Chapter 7 bankruptcy (also known as “straight bankruptcy”) is a frequently-used bankruptcy option available to qualified individuals or married couples that need a fresh financial start. A chapter 7 bankruptcy generally takes less time to conclude than other forms of bankruptcy relief that may be available. Chapter 7 can also lead to the courts discharging most or all of your debts at the end of the case. 

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a strong option for many people but it is important to understand that not everyone will qualify. To determine if Chapter 7 is the proper option for you, it is in your best interest to speak with a skilled bankruptcy attorney. A New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer can advise you on whether you meet the qualifications to be a Chapter 7 debtor and can help you understand other options outside of filing for bankruptcy. If Chapter 7 is the proper option for you, we can often guide you through a case in as little as four or five months.

Means Testing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New Jersey

It is vital to understand the financial requirements that apply to Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is means-tested, meaning that individuals above a certain income level may not qualify. 

The means test is a type of calculation that considers an applicant’s income and expenses. It also takes into account the household size so that larger families are not penalized. Using this information, the court will determine if an applicant is below the state’s median income. If they are, they can then proceed with Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

Calculating the means test can be complicated, and a person considering bankruptcy should never just assume they will not qualify. In fact, after a New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer completes the means test calculations, many people who are above the median income are surprised to learn that they qualify. A New Jersey lawyer can help you determine if you meet the means test and qualify for a Chapter 7. 

When Chapter 13 Might Be Appropriate

There are circumstances when a person who is in a difficult financial position does not qualify for protection under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. That does not mean they are out of luck entirely, as Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be an option. In fact, the courts have the power to convert a case from Chapter 7 to Chapter 13 if it is clear after filing that a debtor does not qualify for the former. 

Keeping Your Property During a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

There is a belief among some people that filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy could cause the filer to have to sell all of their property in order to have their debts discharged. While Chapter 7 is typically referred to as a “liquidation proceeding,” that does not mean a filer will lose everything they own. In fact, most people retain all of their possessions with the specialized help of a New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney. 

Once a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is filed, the Automatic Stay goes into effect and creditors must immediately cease all efforts to collect a debt including continuation of any law suits, wage garnishments, bank levy, or harassing telephone calls and letters.

Many important assets are exempt from being used to satisfy debts in the Chapter 7 bankruptcy process, like basic clothes or family heirlooms. That said, there are also ways to hold onto larger assets like homes and automobiles. If the car note or mortgage is kept current, it is possible to exit bankruptcy in New Jersey while still in possession of these important assets. 

Reach Out to a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney as Soon as Possible

Bankruptcy can be a difficult decision for anyone to make. While the protection of Chapter 7 could be the answer to your financial problems, it will require a lot of planning and consideration. A New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer could provide you with compassionate legal guidance and constant communication while you face this difficult decision. To learn more about this process, call Gillman, Bruton, and Capone right away for a confidential consultation. 


Justin Gillman was direct, honest and quite knowledgeable. His staff was always polite and helpful. Although the process of going bankrupt was something I felt would be painful and demeaning, Justin made the process quite the opposite. I could have gone to another Attorney but...


We would like to thank you and your staff in handling our case. The professionalism and smooth transaction exhibited by you and your firm made it easier on the hardship we were experiencing. You made it possible for our lives to go on and we’re...


My husband and I have been clients of Justin for approximately 9 years. He has always given us the best possible advice, took time to explain everything in a way that was clearly understandable to non professionals and never, never failed to return my calls...


The Best! Marc is my bankruptcy and real estate attorney. Has helped my family through a lot of tough times. His competence and integrity are unmatched. Have recommended several people to him.