An Overview of an Emergency Bankruptcy Filing
An emergency bankruptcy filing, which is also referred to as a “skeletal petition,” offers you many of the same protections as other bankruptcies but in an expedited manner. Reasons for an emergency bankruptcy filing include to avoid a vehicle repossession, eviction, sheriff’s sale or foreclosure judgment, wage garnishments or bank levy, and other adverse circumstances.
Usually, once you file a bankruptcy application, you will be granted an automatic stay by the court. This means you will temporarily be free from wage garnishments and other immediate collection efforts from creditors. Most routine bankruptcy filings, such as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, will consist of more than 50 pages; emergency bankruptcies are merely a fraction of that.
That doesn’t mean, however, that you are off the hook for the rest of the information. You have 14 days after your skeletal petition was initiated to file the rest of the pertinent documents. If any part of a bankruptcy filing is inaccurate, your application could be denied and your case automatically dismissed. Penalties for falsifying information can include prison time.
What Information Do I Need?
In addition to the bankruptcy petition itself, you will generally need the following items (some situations require supplementary information):
- Creditor Matrix. This is simply a comprehensive list. You create a list of your creditors, their addresses, and any co-debtors. The court uses this document to contact your creditors to inform them of your filing.
- Statement of Social Security. A stand-alone form with your social security number on it, this will not be shared publicly – it is only for the court.
- Certificate of Credit Counseling. In New Jersey, you must show the court you conferred with a credit counselor before filing for bankruptcy. If you have not completed this step before needing to file for emergency bankruptcy, you must apply for a waiver.
- Court Filing Fee. You must pay a monetary fee when filing for bankruptcy unless your income is below the poverty level. The amount varies, and is periodically adjusted by the Federal government, but, as of the date of this posting, the filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is $335 and for a Chapter 13 the filing fee is $310. In limited circumstances, you may also apply to have your fee waived or pay over time through installments.
We strongly believe that any bankruptcy filing is not an indictment of your character. If you are even considering filing, we understand that you are in a vulnerable phase. Depending on your financial situation, we can help determine whether or not an emergency bankruptcy is the best option for you. Schedule a free consultation with us today or call us at (908) 738-8245.