Helping You Understand Common Bankruptcy Terms
For the attorneys at Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., in Maplewood, New Jersey, bankruptcy law is second nature. But our clients need clear and easy-to-understand explanations when they seek answers about their situation. We can help and have assembled a list of common bankruptcy terms for our clients in Essex County and throughout New Jersey.
This lawsuit, which is filed in bankruptcy court, is related to the debtor’s case. It can include complaints that establish the validity of liens and verify dischargeability.
Items you have a legal interest in or which you own and have value. Even when you are making payments, things like houses and household goods, cars, and bank accounts are all deemed to be assets.
A legal agreement for a bankruptcy trustee to take over a contract or lease on its original terms. The contract or lease must be unexpired.
An injunction that prevents creditors from taking collection actions against a debtor as a result of a bankruptcy filing. Collection actions include foreclosures, wage garnishments and lawsuits against the debtor.
The legal process of addressing debt and financial distress for individuals and businesses. Bankruptcy cases are categorized under the chapters of Title 11 of the United States Code.
The commonly used name for the federal bankruptcy law, comprising of Title 11 of the United States Code (11 U.S.C. §§ 101-1330).
The legal and equitable interests held by a debtor when filing for bankruptcy. This property does not necessarily need to be owned or held by the debtor, as long as he or she has an interest in the property.
The U.S. District Court official with final decision-making power over bankruptcy cases that fall within federal jurisdiction.
Legal documents that when submitted to the bankruptcy court by the debtor (in a voluntary case) or by creditors (in an involuntary case) start a case.
An individual who represents a debtor’s estate during Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
This type of bankruptcy case occurs when the person filing for bankruptcy is an individual associated with a business or the business itself. The debts accrued are related to business needs.
A debtor’s unsecured debts (normally credit cards, doctor’s bills and personal loans) are cleared through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy proceeding. Often times, people are able to retain their home, car and all of their belongings, but if they can’t bring their mortgage or car payments current in a timely manner, they may lose them.
A reorganization bankruptcy conventionally employed by partnerships and corporations but available for individuals, as well. Under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the debtor maintains their business by proposing a plan to repay creditors over a specified period.
The chapter of the Bankruptcy Code providing debt relief for debtors with consistent income, often referred to as a “wage earner” plan. The debtor files a Chapter 13 plan to repay debts over a period of three to five years while maintaining possession of their property.
Chapter 13 plan
In a Chapter 13 filing, a person proposes a plan to repay creditors a portion or all of the money owed. The Chapter 13 plan has to be approved by the court at the Chapter 13 confirmation hearing.
Chapter 13 trustee
A person appointed to administer a Chapter 13 case.
A proof of claim, which is filed by a creditor or someone to whom you owe money during a bankruptcy case, tells the court how much is owed to them.
Approval of a plan of reorganization by a bankruptcy judge.
This court hearing is part of a Chapter 13 case. It is for a judge to approve your Chapter 13 plan. Often, you are not required to appear for this meeting as your attorney works things out ahead of time with the Chapter 13 trustee.
A bankruptcy case filed to reduce or eliminate debts caused by fulfilling personal needs.
Compensation owed for goods or services not related to a business.
A person or business that claims it is entitled to compensation from the debtor.
This term can refer to either:
- Online education provided by an approved credit agency before an individual can file for any chapter of bankruptcy
- Personal financial management education required in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy before a discharge can be entered
Any individual seeking debt relief services under federal bankruptcy law.
Money that is owed.
The party being sued in a lawsuit.
The legal term for clearing debts through bankruptcy. A debt cannot be legally collected when it has been discharged. However, a lien that secures the debt is not automatically wiped out.
A debt that can be eliminated in accordance with the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
Necessary information provided by a debtor under Chapter 11 that allows creditors to evaluate a proposed reorganization plan.
This is the amount of income the debtor has after all expenses such as bills and bankruptcy expenses are taken out.
Property that a debtor is allowed to retain, free from the claims of creditors that do not have liens on the property.
A transfer of a debtor’s property made with the intent to defraud or for which the debtor receives less than the transferred property’s value.
The characterization of a debtor’s status after bankruptcy, since the debtor is free of most, if not all, debts.
A single bankruptcy petition filed by both spouses disclosing their combined financial situation.
The sale of a debtor’s assets for the purposes of paying off debts.
An evaluation of a debtor’s income to determine their eligibility for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
A request by a litigant to a judge for a decision on an issue relating to the case.
Motion to lift the automatic stay
A request by a creditor to resume collection actions against a debtor that would be blocked or prevented by the stay.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy in which the debtor has no assets eligible for liquidation to pay off their debts.
A debt that is not eligible for elimination under bankruptcy. Nondischargeable debts may include student loans, spousal and child support payments, tax debts, and compensation owed for DUI-related death or injury.
Property of a debtor that can be liquidated to satisfy claims of creditors.
Objection to discharge
Disagreement by the creditor or trustee that the debtor should be released from his or her liability to debts.
This is the document that starts the bankruptcy case after it has been filed with the court. What takes place before this is filed is called “pre-petition” and events that happen after you have filed the petition are called “post-petition.”
A change in ownership of the debtor’s assets or property once a petition has been filed successfully, usually into the custody of the trustee.
Preferential debt payment
Pre-petition payments to a creditor that exceed the amount the creditor would receive in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. The pre-petition window for these payments to be considered is 90 days prior to the filing.
A statutory ranking system used to determine which unsecured claims should be paid if there are insufficient funds to fulfill all debts in full.
An unsecured claim determined by the bankruptcy code to be paid before other unsecured claims.
Proof of claim
Creditors file this document, which states how much they are owed and the reason this money is owed, with the bankruptcy court stating.
Property of the estate
All legal or equitable interests held by the debtor at the time of a successful filing.
When personal liability is assumed for debt that a bankruptcy case would normally discharge.
A contract specifying that the debtor will continue fulfilling a dischargeable debt once the case has been completed. Reaffirmation agreements typically allow a debtor to avoid repossession of collateral or mortgaged property.
This process, which is part of a Chapter 7 case, is when the debtor pays what is owed to the creditor and regains their property.
Documents used to supplement the bankruptcy petition detailing the debtor’s assets, income, and liabilities.
When a creditor secures a loan through collateral, they are known as a secured creditor. Often times, car loans and mortgages are secured. This means if you fail to make payments, a secured creditor can take the collateral through repossession or foreclosure.
A debt backed by collateral, such as a home mortgage, car loan or tax lien. Failure to repay a secure debt can result in repossession of the collateral property.
Statement of financial affairs
An official form in which debtor provides information about sources of income, property transfers, and lawsuits the debtor is facing.
Statement of intention
A document explaining a Chapter 7 debtor’s plan for addressing personal debts backed by the bankruptcy estate.
An exploratory meeting in which a debtor’s financial affairs are evaluated by approved parties. These parties may include creditors, an examiner, a U.S. trustee or the bankruptcy trustee. The debtor is questioned under oath as required by Section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code.
Debts that are not backed by property or liens; in most cases, credit was issued based upon the expectation that the debtor would be able to repay the debt in a timely manner.
A nonbankruptcy legal proceeding whereby a plaintiff or creditor seeks to have part of the debtor’s future wages paid to the creditor for a debt owed to the creditor.
We Know What We’re Talking About, So Call Now
Levitt & Slafkes, P.C., in Maplewood, New Jersey, is a group of skilled attorneys who understand bankruptcy law and know how to successfully guide clients through the legal process. We are attentive, provide thorough explanations, and are prepared to help. Contact our law firm online or call us at 973-323-2953.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.