Bryan P. Keenan & Associates, P.C.
Free, Fresh-Start Consultation 412-923-4941

Providing The Advice And Options You Need To Overcome Financial Problems And Move Forward

A bankruptcy attorney who cares about you and your future. Don't let debt problems disrupt and define your life.

Bryan P. Keenan

Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Legal Blog

The requirements of Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an important legal process that allows individuals to take control over their debts and work toward securing financial freedom. As readers of this Pittsburgh bankruptcy and debt relief blog may know, there is more than one form of bankruptcy that may serve the needs of debtors.

However, one of the most commonly utilized forms of bankruptcy is Chapter 7 bankruptcy and this post will discuss some of its requirements.

Credit card debt and helping you regain financial control

As the year comes to an end, there are many things to reflect on. While one might focus on the positive and negative events that took place, others may take a good long look at their financial situation. Maybe they experienced hardships, causing them to rely more and more on credit cards. It may be possible that one splurged far too often, putting big purchases on credit cards. No matter the cause for credit card debt, if a debtor seeks to resolve their debt problems, there are ways to better manage debt or even eliminate it.

When credit card debt becomes unmanageable and bills go unpaid, one is likely to experience ongoing calls from creditors seeking payment. It can feel like harassment and can further overwhelm an individual who is already consumed by debt. At the law firm of Bryan P. Keenan & Associates, P.C., our attorneys are available to help debtors navigate this difficult situation.

Holiday shoppers still paying off last year's debt

The holiday season is here, and all throughout Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, shoppers may still be searching for the perfect gifts for their friends and loved ones. As they search shops and online for the presents, they hope to surprise others with they may be aware of the growing balances on their credit cards. It is not unusual for shoppers to spend a little more money than they intend during the holidays, but it may surprise some readers to know how long it takes people to pay that debt off.

According to Nerd Wallet, close to 50 million Americans are still carrying debt from their 2018 holiday shopping. A full year later, shoppers are still managing payments on the purchases they made as they bought gifts and other goods during the prior holiday season. As shoppers spend more this year, that existing debt may compile into bigger sums that may become too unwieldy for shoppers to handle.

Why is a lawyer useful in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

When thinking about filing for bankruptcy in Pittsburgh, there are many factors that can cause a person to decide to just wait a little while longer and see if they can find a way to get out of debt without needing to use Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It can be a fearful proposition to take that step to go to court and declare bankruptcy. One concern that people will have is the need to hire an attorney. In some cases, they might decide that they can file on their own without a lawyer and achieve the desired outcome.

Of course, this is possible. However, there are various reasons why a lawyer can be helpful, and it is advisable to understand the complexities of the process before taking the drastic and often unwise step of filing without a lawyer. The U.S. Bankruptcy Courts advise people to have legal assistance.

Difficulty saving money could be a sign of future debt problems

The holiday season often leads to financial difficulty, particularly for families that already have a relatively tight budget. Many people feel obligated to travel to visit family members in November for Thanksgiving and in December for Christmas. It isn't hard to imagine how all of that travel could destroy someone's budget.

Even if you don't have to travel far to visit loved ones, you will likely still need to purchase gifts, which can often mean assuming credit card debt for several months. As if that weren't difficult enough, if you host the holiday gathering, you will also have to provide refreshments and lodging for your family out of town.

Medical expenses and credit card debt are a troubling combination

Pittsburgh residents can find themselves facing overwhelming debt for many reasons. Two of the most common are medical expenses and credit card debt. Individually, these are worrisome. When people use credit cards to pay for medical care, they can quickly run up massive bills with few ways to get out of debt. When dealing with this stressful situation, having legal advice from a law firm experienced in helping people with medical and credit card debt might be beneficial.

A recent survey from CompareCards indicates that one-third of consumers who have credit card debt have accrued a balance by paying for medical expenses. Even more troubling, nearly 10% of people who paid for medical costs using a credit card have amassed at least $10,000 in debt. Considering the interest rates on credit cards, even for those with good credit, it will take significant time to pay off that debt.

Should I worry about a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge revocation?

Pittsburgh residents who file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy do so under the belief that their debts will be cleared after the process is completed. Once they have followed all the requirements of a Chapter 7 liquidation, they have a reasonable belief that they can move forward. Still, there are concerns that debtors might have even after they have completed their filing. One concern is that the Chapter 7 approval might be revoked.

Understanding the circumstances under which the discharge can be revoked is useful if there is an attempt on the part of the bankruptcy trustee to do so. The trustee or a creditor can ask that the court revoke the discharge if it was obtained through fraudulent means. For example, if the person did not inform the court of property that would have been subject to liquidation had the court been aware of it, the discharge could be revoked.

Survey shows young people continue to have problems with debt

Many people in various age groups are experiencing problems with credit card debt for a variety of reasons. Frequently mentioned in these discussions are millennials. While these individuals need help getting on stronger financial ground, the strategies used to achieve this goal are universal, regardless of the circumstances. Legal advice can be beneficial to clear debt.

In a recent survey, 51.5% of people who took part stated that they had credit card debt. Of the participants, 54% told the researchers they owed less than $5,000 in credit card debt. The rest owed more than $5,000, with 9% owing between $10,000 and $20,000; 4.5% owing $20,000 to $30,000; and 4.5% owing over $30,000.

Personal bankruptcy and its impact on credit scores

Regardless of the level of debt a Pittsburgh resident has, one of the main obstacles to moving forward with personal bankruptcy is concern about how it will damage credit. This is true whether it is a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in which there is a liquidation of the person's assets; or a Chapter 13 bankruptcy where a payment plan is initiated and the person makes reasonable payments that he or she can afford, generally over a five-year period.

This is an understandable worry and it is important to think about how the credit reports will be affected. Often, people find that the positives of a bankruptcy far outweigh the negatives such as credit issues.

Questions to ask when calling an attorney for bankruptcy help

You've finally come to the realization that bankruptcy may be the only way to escape your debt and live a better financial life in the future. While it's a stressful time, taking the right steps at the right time will help ease the tension and put you on the right path to success.

While you have the legal right to file for bankruptcy on your own, it's typically best to consult with an experienced attorney. Here are some of the many questions to ask when discussing your situation with a bankruptcy attorney for the first time:

  • Does it make sense for me to file for bankruptcy? You've done your research, but you still don't know everything about bankruptcy law. Your attorney can review the basics of your situation, and then provide feedback on whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 makes sense at the present time.
  • What type of bankruptcy is the right choice? There are many differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For example, you can discharge some or all of your debt in Chapter 7, thus giving you a fresh start. But with Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you're required to use a repayment plan to pay back some of the money you owe.
  • How long does bankruptcy take? This depends on a variety of factors, including the type of bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the quicker of the two, with the process typically coming to an end within six months. With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can expect your repayment plan to last three to five years.
  • What's the best way to prepare for bankruptcy? There are things you should and shouldn't do as you close in on bankruptcy. It's critical to collect all necessary financial records, such as tax returns, pay stubs and bank account statements. At the same time, you want to avoid things such as gifting assets in an attempt to hide them from the court.
Email us for a Response

Solutions May Be Just An Email Away

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Bryan P. Keenan & Associates, P.C.

993 Greentree Road
Suite 101
Pittsburgh, PA 15220

Phone: 412-923-4941
Fax: 412-444-0158
Pittsburgh Law Office Map