26 Court Street, Suite 2400, Brooklyn, New York 11242
Call for a FREE Consultation 718-717-2368 Call for a FREE Consultation 718-717-2368

Frequently Asked Questions about Bankruptcy in Brooklyn and NYC

Answers from an experienced attorney serving Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island.

Bankruptcy is a complex and confusing process that can be greatly simplified with the help of a legal professional. At the Law Office of Gregory Messer, we provide attentive, courteous service to families and individuals who think bankruptcy may be a viable option for them. Some of the most common questions about bankruptcy we receive include:

Find out more about bankruptcy law in NY?

If you would like to learn more after reading the answers below and our advice on determining whether bankruptcy is right for you, contact our firm online or at 718-717-2368 to schedule a free initial consultation. We serve residents throughout Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Staten Island and Long Island.

To ensure every client’s filing receives the attention it deserves, we are an appointment-only law firm with flexible hours adjustable to fit your needs.

What is the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act?
Enacted in 2005, the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act is designed to set more stringent requirements for filing for bankruptcy. It requires debtors to seek credit counseling prior to filing and take a means test to determine whether they are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. It also extends the amount of time a debtor must wait to file for bankruptcy and contains many other adjustments to the bankruptcy process a qualified lawyer can explain.

Back to top

Can I file for bankruptcy without an attorney?
Yes, but it is strongly recommended you hire an attorney with in-depth knowledge of federal bankruptcy law and New York filing procedures. Bankruptcy contains many complicated issues and one misstep can result in grave consequences.

Back to top

Does filing for bankruptcy get rid of all my debts?
No. Under federal law, debtors are still responsible for paying:

  • Alimony
  • Child support
  • Fraudulent debts
  • Certain back taxes
  • Student loans
  • Certain fines or penalties owed to government agencies
  • Certain credit card purchases and cash advances made within recent months

There are some instances where taxes will be dischargeable. Attorney Gregory Messer can help you determine whether you are eligible to discharge back taxes owed.

Back to top

What assets are considered exempt?
Real, personal and intangible properties are all potentially exempt assets. Exempt assets must be valued under a certain amount and should be listed in your bankruptcy petition to be approved or denied. Once approved as exempt property, these assets are protected from all collection efforts. Typical exempt assets in New York include homesteads, vehicles, retirement assets, and personal property such as books and wedding rings.

Back to top

What does an automatic stay do?
An automatic stay prohibits creditors and debt collection agencies from attempting to collect money from you. It takes place as soon as your bankruptcy paperwork is filed, and it effectively puts a stop to all telephone calls, letters, repossessions, lawsuits, wage garnishments and foreclosure proceedings. The bankruptcy court you file with will issue a notice to all creditors notifying them of your bankruptcy petition.

Back to top

Will filing for bankruptcy destroy my credit score?
Filing for bankruptcy can actually help your credit score — over time. Most individuals see their credit scores improve after bankruptcy because many debts are discharged when your bankruptcy becomes final. In some ways, bankruptcy truly does give you the opportunity to create a fresh start!

Back to top

How long does bankruptcy stay on my record?
Depending on the form, bankruptcy can stay on your record for anywhere between seven to 10 years.

Back to top

What is Chapter 11 bankruptcy?
Rarer than Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, Chapter 11 bankruptcy is used by businesses that believe they can pay off their debts by restructuring themselves. Many businesses that file Chapter 11 remain open as they develop and execute a debt repayment plan. A court-appointed trustee supervises the business to ensure they comply with reorganization guidelines.

Back to top


Contact Form

We will respond to your inquiry in a timely fashion. Thank you.

Quick Contact Form