Bankruptcy / New York / Chapter 7

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy New York: 3 Things You Need to Know

Written by Ben Tejes
Updated Oct 21st, 2021

You may have experienced a financial hardship and are considering filing bankruptcy in New York, specifically Chapter 7 bankruptcy. 

There are 3 important things to consider when pursuing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York:

  1. Do you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  2. What are the alternatives to Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
  3. What is specific need-to-know Chapter 7 bankruptcy information for New York?

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common bankruptcy in the United States. For example, I would not be surprised if the majority of the 16,723 bankruptcies filed in New York in the year ending June 30th, 2021 were Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Let’s get started to understand why Chapter 7 is a popular choice in New York.

1) How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works in New York

Many people we speak with care about two things:

  1. How fast they can get relief from their debt burden.
  2. How much is costs to get out of their debt burden?

When comparing debt-relief options, Chapter 7 bankruptcy often wins in both categories over alternatives such a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, debt negotiation, debt management, and debt payoff planning. Let’s explore those variables in greater detail.

How Fast Do You Get Relief in A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New York

You can often get a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge in as little as 120 days in New York. That is the typical time it takes to complete a no-asset Chapter 7 case in New York. No-asset generally means that you do not own a home or other assets that may be above the New York bankruptcy exemptions.  

How Much Does It Cost To File Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy cost nationwide tends to be between $500 and $3000. That said, Chapter 7 bankruptcy cost in New York is different. 

The Chapter 7 bankruptcy cost may even be different if you are filing in Rochester vs. Buffalo. For example, you may pay a Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney fee of $1,170 in Rochester, but pay a bankruptcy attorney fee of $1,950 in New York City.

You should check the cost to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York for specific information about the cost in your city.

Also, there are instances where the cost to file bankruptcy can be reduced based on a filing fee waiver. You should consider seeing the information related to New York filing fee waiver.

So, How Do I Qualify For Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New York?

Chapter 7 bankruptcies are intended for people who cannot afford to pay any portion of their debts. However, you must first pass an income evaluation to qualify for a bankruptcy discharge (forgiveness of debt) in Chapter 7.

If you pass the New York bankruptcy means test (which you can estimate below), you can erase most unsecured debts through Chapter 7. Unsecured debts discharged in Chapter 7 include medical bills, personal loans, some old income tax debt, old utility bills, credit card debts, and most personal judgments. Unsecured creditors hold debts that are not secured by collateral. 

What about secured debts in Chapter 7?

If, however, you want to get rid of secured debts, like car loans and mortgages in Chapter 7, you need to surrender the asset to the creditor. The creditor must accept the asset as full payment of the amount owed. 

Let’s go into how you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

IMPORTANT: Chapter 7 Qualification via New York Means Test

An important element in filing for bankruptcy relief is the Bankruptcy Means Test. The Means Test is a bankruptcy form that calculates your average monthly and annual income. The test compares your income against the median income of other households in New York.

If your average annual income or median income is below the New York median income, you may qualify for a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7. You can estimate whether you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy using the free New York Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test Calculator below.

 

Help! My Income Exceeded The Chapter 7 Means Test Allowable in New York

If your median income is above the state median income, you may need to look at part 2 of the means test or at an alternative. 

The Means Test is a two-part test, so it is not a simple pass-fail test. If you “fail” the first section, you can “pass” the second section and still qualify under Chapter 7.  

You can learn more about passing the Chapter 7 means test when income exceeds the median.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy New York Income Limits

The New York median income figures for the Means Test are adjusted periodically, based on IRS and Census Bureau data. New York median income for bankruptcy cases filed on or after May 15, 2021, is:

# of PeopleAnnual Income
1$60,696
2$77,159
3$92,508
4$112,424
5$121,424
6$130,424
7$139,424
8$148,424
9$157,424

For New York households with more than 9 members, add $9,000 for each additional family member. You should always double-check the US Trustees website for the most current figures when calculating the Means Test.

Will I lose my belongings if I file Chapter 7 bankruptcy? Understand New York bankruptcy exemptions

Bankruptcy exemptions protect the equity in your property in a bankruptcy case. Likewise, property not protected by bankruptcy exemptions may be sold in a Chapter 7 liquidation case. Note also that for Chapter 13 cases, non-exempt equity in the property can increase the bankruptcy plan payment. 

The most important asset most people like to protect is their home. See the New York bankruptcy homestead exemption below.

