Emergency Bankruptcy Lawyer

Top-Rated New Jersey Emergency Bankruptcy Lawyer | Straffi & Straffi Attorneys at Law

An emergency bankruptcy is a type of bankruptcy filing that aims to speed up the process of filing for bankruptcy in order to halt creditors and bill collectors from pursuing debts owed by the borrower. An individual can file an emergency bankruptcy – also referred to as a skeleton bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In some instances, businesses may also file for emergency bankruptcy under Chapter 11. 

Emergency bankruptcies are filed in cases where receiving an automatic stay is crucial. The automatic stay acts as an injunction that prohibits creditors from pursuing debt collection activities even before the necessary documents for a complete bankruptcy are met. If you are looking to file an emergency bankruptcy, having the help of an experienced New Jersey emergency bankruptcy lawyer is important. At Straffi & Straffi, Attorneys At Law, our team of skilled New Jersey bankruptcy attorneys provides quality legal assistance to individuals and businesses seeking to file an emergency bankruptcy and receive an automatic stay to creditor claims. We can also assist in determining which types of debt can be discharged in bankruptcy, such as medical debt.

To learn more about how we can help you, call us today at (732) 341-3800 to schedule a free consultation.

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Top-Rated New Jersey Bankruptcy Attorney Explains The Definition And Purpose Of An Emergency Bankruptcy

Emergency bankruptcy, also known as “skeleton” or “bare-bones” bankruptcy, is a quicker process of filing for bankruptcy protection to prevent imminent financial actions such as foreclosure, repossession, or wage garnishments. The primary purpose of an emergency bankruptcy filing is to provide debtors with immediate relief from their current financial distress.

It involves submitting a minimal set of forms to the bankruptcy court to obtain an automatic stay quickly. This stay prevents creditors from continuing with collection actions, giving the debtor time to complete the full bankruptcy petition. Typically, only the Voluntary Petition (Form 101) and the list of creditors are required to commence an emergency bankruptcy.

Some types of collection actions that can be prevented by an emergency bankruptcy include the following: 

  • Repossession of cars and other belongings used as collateral
  • Foreclosure of a residential home or business
  • Eviction
  • Wage garnishment
  • Lawsuits from creditors

Once the emergency petition is filed, the automatic stay provision found in the U.S. Bankruptcy Code comes into effect, which bars creditors from taking any collection actions against debtors. Emergency bankruptcy is critical for people struggling with severe financial issues who need prompt protection from their creditors in order to regain control over their finances.

The primary difference between regular and emergency bankruptcy filings lies in the speed and thoroughness of the process. A regular bankruptcy filing requires the debtor to submit a full set of documents, including the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statement of financial affairs. This comprehensive process can take a considerable amount of time due to the amount of paperwork involved.

On the other hand, emergency bankruptcy filing necessitates the submission of only a few critical forms, thus hastening the process. Once the emergency bankruptcy petition is filed, the debtor has 14 days to submit the remaining required documentation. Failure to do so may result in the dismissal of the bankruptcy case.

However, it is essential to note that emergency bankruptcy offers temporary relief and should not be considered a complete solution to financial problems. Despite the expedited process, the debtor must still work through the entire bankruptcy procedure and participate in mandatory credit counseling and debtor education courses, as they would in a regular bankruptcy case.

Emergency bankruptcy filings are available under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy, also known as “liquidation” bankruptcy, entails the sale of non-exempt assets by a court-appointed trustee to repay creditors. Eligible debtors who have little to no disposable income can obtain debt relief within a few months under this filing. Once the bankruptcy is discharged, the debtor is no longer liable for most unsecured debts.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or “reorganization” bankruptcy, is designed for debtors with regular income who can afford to repay a portion of their debts through a court-approved repayment plan. This type of filing enables debtors to retain their assets, such as their home or car, provided they adhere to the approved repayment plan, which typically lasts between three to five years.

Debtors who wish to file for emergency bankruptcy must meet specific criteria, which vary depending on the bankruptcy chapter they are filing under.

For Chapter 7 emergency bankruptcy, the debtor must pass the Means Test, which compares the debtor’s income to the state median income to determine whether they have the financial means to repay their debts. If the debtor’s income falls below the state median, they are generally eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The income requirement applies to the number of persons in the applicant’s household. 

