QUESTIONS ABOUT FILING BANKRUPTCY IN SUFFOLK COUNTY LONG ISLAND; INFORMATION ABOUT
FILING FOR BANKRUPTCY
This article, for individuals considering filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island, was
written by Suffolk County bankruptcy lawyer Alan Pressman (631) 234-3883
My office is located at 3100 Veterans Highway, Bohemia, NY 11716
You can send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or text me at 631-714-6446
Q. If the Suffolk County Sheriff is garnishing my salary, will filing a bankruptcy stop
my salary from being garnished?
A. Yes. Once a bankruptcy is filed, the Suffolk County Sheriff will no longer be able
to garnish your salary (the same applies to the sheriff of Nassau County, or any
other sheriff). Once your bankruptcy petition has been filed, I will contact the
Suffolk County Sheriff's to have them stop the garnishment.
Q. If a creditor is suing me, will filing a bankruptcy stop the lawsuit/summons?
A. Yes. Once a bankruptcy is filed, a creditor has to stop their lawsuit against you.
Q. I want to file for bankruptcy on Long Island. How quickly can a bankruptcy be
A. A bankruptcy can be filed in less than a week. If you need an emergency
bankruptcy filing on Long Island-- i.e. to stop a foreclosure, to stop a garnishment,
to stop a bank account freeze, to stop a lawsuit-- a bankruptcy can often be filed
within a couple days.
Q. Do I have to be behind with my credit card payments in order to file for
A. No. You do not need to be behind in your credit card payments in order to file
Q. When can I stop paying my credit cards, if I am going to file a chapter 7
bankruptcy on Long Island?
A. If you retain me on chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should stop making credit card
payments immediately. Since the chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge your credit
card debt, it does not make sense to keep paying your credit cards once you have
retained a lawyer to file a chapter 7 bankruptcy for you.
Q. I filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the past. Can I file again?
A. Yes - but in order to file another Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you have to wait until it has been more than 8
years from when you filed your prior Chapter 7. In addition, you can file a chapter 13 bankruptcy now-- as long as
it has been more than 4 years from when you filed your prior chapter 7.
Q. How long will a bankruptcy stay on my credit report?
A. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years from when the chapter 7 petition was filed
with the bankruptcy court. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 7 years from when the chapter
13 petition was filed with the bankruptcy court.
However, there is no need to wait 10 years or 7 years to start rebuilding your credit. Please visit my web page on
rebuilding credit after bankruptcy for more information on this subject.
Q. Do I have to list all of my credit cards on my bankruptcy petition?
A. Yes, you have to list all of your credit cards on your bankruptcy petition (chapter 7 or 13). However, if
you have a credit card that has a $0 balance at the time that your bankruptcy petition is filed with the court, you
do not have to list that credit card on the bankruptcy petition because it is not a debt at the time that of filing
the bankruptcy. Keep in mind that it is still possible that the creditor will cancel the credit card which has the $0
balance, even though that debt is not listed on the bankruptcy petition. This is because many of the creditors
check your credit reports on a regular basis-- and it is often the creditor's policy that if they see a bankruptcy on
your credit profile, they will automatically cancel your credit card-- even though you have a $0 balance, are in good
standing with them, and didn't list them on the bankruptcy petition. Cancellation of the $0 balance card doesn't
always happen. Retail stores are more likely to let you keep your credit card in this type of situation (because
they want you to continue shopping in their store) than banks or American Express.
Q. I have a car that has a loan. If I file a chapter 7 bankruptcy, can I keep the car and continue to
make the loan payments?
A. Yes, as long as your equity in the car is not over the amount of the exemption (see the "exemptions"
page on this website). Typically, when you have a large car loan, your equity in the car will be within the amount
of the exemption, thereby allowing you to keep the car and to continue making the regular car loan payments.
However, in order to keep your car when there is a car loan, you normally have to "reaffirm" the car loan.
Reaffirming means that, at some point while the Chapter 7 bankruptcy is going on, the car loan creditor prepares a
"reaffirmation agreement" for the debtor to sign. The reaffirmation agreement essentially states that the car loan
agreement will stay in full force and effect beyond the bankruptcy-- exactly the same way that it was before the
bankruptcy was filed.
