Estates Lawyer | Pittsburgh, PA | James E. Miscavage, Attorney | 412-653-5711

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A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case is a proceeding under federal law where the debtor seeks relief under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 7 deals with liquidation. The Bankruptcy Code is a federal law. A person who files a Chapter 7 case is called a debtor. In a Chapter 7 case, the debtor must turn any property that is unprotected by exemptions over to the trustee. In most cases, bankruptcy counsel can protect your home, car, IRA's, household goods, bank accounts, clothing, and other personal property from the trustee.

You would know in advance of any filing what, if any, property might be lost. The debtor receives a Chapter 7 discharge and all debts are wiped out. Debts that are secured by liens such as a car or home are not wiped out. In order to keep the vehicle and house, you must continue to make payments if you wish to keep these items. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy from beginning to end usually  takes five to six months.

Not all people are eligible for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case. In 2005 Congress enacted a change and now requires means testing. For example, two people who make more than $54,091.00 may not be eligible to file a Chapter 7. Each case is fact specific and has to be examined separately by bankruptcy counsel. Do not automatically assume, if your income is at a certain level, you would not be eligible to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Exceptions exist and a good attorney like Mr. Miscavage will find them. In cases where debt was primarily due to business purposes, you can avoid the means test completely and file a Chapter 7.


A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case is a proceeding under Federal Law in which the debtor seeks relief under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Chapter 13 allows a person to pay all or a portion of his or her debts under the supervision and protection of the Bankruptcy Court. In a Chapter 13 case, the debtor must submit to the Court a plan for the repayment for all or a portion on his or her debt. This plan must be approved by the Court to become effective. If the Court approves the debtor's plan, most creditors will be prohibited from collecting their claims from the debtor. The debtor makes regular payments to the Chapter 13 trustee, who collects the money paid by the debtor and disburses it to creditors in the manner called for in the plan. Upon completion of the plan, the debtor is released from liability for the remainder of his or her dischargeable debts.

A Chapter 13 case is usually preferable for people who:

1. Wish to repay all or most of their unsecured debts and have the income with which to do so within a reasonable time;

2. Have valuable non-exempt property or have valuable exempt property securing debts, either of which would be lost in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy case;

3. Where you are not eligible under means testing to maintain a Chapter 7 case;

4. Where you are not eligible for a Chapter 7 discharge;

5. Where one or more substantial debts that are dischargeable under Chapter 13, but would not be dischargeable under Chapter 7.

6. You have sufficient assets with which to repay most of the debts, but you need temporary relief from creditors as a result of lawsuits or other financial pressures.

All of these issues will be dealt with at your FREE consultation.

Debt Collection Actions

Recently, in this country various creditors are suing on behalf of credit card companies for debts they have purchased. The purchase of these debts are called assignments. A large number of suits are currently pending in Allegheny County in this area. When you are sued, it is important that you see an attorney to determine if this action can be defended. Many times these suits are brought beyond the Statute of Limitations or the filings fail to comply with the Pennsylvania Rules of Court and should be dismissed. Many people will get letters from attorneys throughout Allegheny County and the surrounding counties when they have been sued by one of these creditors of which I speak.

Before you take any action, you should contact my office and obtain a FREE consultation to discuss this matter. Send me an e-mail to start your consultation now. We will send you a form to complete with a list of necessary documents to bring for your in-person consultation.

Get back on the road to financial stability. Call or e-mail us today.


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