The homestead exemption is often broken down by age and whether you are married. 

  • Single and under 65: Specific By Region

  • Single is 65 or older: Specific By Region

  • Married and under 65: Specific By Region

  • Married is 65 or older: Specific By Region

New York specific homestead bankruptcy exemption text: “N.Y. Civ. Prac. L. and R. § 5206(a). *Real property including co-op, condo, or mobile home, to $165,550 for the counties of Kings, New York, Queens, Bronx, Richmond, Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, and Putnam; $131,325 for the counties of Dutchess, Albany, Columbia, Orange, Saratoga, and Ulster; $82,775 for the remaining counties in the state. Husband and wife may double.” (Source)

It is important to review additional New York bankruptcy exemptions and choose those exemptions that best protect your assets.

The federal bankruptcy exemptions are detailed in 11 U.S. Code §522. The National Consumer Law Center maintains a list of federal bankruptcy exemptions on its website. New York is a state that allows you to use federal bankruptcy exemptions

Always check that you use the most current information available when analyzing bankruptcy exemptions. 


2) Alternatives to Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New York

Let’s cover the Chapter 7 bankruptcy alternatives in New York in case you do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, have too many assets, or do not wish to pursue Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

a) Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in New York

For those who make above the income limit for Chapter 7, debt relief can still come through a filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in New York case allows you to restructure your debts into an affordable monthly plan. By restructuring debts, many people can afford to keep their homes and vehicles under Chapter 13.

Chapter 13 stops foreclosures, repossessions, and wage garnishments. Chapter 13 bankruptcy also allows you to pay back mortgage payments, past-due car payments, and tax debt over three to five years through a bankruptcy plan. In addition, New York may also allow you to reduce unpaid child support and alimony. However, you must resume your normal domestic support payments to remain in Chapter 13.

In a Chapter 13 plan, some debtors (the person filing the bankruptcy case) can lower their car loan payments and erase second mortgages, if they meet certain requirements. 

Can you afford Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Let’s say you do not qualify for a New York Chapter 7 bankruptcy and are wondering whether you should pursue a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Can you afford it? It may be odd to ask whether you can afford bankruptcy, but it’s an important question to ask.

To understand whether you can potentially afford a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you may want to take the Chapter 13 calculator below to estimate whether you can afford the monthly payment. 

b) Debt Settlement in New York

Debt settlement can be less expensive than both Debt Management and Debt Payoff Planning because the debt management company is negotiating a lower amount on your total debt. We covered the pricing estimate differences in our article covering debt management vs debt settlement.

You should consider the following if you are pursuing debt settlement: Credit score impact, debt settlement pros and cons, and avoiding Debt Settlement companies with red flags.

c) New York Debt Management

Debt settlement companies negotiate lower amounts. Debt management companies negotiate lower interest rates. This is the key distinction. Often these programs last 3 or 5 years. This option is often more expensive than debt settlement and some creditors such as personal loan lenders may not work with the debt management company. There may be debt management credit score implications as well.

Who may debt management in New York best for? Debt management may be best for those that have all high-interest credit card debt, and a reduction from 22-30% interest rate to a 10% interest rate would continue to make the debt affordable.

d) New York Debt Payoff Planning

You may be able to get out of debt through debt payoff planning, which is often a combination of trying to reduce expenses and putting extra cash into specific debts to avoid interest. You may not be able to do this because of the size of the financial hardship, but if you are interested, we build the Savvy debt payoff planner to help prioritize your debts. The app saves about $2,000 in interest on average by using the savvy debt payoff method instead of the snowball debt payoff method.

3) Specific New York Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Information:

Let’s say you went through the 2 steps above and are now considering whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the right choice for you. Let’s go through some attributes about filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York that would be helpful to consider.

New York Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Credit Counseling and Debtor Education Courses

When you file for bankruptcy relief under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must complete two bankruptcy courses to receive a bankruptcy discharge. This includes a credit counseling course prior to filing a bankruptcy case, and a debtor education course after filing. See below the approved courses for New York

The United States Trustee’s office has approved state-specific companies that offer bankruptcy courses. You can access a list of companies in New York offering bankruptcy courses on the UST website. Both courses are available online for a small fee.

New York Chapter 7 bankruptcy Court Locations

Many 341 meetings of creditors have been over the phone or over Zoom due to the pandemic. That said, you may want to see where the courthouse is in New York if there are any meetings that need to take place in person. Below are the court locations for filing bankruptcy based on the bankruptcy district.