As well, if you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy and you have a leased car, you can keep making the regular lease
payments and keep the leased vehicle-- but you typically have to "assume" the car lease. Similar to reaffirming a
car loan, the car lease creditor prepares an "assumption agreement" for the debtor sign. If the debtor signs the
lease assumption agreement, the car lease agreement will stay in full force and effect beyond the bankruptcy--
exactly the same way that it was before the bankruptcy was filed.
To recap-- If you have a car which has a loan, in the vast majority of cases you can keep the car when you file a
chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island. In order to keep the keep the car, you still have to keep making the regular
car loan payments, even though you have filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you want to keep your car (when you
have filed a chapter 7 bankruptcy), it is standard that, during the course of the chapter 7, you will be signing a
reaffirmation agreement. The car loan creditor prepares the reaffirmation agreement, and if the debtor signs it,
the effect is that the debtor’s car loan stays in effect after the chapter 7 bankruptcy is over– exactly the way that
the car loan was prior to the chapter 7 bankruptcy being filed.
By reaffirming your car loan in a chapter 7 bankruptcy, and continuing to make your car loan payments after the
filing of the chapter 7, you rebuild your credit. It can be especially helpful for rebuilding your credit if you make
your car loan payments on time for the 12 months following the filing of your chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Q. Will my employer be notified that I filed a bankruptcy?
A. No. Only your creditors get notified that you filed a bankruptcy. Unless you owe money to your
employer, your employer will not be notified.
Q. Can I keep my 401K if I file a chapter 7 bankruptcy?
A. Yes. You keep your 401K, as well as any other retirement accounts, such as pensions, 403(b) plans, and
457 plans when you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island. Also, if you have a 401K loan, you can continue to
re-pay the 401K loan via deduction from your salary.
Q. Will I owe any income tax on debt that I discharge in a chapter 7 bankruptcy?
A. No. You are not obligated to pay any income tax on debts that you discharge in a chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Q. Is a same-sex joint bankruptcy filing in New York, by a same-sex married couple, allowed?
A. Yes, it appears that a same-sex joint bankruptcy filing in New York, by a same-sex married couple, is now
Q. Can I keep my tax refunds if I file a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island?
A. If you own a house that has no equity, or if you don’t own a house, you will typically be availing yourself of
the “wild-card exemption” contained in the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions. The wild-card exemption allows each
debtor to exempt property of any kind, (including anticipated tax refunds), worth up to $11,975.
Q. Will anyone go to my house to go through my belongings if I file for bankruptcy?
A. Although it is theoretically possible, none of my bankruptcy clients have ever had someone go to their house
to go through, or inspect, their belongings in connection with a bankruptcy filing. ( I have been actively handling
chapter 7 and chapter 13 bankruptcy cases on Long Island for more than 30 years).
Q. If I have had a car repossessed and I file a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island, will the chapter 7
bankruptcy discharge whatever I owe on the car loan, including any repossession fees, attorneys fees, late
charges, and interest?
A. Yes, if you have had a car repossessed and you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island, the chapter 7
bankruptcy will discharge whatever you owe on the car loan, including any repossession fees, attorneys fees, late
charges, and interest.
If you are filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island and do not want to make any further car loan payments on
a particular car, you can return the car to the lender. Whatever monies you owe to the car loan lender will get
discharged as part of your chapter 7 discharge.
Make sure to take your license plates off when you return the vehicle to the lender, and also make sure to get a
receipt from the lender. (Also, make sure to take all of your belongings out of the car).
You will need to turn the license plates in to the Department of Motor Vehicles. The Department of Motor
Vehicles will give you a receipt, which you can then give to your insurance agent. The insurance agent will need
this receipt in order to cancel the insurance on the car which you returned.
Similarly to a car loan repossession, if you have had a boat repossessed and you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy on
Long Island, the chapter 7 bankruptcy will discharge whatever you owe on the boat loan, including any
repossession fees, attorneys fees, late charges and interest.