For cases filed after November 1, 2023, the annual median income that would apply for a one-earner household in New Jersey is $79,816.

Depending on the size of the household, this threshold also increases accordingly:

  • One-person household – $79,816
  • Two-person household – $96,779
  • Three-person household – $125,090
  • Four-person household – $151,181

Chapter 13 emergency bankruptcy requires the debtor to demonstrate that they have sufficient income to cover a portion of their debts in the proposed repayment plan. Additionally, the debtor must not have secured or unsecured debt that exceeds the Chapter 13 debt limits established by the Bankruptcy Code. The limit for combined secured and unsecured debt is $2,750,000 to the date of filing for bankruptcy relief.

Furthermore, debtors seeking emergency bankruptcy relief must attend credit counseling from an approved agency within 180 days before filing their petition. This step is crucial in determining whether bankruptcy is the appropriate solution for the individual’s financial circumstances.

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The Emergency Bankruptcy Filing Process In New Jersey

Compared to a regular bankruptcy filing, an emergency bankruptcy filing is more time-sensitive. It is important to carefully adhere to the requirements of filing bankruptcy to avoid the possibility of the petition being dismissed.

The first step in an emergency bankruptcy filing is submitting the necessary forms and petition file documents to the bankruptcy court.

In New Jersey, this involves completing and submitting the following forms:

  • Voluntary Petition for Individuals Filing for Bankruptcy (Form 101): This form is required for all individual bankruptcy filers and acts as the core document of your case. It contains essential information such as your identifying information, the chapter under which you are filing, and dates of previous bankruptcy cases, if any.
  • Creditor Matrix: This is a list of your creditors, including their names and contact information. The court will use this to notify them of your case and the automatic stay provision.
  • Statement About Your Social Security Numbers (Form B121): This form confirms your Social Security number and is essential in preventing fraud and identity theft.

You must also include a certificate that you have undergone sufficient credit counseling related to the bankruptcy filing. In addition to these forms, a filer must also pay the required filing fee or submit a request for a fee waiver or installment plan. The cost of filing a Chapter 7 is $338 while the fees for a Chapter 13 costs $313. Depending on your circumstances, it is also possible to waive the fees by filing an Application to Waive Filing Fee with the court.

Upon the filing of the emergency bankruptcy petition, an automatic stay goes into effect. This court order immediately halts most collection activities by creditors, including lawsuits, wage garnishments, and even foreclosure actions. In New Jersey, the automatic stay applies to all creditors listed in the initial filing, offering the debtor a breathing space to regroup and complete the necessary bankruptcy paperwork without the pressure of impending collection actions or court dates.

Creditors will receive notice of the bankruptcy filing and automatic stay from the court, usually within two business days. However, if there are imminent collection actions, you or your attorney can notify the creditor directly to halt the action.

It’s important for New Jersey residents considering this option to consult with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. The lawyer can help navigate the complex bankruptcy process, ensure compliance with all local rules and procedures, and advise on the best course of action for the debtor’s particular financial situation.

After the emergency filing, you have 14 days to submit the remaining required bankruptcy documents, including the following:

  • Schedules of Assets and Liabilities (Forms B106)
  • Statement of Financial Affairs (Form B107)
  • Means Test Calculation (Form B122)
  • Any other local forms required by the New Jersey bankruptcy court

Failure to submit these documents within 14 days may result in your case being dismissed, so it is essential to gather this information quickly.

Approximately 30 days after submitting all required documents, you will be required to attend a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 meeting. During this meeting, a bankruptcy trustee will review your submitted documents and ask questions to understand your financial situation better. Any statements made during the meeting and any questions answered should be done so truthfully under threat of perjury. Creditors may also attend and ask questions regarding any assets or any questions regarding the administration of the case. Despite the name, creditors are not required to attend the 341 meeting and do not waive any rights to claim on a debtor’s debt with their non-attendance.

It is essential to attend this meeting, as failure to do so may result in your case being dismissed.