Northern District

  • Suite 509
    445 Broadway
    Albany, NY 12207
  • Binghamton U.S. Courthouse
    15 Henry St.
    Binghamton, NY 13901
  • The Gateway Building
    14 Durkee St.
    Plattsburgh, NY 12901
  • 100 S. Clinton St.
    Syracuse, NY 13261
  • 10 Broad St.
    Utica, NY 13501

Southern

  • 500 Pearl Street
    New York, New York 10007
  • 300 Quarropas Street
    White Plains, New York 10601

Eastern

  • 225 Cadman Plaza East
    Brooklyn, NY 11201
  • 100 Federal Plaza
    Central Islip, NY 11722`

Western

  • 2 Niagara Square
    Buffalo, NY 14202
  • 100 State Street
    Rochester, NY 14614


Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Trustees New York

Below are the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustees in New York broken out by bankruptcy district. You can also find the list here

DistrictNamePhone
EasternR. Kenneth Barnard(516) 809-9397
EasternDavid J. Doyaga(718) 488-7500
EasternLori Lapin Jones(516) 466-4110
EasternKenneth I. Kirschenbaum(516) 747-6700
EasternDebra Kramer(516) 482-6300
EasternPaul I. Krohn(718) 875-7431
EasternRichard J. McCord(516) 794-1616
EasternAllan B. Mendelsohn(516) 921-1670
EasternGregory M. Messer(718) 858-1474
EasternRobert J. Musso(718) 237-9059
EasternAlan Nisselson(212) 237-1000
EasternJohn S. Pereira(212) 758-5777
EasternMarc A. Pergament(516) 877-2424
EasternRobert L. Pryor(516) 997-0999
EasternKenneth P. Silverman(516) 479-6300
EasternRichard L. Stern631)549-7900
EasternAndrew M. Thaler(516) 279-6700
NorthernNeil T. Bhatt(315) 713-4837
NorthernPhilip J. Danaher(518) 463-4383
NorthernSteven R. Dolson(315) 423-3328
NorthernChristian H. Dribusch(518) 729-4331
NorthernMarc S. Ehrlich(518) 272-2110
NorthernMary Lannon Fangio(315) 472-7832
NorthernThomas P. Hughes(315) 223-3043
NorthernWilliam J. Leberman(315) 478-1334
NorthernPaul A. Levine(518) 433-8800
NorthernWilliam M. McCarthy(518) 434-6141
NorthernMichael J. O'Connor(518) 465-0400
NorthernDevin L. Palmer(585) 232-5300
NorthernRandy J. Schaal(315) 363-6888
NorthernDouglas J. Wolinsky(802) 864-0880
SouthernYann Geron(212) 209-3050
SouthernSalvatore LaMonica(516) 826-6500
SouthernHoward P. Magaliff(646) 453-7851
SouthernJil Mazer-Marino(516) 357-3858
SouthernGregory M. Messer(718) 858-1474
SouthernAlan Nisselson(212) 237-1000
SouthernMarianne T. O'Toole(914) 232-1511
SouthernJohn S. Pereira(212) 758-5777
SouthernDeborah J. Piazza(212) 216-1140
SouthernKenneth P. Silverman(516) 479-6300
SouthernFred Stevens(212) 679-5342
SouthernAngela G. Tese-Milner(212) 475-3673
SouthernAlbert Togut(212) 594-5000
SouthernMark S. Tulis(914) 747-4400
WesternDaniel Evans Brick(716) 693-2335
WesternWendy J. Christophersen(716) 852-7373
WesternKenneth W. Gordon(585) 244-1070
WesternMorris L. Horwitz(716) 830-3279
WesternDouglas J. Lustig(585) 232-3730
WesternMark J. Schlant(716) 855-3200


In addition to the above, review New York local bankruptcy rules before filing a bankruptcy case. Some local rules may differ slightly from the Federal Bankruptcy Rules.

Conclusion

Hopefully, now you know much more about Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York. You can take the Chapter 7 bankruptcy means test calculator below if you’re interested to estimate qualification and cost.

For more information about Chapter 7 bankruptcy, check out our Chapter 7 bankruptcy process. You also may want to consider the Chapter 7 bankruptcy pros and cons.

Most people work with a bankruptcy attorney in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, but there is the option to file without a bankruptcy attorney. Read filing bankruptcy without an attorney to learn how.