experience & dedication...

Alkalay & Smillie, PLLC

in Mt. Washington Valley, New Hampshire

Office: (603) 447-8994
Fax: (603) 297-2866

Articles of Interest

Attorney Edward Alkalay writes a regular column for the Conway Daily Sun newspaper entitled "The Legal Corner." His articles address a wide variety of timely legal issues. Click on the titles below to review his past articles.

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The Legal Corner: The Legal Corner: More Bankruptcy Questions Answered

August 10, 2010

Over the past two years, I have written several articles about bankruptcy law and the bankruptcy process. Many people continue to ask me questions about their own particular situation and new questions are raised at least once a week. Everyone who may be considering bankruptcy has a different situation with different considerations. For some people, it makes sense to file for bankruptcy immediately. For others it makes more sense to wait several months or longer. For others, there are options short of bankruptcy or bankruptcy simply does not make sense for them. This article will address the most common personal and small business Chapter 7 bankruptcy questions.
(1) What kind of debts can get discharged in bankruptcy? With few exceptions, virtually all debts can be discharged in bankruptcy. The most common debts that I see are from unexpected medical expenses and credit card debt. Both of these debts can be discharged.
(2) What kind of debts cannot be discharged? Secured debts such as a home mortgage cannot be discharged. The bankruptcy code lists a number of other debts which cannot be discharged, including: taxes and tax liens, student loans, alimony and child support (domestic support obligations), debts obtained through fraud, and condominium or cooperative association fees or assessments, among others.
(3) If I file for bankruptcy, will creditors stop calling, threatening, and harassing me? Yes. Surprisingly, the number one thing that has prompted many people to come to my office and ask about filing bankruptcy is not the debt itself, but the constant harassment by creditors. Fortunately, you can stop this conduct immediately. Once a petition is filed, creditors cannot call or write you demanding payment. All actions against a debtor, even if filed in court, must also stop. Only certain secured creditors can get a bankruptcy stay lifted.
(4) If I file for bankruptcy, can I keep my home? Yes. There is a homestead exemption in New Hampshire of up to $100,000.00. There are a number of other exemptions designed to allow you to get a fresh start after the bankruptcy is completed and to keep your home. Warning: Do not pay credit card debts or other debts before you pay your mortgage. If you want to keep your home, your mortgage payments must have priority.
(5) Will my credit be damaged permanently? No. Your credit will be damaged in the short term, but as time goes on your credit can recover. 
People generally feel bad about filing for bankruptcy. Most people who have spoken to me over the past year about bankruptcy issues invariably explain how they have always prided themselves in paying their bills and how it hurts to be in a position where they are no longer able to do so. Bankruptcy is not a negative - it enables those with unmanageable debt to start again. If you have creditors harassing you, bills continually coming in, and are worried about how you will get through it all, you should consider bankruptcy.

Edward D. Alkalay is a partner at Alkalay & Smillie PLLC and can be reached at (603)447-8994 or ed@northconwaylawyers.com. (This article conveys general information and should not be relied on for legal advice without further research and/or consultation with an attorney.)

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By: Edward D. Alkalay