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There were nearly 1.7 million bankruptcies filed in 2003, up 7.4% from the 1,547,669 filings in 2002. In fact, bankruptcy fillings have increased nearly 100% since 1994. To help sort your way through the complicated maze of overcrowded bankruptcy courts, you need the assistance of knowledgeable legal advocates, with years of experience and demonstrated trustworthiness.

Law Offices of Michael J. Halprin & Associates
1806 South Broad Street
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19145
Phone: 215-389-6913
Fax: 215-389-3373

Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are federal bankruptcy laws enacted by Congress to give single and married individuals (including owners of sole proprietorships) in financial difficulty a fresh start or relief from creditor harassment. Chapter 7 allows individuals to discharge (and not pay) most debts, including credit card debt, judgments, unsecured loans and much more. Filing under Chapter 7 normally allows you to keep your assets and then start over. Chapter 13 allows individuals to work out reasonable repayment terms for their debts. Law Offices of Michael J. Halprin & Associates has represented many individuals throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania before the Bankruptcy Court. The firm wants to provide you with some information about bankruptcy law, which is why it has created this page.

Law Offices of Michael J. Halprin & Associates is highly experienced in the areas of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy and it efficiently and cost-effectively helps their clients get back on solid economic ground. The firm works closely with their clients, making sure that bankruptcy is their best alternative. And when it is the best alternative, the firm is able to move quickly on their behalf. The firm is committed to providing personal attention and affordable solutions to each and every client's financial obstacles.

Contact Law Offices of Michael J. Halprin & Associates about your bankruptcy needs or problems with creditors. You will receive a prompt and personal response from the firm.

Call Us Now at 215-389-6913 for a Free, Initial Phone Consultation.

We are able to meet the needs of the Vietnamese and Spanish-speaking communities.

Bankruptcy - An Overview

Even the hardest workers and the most diligent bill-payers can find themselves with more debts than they can pay as they become due. In such cases, filing bankruptcy may provide a solution to what seems like an insurmountable problem. If you or someone you know is facing serious financial challenges, it is very important to seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney. Once considered a last resort, bankruptcy has evolved into an accepted method of resolving serious financial problems. The bankruptcy lawyer's goals are to help debtors make a fresh start and ensure that creditors get paid. A skillful attorney can guide you through the complicated legal maze of bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy law is primarily federal in origin and therefore varies little from state to state. The United States Constitution grants to Congress the power to establish uniform bankruptcy laws throughout the United States, which ensures consistency and predictability in how bankruptcy proceedings are conducted. The individual states do, however, retain jurisdiction over certain debtor-creditor issues that are not addressed by and do not conflict with federal bankruptcy law, such as which property remains exempt from creditors' claims.

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Consumer Bankruptcy

When an individual falls desperately behind in his or her debt payments, one option may be to declare bankruptcy, a legal proceeding conducted in a federal bankruptcy court that allows the debtor to be relieved of some or all of his or her debts. Filing bankruptcy is not a panacea, however. Although in many ways bankruptcy can give a person a fresh start, it is important to remember that bankruptcy can also negatively affect his or her credit rating and make it hard to obtain credit in the future. A lawyer experienced in bankruptcy law can advise you as to whether bankruptcy may be the right move for you.

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Commercial Bankruptcy

Just like consumers, small businesses sometimes find themselves in the uncomfortable position of being unable to pay their debts in a timely manner. In such cases, one solution is to declare bankruptcy, a legal proceeding in a federal court that releases the business from the obligation of paying all or some of its debts. Filing bankruptcy is not a perfect solution, however. Although bankruptcy is said to provide a business with a fresh start, it can also negatively affect the business's credit rating and make it hard to obtain credit in the future. And in some types of bankruptcies, the bankrupt business actually ceases to exist when the proceedings terminate. A lawyer experienced in bankruptcy law can advise small business owners as to whether bankruptcy may be the right move for them.

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Avoiding "Credit Repair" and "Credit Counseling" Scams

With over a million Americans filing for bankruptcy each year and with household debt at record highs, consumers are reaching out to "credit counselors" and "credit repair" companies with increasing frequency. Although there has been a recent surge in the number of these organizations readily available to offer help to consumers, there has also been a rampant increase in the number of unscrupulous operators ready to take advantage of unsuspecting debtors. A lawyer experienced in consumer credit or bankruptcy law can help protect debtors from these unscrupulous practices and advise them on the most prudent course of action.

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Surviving the Emotional Effects of Bankruptcy

No matter what circumstances ultimately led to filing bankruptcy, both the practical and the emotional impact on the debtor will be huge. Confronting the emotional and psychological issues surrounding bankruptcy and reaching an understanding and acceptance of the situation are essential to rebuilding and maintaining a successful financial life. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can guide a debtor through the complicated legal, financial, and emotional maze of bankruptcy and steer him or her in the right direction for the future.

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Frequently Asked Questions about Bankruptcy

Q: Are there alternatives to filing bankruptcy?

A: If the debtor's financial problems are only temporary, he or she can simply ask creditors to accept lower payments or grant an extended payment schedule. Creditors may be receptive to these ideas if the debtor has been a prompt payer in the past or if they wish to avoid the inconvenience of a bankruptcy proceeding. Consumer credit counselors can also help creditors work out a repayment plan. Some of these advisors work for non-profit agencies, so they charge no fees, but others charge a fee or may even be unscrupulous and should therefore be avoided.

Q: Does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharge eliminate all debts?

A: A Chapter 13 bankruptcy discharges only those debts provided for by the plan. In addition, a Chapter 13 discharge does not affect outstanding debts or ongoing obligations for spousal and child support; educational loans; drunk driving liabilities; criminal fines and restitution obligations; and certain other long-term obligations that extend beyond the term of the plan, such as home mortgages.

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Featured Practice Areas:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Predatory Lending Personal Injury Medical Malpractice

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Bankruptcy reform has been a hot topic for Congress since 1994 when legislation was introduced... more ...

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