Seeing families and businesses through tough economic times

FAQs on Bankruptcy Proceedings in New York

Comprehensive answers from lawyer Christiaan van Niekerk

In addition to Christiaan van Niekerk's many offerings for bankruptcy and debt relief clients, Mr. van Niekerk is also available to answer any questions you may have. Those he frequently receives include:

Debt relief made easy. Contact our firm for a free case evaluation.

Hiring a compassionate, knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer greatly simplifies the process of filing for bankruptcy in New York. Christiaan van Niekerk helps clients fighting foreclosures, modifying loans and filing for bankruptcy in Schenectady and the surrounding areas. Reach out to us online or at 518.641.1626 to discuss your goals and how Mr. van Niekerk can help you.


What are some of my other debt relief options?

Bankruptcy is not a one-size-fits all solution to dealing with excessive debts. In lieu of bankruptcy, you may be able to seek relief from oppressive debts through refinancing property, loan modifications, mortgage lending, debt consolidation, debt settlement and a number of other options.

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Can I save my home from foreclosure?

Possibly. Mr. van Niekerk has helped many clients permanently halt foreclosure proceedings on their homes and may be able to do the same for you. He assesses your financial circumstances, explores your options under government programs such as the Home Affordable Foreclosure Alternatives (HAFA) Program, and negotiates with lenders regarding defaulted home loans and other complicated legal issues. Mr. van Niekerk can translate confusing jargon and — when possible — walk you through the process of stopping foreclosure on your property.

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Do I really need a lawyer?

Yes. While New York law does not require legal representation during bankruptcy or debt relief proceedings, it is strongly recommended you hire a lawyer to protect your interests and ensure paperwork is completed accurately and submitted on time.

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I've heard I can't get rid of all my debts if I file for bankruptcy. Which ones will I still have to pay?

Bankruptcy cannot get rid of unsecured debts such as:

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

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What is secured debt?

Secured debts are those backed by mortgages and pledges of collateral. Creditors may collect or pursue reimbursement for defaulted secured debts, including cars and houses.

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What is unsecured debt?

Unsecured debts are those where there are no assets or collateral reserved in the event you cannot pay. Unsecured debts range from student and personal loans to credit card bills. Those who are "creditors" in situations where unsecured debts are involved can make general claims during bankruptcy proceedings but do not have the same rights as secured creditors.

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What does filing for bankruptcy do to my credit score?

Because bankruptcy discharges many debts, filing for bankruptcy can improve your credit over time. The fact that you filed for bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for anywhere from seven to 10 years, but the large debts that lowered your score will no longer be there to damage your credit rating.

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How does an automatic stay affect me?

An automatic stay prohibits creditors from contacting you and stops collections, garnishments, foreclosures and lawsuits you are presently involved in.  It is effective as soon as your bankruptcy petition is filed and gives you a chance to deal with your present financial situation without any more harassing phone calls and letters.

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