Depending on your specific circumstances and the chapter under which you filed for bankruptcy, you may be required to attend additional hearings in court. For example, if you file under Chapter 13, you will need to attend a confirmation hearing where the judge will either approve or deny your proposed repayment plan.

You must continue making payments, as required by your payment plan, and stay in constant communication with your attorney and trustee throughout the bankruptcy process.

Upon successful completion of all required steps and meetings, and after addressing any creditor objections or court concerns, the bankruptcy court will issue an order discharging your eligible debts.

It is crucial to remember that not all debts are dischargeable in bankruptcy, and some debts may survive the process. Examples of non-dischargeable debts include student loans, certain tax debts, and child support or alimony.

After the court issues the discharge order and closes your case, you can begin focusing on rebuilding your credit and moving forward with your financial life. 

Filing for emergency bankruptcy can have a lot of benefits for debtors who are in a vulnerable financial situation. However, it is not a universal solution to financial problems. Before you make any decisions, consulting an experienced New Jersey bankruptcy attorney is important. Our team of skilled attorneys at Straffi & Straffi Attorneys at Law can conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your case, help you understand your options, and assist you in making an informed decision.

Contact us today at (732) 341-3800 to schedule a consultation.

The Impact of Emergency Bankruptcy on Credit and Finances

Filing for emergency bankruptcy in New Jersey can provide immediate relief from creditors and halt adverse actions like foreclosure and repossession. However, it also has significant implications for a debtor’s credit and financial situation that can last for several years.


Immediately following an emergency bankruptcy filing, the debtor’s credit score will typically see a substantial decrease. This is due to the fact that the bankruptcy filing is a negative credit event and will be listed on credit reports. The automatic stay that comes with the bankruptcy filing will stop creditors from pursuing collection activities, but the associated debts will still remain until they are discharged or reorganized.


In the long term, the impact of a bankruptcy can remain on a debtor’s credit report for up to 10 years for Chapter 7 and 7 years for Chapter 13. The long-term effect on credit can make obtaining new credit lines more difficult and more expensive, with higher interest rates and less favorable terms.

One of the most significant challenges that you will face post-bankruptcy is rebuilding your credit. After bankruptcy, it is crucial to start rebuilding your credit as soon as possible to achieve financial stability in the future.

To begin the process of rebuilding credit, start by regularly checking your credit report to ensure that all of the information is accurate and up-to-date. You should also monitor your credit score regularly to track your progress.

Consider applying for a secured credit card or a loan to begin rebuilding your credit. A secured credit card requires an upfront deposit that acts as your credit line, allowing you to demonstrate responsible credit use by making on-time payments and maintaining low balances.

Additionally, make sure to always pay your bills on time and in full, as late or missed payments can damage your credit score. If you are unable to pay a bill, reach out to the creditor to work out a payment plan or deferment before the due date, as this can help prevent negative marks on your credit.

Review your budget regularly and work towards reducing your debt, as lower balances will improve your credit utilization ratio, which is a significant factor in determining your credit score.

After bankruptcy, it is essential to establish healthy financial habits to prevent future financial difficulties. Begin by creating a budget that includes all of your monthly expenses, as well as saving for emergencies and other financial goals.

Take the time to review and adjust your budget monthly, ensuring that you continue to live within your means and work towards achieving your financial objectives.

Develop a savings plan to build a financial cushion that can protect you from future financial emergencies. Set aside a portion of your income each month to contribute to an emergency fund, and consider establishing separate savings accounts for specific financial goals, such as buying a car or going on vacation.

Furthermore, educate yourself about personal finance and money management. There are numerous resources available online and in print that can help you learn about saving, investing, and managing your money effectively.

Emergency bankruptcy can affect your ability to obtain future loans. Lenders may view you as a higher-risk borrower, leading to either denied applications or higher interest rates and less favorable terms. However, over time, as you rebuild your credit, these effects will diminish.

Regarding employment, while federal law prohibits employers from discriminating against you for filing bankruptcy, some employers, especially in the financial sector, may consider credit history in their hiring decisions. It’s important to be honest about your financial history if it comes up in a job interview or background check.

In all aspects, the impact of emergency bankruptcy on an individual’s credit and finances is significant and requires careful planning and disciplined financial management post-filing. Consulting with a financial advisor or a bankruptcy attorney in New Jersey can provide guidance tailored to your specific situation.

