district you must file your case in.
Choosing the Right Type of Bankruptcy for Your Case
It’s going to be necessary to determine which type of bankruptcy is appropriate for your situation if you’re located in New York. Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be ideal if you need to have your debt discharged and you have no way of paying back your creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be appropriate if you can realistically pay off your debt over time using some type of structured payment plan. Farmers and fishermen are eligible to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 bankruptcy could be appropriate in rare cases where debt amounts are very large.
Understanding the New York Bankruptcy Court System
The portion of New York that you live in will determine where you should file for bankruptcy. New York actually has four separate bankruptcy court districts. Here’s a look at how it breaks down:
- Southern District of New York United States Bankruptcy Court
- Eastern District of New York United States Bankruptcy Court
- Northern District of New York United States Bankruptcy Court
- Western District of New York United States Bankruptcy Court
One thing to know about visiting any of the district courts in New York for an appointment or to pick up paperwork is that a valid and current government-issued identification is required to gain entrance to all court buildings. There are multiple bankruptcy court offices located within each district. It is possible to download forms and paperwork using the website for whichever district you will need to file in.
What Is the Cost to File for Bankruptcy in New York?
The cost to file for bankruptcy will be essentially the same in any of New York’s four bankruptcy court districts. One thing to be mindful of is the fact that different court locations have different policies for how they will accept fee payments. For instance, the Manhattan office will accept cash even though White Plains and Poughkeepsie won’t. The cost to file a new Chapter 7 petition is $335. The cost to file a new Chapter 13 petition is $310. Here’s a look at some extra fees that you may have to be prepared to deal with along the way:
- The case reopening fee for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is $260
- The case reopening fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is $235
- The fee for converting a case from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 is waived
- The fee for converting a case from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 is $25
- Amendment fees are $31
- Motions cost between $25 and $200
The full list of potential fees can be found here. It may be possible to have filing fees waived if you can prove that paying them is simply too difficult. The fact that fees can add up quickly in the event that a case is inappropriately filed highlights the need to seek the help of a lawyer as soon as you begin to consider filing for bankruptcy. Filing your case incorrectly or failing to present proper paperwork could cause your case to be thrown out of court.
The Steps to Filing for Bankruptcy in New York
There are certain steps that must be taken when filing for bankruptcy in New York. In addition to submitting the right paperwork at the right time, you will also be required to receive financial counseling and face your creditors. You will actually have to receive both pre-discharge debt counseling and post-discharge debt counseling. Failure to complete either of those steps could result in your debt discharge being denied. The list of court-approved debtor education agencies in New York can be found here. You must also participate in a meeting of creditors before your discharge can be approved and your case can be closed. A meeting of creditors provides the people you owe money to with an opportunity to challenge your inability to pay them back. You may be forced to pay what is owed to a creditor if it can be proven that you have the available assets to do so.