Q. Will filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island will stop a garnishment?
A. Yes. As soon as a chapter 7 bankruptcy petition has been filed with the Bankruptcy Court in Central Islip, my
office sends a fax to the Suffolk County sheriff’s office, and to the attorney for the creditor who is suing you,
letting them know that you filed the chapter 7 bankruptcy, and providing them with the chapter 7 bankruptcy filing
information, and informing them that they are required to stop the garnishment immediately. Filing a chapter 7
bankruptcy on Long Island will stop your salary from being garnished. The 10% of your salary that the sheriff
takes from you is a lot of money to lose. And much of the money being garnished from your salary goes to
interest and sheriff’s fees, rather than paying down the amount you owe to the creditor.
Q. If I'm filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long island and I own a time share, can I keep it?
1. If your time share has no loan and you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island, you have a good chance of
being able to keep it– based on the following scenarios:
a) The time share is worth so little money– ie. a couple thousand dollars or less (this seems to apply to many
time shares), so that the chapter 7 trustee decides that it’s not feasible to spend the time and effort required to
sell the time share.
b) You claim the Federal Bankruptcy exemptions on your chapter 7 petition. The Federal exemptions allow you to
exempt (ie. keep) property of any kind, up to a total amount of approximately $12,000. The Federal exemptions
(as opposed to claiming the New York State exemptions) normally get claimed in cases where the debtor owns no
real estate, or owns real estate that has little or no equity.
2. If your time share has a loan and you file a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island, you will have to continue to
make the payments on the time share loan if you want to keep the time share. Even if the time share is worth a
lot of money (say in the $5000- $10,000 range), if you have little or no equity in the time share (due to a large
outstanding time share loan), it is very unlikely that the chapter 7 trustee will try to sell the time share– because
there would be no money available to be distributed to creditors after paying off the loan balance, closing costs
and the trustee’s legal fees.
There is one important caveat to keep in mind when you are filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy on Long Island and want
to keep your time share and continue to pay your time share loan. Time share loans are typically considered a
luxury expense by the US Trustee’s office in Central Islip. If you are paying a monthly amount for a time share
loan, there is the risk that the US Trustee’s office in Central Islip will object to your chapter 7 discharge on the
grounds that your case amounts to an abuse of chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code (because you have money to
spend each month on a luxury item). Alternatively, the US Trustee’s office in Central Islip could take the position
that the money which you are paying each month on your time share loan should instead be split up among all of
your creditors in chapter 13 bankruptcy. The approach of the US Trustee’s office in Central Islip will typically
depend on their perception of the totality of the circumstances involved in your chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
Q. How should I deal with harassing creditor phone calls?
A. You are not required to speak to creditors or collection agencies who call you seeking to collect money. You
are not required to pick up the phone when they call you. If you are going to be filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, I
recommend that when creditors or collection agencies call, that you not pick up the phone to speak to them.
Getting on the phone just gives the creditor an opportunity to harass you, and to scare you, into paying money. If
you answer the creditor’s phone call, anything you say to them other than that you are immediately going to send
them the amount that you owe them will probably result in the creditor going on and on endlessly – - harassing
you and threatening you. If you are going to be filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is nothing to be gained by
allowing creditors to do this. However, if a creditor calls you at your work phone number, you may want to answer
the call and tell the creditor that you are not allowed to receive phone calls at your place of employment. Under
the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, once you say this to a creditor, they no longer are allowed to call you at
your place of employment.
If you retain my office to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy for you, once my office has been retained, I can, on your
behalf, fax a cease and desist letter to any creditors who are calling you at your employment phone number. If
you do receive any phone calls from creditors at your employment phone number, please try to obtain the name,
as well as fax number, of the person who is calling you.
Q. Do I have to be behind with my credit card payments in order to file for bankruptcy?
A. No. You do not have to be behind with your credit card payments in order to file a chapter 7 or chapter 13
bankruptcy on Long Island.
Check back soon for more FAQ's
Suffolk County bankruptcy lawyer Alan Pressman
3100 Veterans Highway
Bohemia, N. Y. 11716
CALL TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!
I have been actively handling Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases on Long Island for
more than 30 years. My practice is 100% handling bankruptcy cases. I am a solo
practitioner and, as such, will handle your case personally.
Thanks for taking the time to visit my website.
Copyright 2011-2017, Alan Pressman, Suffolk County bankruptcy lawyer
Alan Pressman, chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer near Ronkonkoma,11779; Hauppauge,11788; Bohemia,11716;
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serving all of Long Island since 1981