Bankruptcy can have long-lasting effects on your financial life. Even after your debts have been discharged, the bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for up to 10 years, depending on the type of bankruptcy you utilized, affecting your ability to obtain favorable credit terms.

It is crucial to understand that bankruptcy is not a simple solution to wipe away your financial problems. It is a significant decision that should be made with careful consideration and as a last resort.

Over time, as you build positive credit history and maintain responsible financial habits, the impact of your bankruptcy on your credit score will diminish. However, it is essential to remain vigilant in your financial practices to avoid any potential future financial setbacks.

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How Working With An Experienced New Jersey Emergency Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help

Straffi & Straffi Attorneys at Law, a law firm familiar with the intricacies of New Jersey bankruptcy laws, can be an invaluable ally for individuals seeking urgent bankruptcy assistance.

Here’s how a skilled emergency bankruptcy attorney from their team can assist those in dire financial straits:

An emergency bankruptcy filing requires immediate action. Straffi & Straffi Attorneys at Law can quickly assess your situation and determine the fastest way to file an emergency bankruptcy petition, often known as a “skeleton” petition. This can provide immediate relief by triggering an automatic stay against most collection actions, including lawsuits, garnishments, and harassing phone calls.

New Jersey bankruptcy laws can be complex, and understanding the nuances is essential for a successful emergency filing. Straffi & Straffi’s attorneys have the experience necessary to navigate these laws effectively, helping clients choose the correct type of bankruptcy (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13), properly apply New Jersey or federal exemptions to protect assets, and meet all local and federal legal requirements.

The initial emergency filing may require only a few forms to trigger the automatic stay, but the full documentation must be submitted within a short timeframe thereafter. Straffi & Straffi’s attorneys can assist in preparing and completing all necessary paperwork, reducing the risk of dismissal due to clerical errors or missed deadlines.

After your emergency bankruptcy petition is filed, you’ll be required to attend a 341 meeting, or meeting of creditors. The attorneys at Straffi & Straffi can represent you during this meeting, helping to address any concerns raised by the trustee or creditors.

Straffi & Straffi can help clients fulfill the legal requirements for credit counseling and debtor education by providing information on approved agencies and ensuring that certificates of completion are filed with the court.

Even after your emergency bankruptcy filing, you may need legal advice and representation. Whether it’s dealing with creditor disputes post-discharge or addressing concerns with the bankruptcy trustee, Straffi & Straffi’s attorneys can provide ongoing support.

Following the bankruptcy discharge, Straffi & Straffi can offer guidance on rebuilding your credit and managing your finances to avoid future financial distress, thus helping you make the most of your fresh start.

If creditors continue to pursue you after the filing, Straffi & Straffi can take legal action on your behalf to enforce the automatic stay and, post-discharge, to ensure that your discharged debts are not unlawfully collected.

Straffi & Straffi Attorneys at Law can provide comprehensive legal assistance to those needing emergency bankruptcy relief. From the initial filing to post-discharge planning, our skilled New Jersey attorneys can help ensure that you comply with legal requirements and obtain the financial relief you need.

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Skilled Legal Assistance and Compassionate Representation from Straffi & Straffi Attorneys At Law

Having the help of a skilled attorney can be helpful regardless of the stage of filing you are in. If you are just starting to collect information on how to file for bankruptcy and which type of bankruptcy would suit your case, an attorney can conduct a careful evaluation of your financial situation, recommend the appropriate chapter, and assist you in filing the necessary paperwork.

A skilled attorney can also provide guidance and support as you navigate complex financial situations, such as renegotiating loan terms, defending against creditor harassment, or resolving tax disputes.

At Straffi & Straffi Attorneys At Law, we provide comprehensive legal assistance to New Jersey residents who need immediate financial relief from debt. Our team of experienced New Jersey emergency bankruptcy lawyers can help protect your rights and assist in handling potential legal challenges. Our attorneys employ a proactive and tailored approach that aims to help you maintain financial stability and continue on the path to a healthy and successful financial future.

To schedule a consultation, contact our office today at (732) 341-3800.

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