Law Office Of Ronald E. Norman, LLC

NJ Bankruptcy Dictionary

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Adversarial Proceeding – A lawsuit filed in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court and that involves a New Jersey bankruptcy case.  A creditor seeking relief in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case may file an adversarial proceeding to ask the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court to grant the relief that the creditor seeks. 

Affidavit – A sworn written statement that a person makes.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may require a person to sign and file an affidavit to prove certain facts.

Assets – Various types of property, like real estate, personal property that can be touched and even interests or rights to sums of money/benefits.

Assume – A contract by which a party decides to continue to perform duties under another contract.

Attorney -- A person admitted to the bar of a court and who is thereby licensed to practice law before that court or who is not a member of the bar but is permitted by the court to represent a party in a case.  An attorney may be licensed to practice law in more than one court.  This term is the same as “counsel”. 

Application – A request, usually made by a party to a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case, that a court take a certain action.  The term is the same as “motion”.  New Jersey Bankruptcy Court motions may be in writing or they may be oral.  Occasionally courts make their own motion, thereby directing that an action be taken in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case.  New Jersey Bankruptcy Court motions may be opposed by someone other than the party making the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court motion. 

Automatic stay - Filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case immediately results in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Automatic Bankruptcy Stay being applied to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor.  This New Jersey Bankruptcy Automatic Bankruptcy Stay automatically stops the following:

  • certain types of wage garnishments
  • certain types of evictions
  • lawsuits
  • repossessions
  • sheriff’s sale
  • foreclosure
  • wage garnishments
  • credit card bill collection activity
  • medical bills collection activity
  • most types of civil judgment collection activity
  • other types of collection activity, such as phone calls from bill collectors demanding payment of overdue bills
  • utility disconnections due to nonpayment of bills.   It is common for utility companies to stop providing utility services (such as electricity, water or phone services) when customers fail to pay their bills on time.

There are some exceptions to the protection provided by New Jersey Bankruptcy Cases. 

Bankruptcy - New Jersey Bankruptcy is a legal procedure for dealing with the debts of New Jersey individuals and New Jersey businesses.  To begin a New Jersey Bankruptcy, a New Jersey individual or New Jersey business, called the “petitioner,” files a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case under the Federal Government’s Bankruptcy laws -- one of the Chapters of title 11 of the United States Code (the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code).   Most New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case are looking for a fresh start by seeking to be relieved from or to receive help in paying their debts.

Bankruptcy Code The body of statutes or laws that regulate the filing of bankruptcies in New Jersey – there is a New Jersey state bankruptcy code and a federal government bankruptcy code.

Bankruptcy Creditor - A New Jersey Bankruptcy creditor is an individual or business that is owed money by a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor or that the creditor claims owes them money.

Bankruptcy Debtor - A New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor is a person filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy petition seeing relief under the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court. The following types of New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors may be able to file for a New Jersey Bankruptcy:

  • Individuals
  • Partnerships
  • Corporations; or
  • Other business entities. 

Bankruptcy Estate - A Bankruptcy estate in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case is all the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s interests in property when they file a New Jersey Bankruptcy case.  While a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case is active, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Estate is the temporary legal owner of all of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's property.  When the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor files a Bankruptcy Case, all of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s property, including property owned or held by another person in which the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor has an interest, is part of the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate.  Federal or New Jersey laws (or the laws of other states) may allow New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors filing for Bankruptcy to keep certain “exempt” property free from the claims of unsecured creditors.  Exempt property may include interest in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's primary residence and some or all tools the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor uses to make a living. If the New Jersey creditors are entitled to payment, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's creditors are usually paid from the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate’s “nonexempt” property - property able to be “liquidated” or sold to satisfy the New Jersey creditors’ claims.

Bankruptcy Judge – An official appointed by the United States government and that sits in the United States Bankruptcy Court and makes decisions about federal bankruptcy cases.

Bar – One definition of the term “bar” is the location in a courtroom where attorneys argue cases.  At one time, cases were literally argued at the bars of taverns.  Liquor was kept locked behind bars to prevent theft when the tavern stopped selling liquor for the night.  Another definition of the term “bar” is the group of attorneys who practice law before a particular court or courts.  Often it is used to refer to a group of attorneys that focus on a particular area of law before a court (such as the “Bankruptcy Bar”).  Another definition of the term “bar” is the prevention of a party from litigating an issue more than once because the issue was already decided.  This is called a “procedural bar” – to prevent a party from taking an action against another party in a case.

Bench -- The place where the judge is positioned during court proceedings.  Sometimes, the term is used to refer to the court as a whole. 

Burden Of Proof – A party’s obligation to prove its New Jersey Bankruptcy case or an issue in the New Jersey Bankruptcy case.

Business Bankruptcy Case – A bankruptcy case in which the focus is on resolving business debts rather than consumer debts.  In a business bankruptcy case, the New Jersey Debtor is a business as a limited liability company, corporation or partnership or a person who is in business as a sole proprietor.

Case At Bar – The case which a court is hearing at a particular time.

Case law -- The body of law made up of written court opinions.  Case law is made by judges rather than legislatures, who make statutory law.  Compare the terms “regulation” and “statute”.

Chambers – Offices usually located in a courthouse and in which a judge and the judge’s staff are located and where the judge conducts business when the judge is not sitting in a courtroom.

Chapter 7 New Jersey Bankruptcy Case - A New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the “liquidation” Chapter of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code.  In New Jersey Chapter 7 "liquidation" Bankruptcy cases, those assets that are not exempt from creditors are collected and liquidated (reduced to money).  New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors filing for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in New Jersey ask the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court to sell certain personal property of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors - property that is not exempt from the New Jersey Bankruptcy under the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code - and to distribute sale proceeds to creditors.   A New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is designed for individuals and married couples and individuals conducting a business as a sole proprietorship. Under a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, some debts can be discharged and you do not have to repay the debt. To qualify for a New Jersey Chapter 7 discharge your assets and income have to fall within certain guidelines. Unlike a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case, under a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors do not file a Reorganization Plan.  Under a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee collects and sells the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's nonexempt assets and uses the asset proceeds to pay certain creditors as required by the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code.  While certain property of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor is liquidated, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor may be able to keep certain property under the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code’s list of exemptions. 

Chapter 13 New Jersey Bankruptcy Case - A New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is designed for an individual debtor who has a regular source of income. New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases are often preferable to New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Cases because New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases allow New Jersey Bankruptcy debtors to keep expensive property, like a house and because New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases allow New Jersey debtors to propose a "Plan" to repay debts to creditors over a period of time of between 3 to 5 years.   New Jersey Consumer Debtors can benefit from a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy when they don’t qualify for a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy because they fail to satisfy the New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy means test.   Unlike a Chapter 7 New Jersey Bankruptcy Case, in a Chapter 13 New Jersey Bankruptcy Case, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court holds a confirmation hearing to decide whether to approve the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s Reorganization Plan depending on whether the New Jersey Bankruptcy Confirmation Plan meets the Bankruptcy Code's confirmation requirements.   Unlike a Chapter 7 New Jersey Bankruptcy, which is a “liquidation” type of New Jersey Bankruptcy, New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy debtors often keep the property of the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate and pays creditors, through the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee, based on the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor's expected income during the Chapter 13 New Jersey Bankruptcy Plan. While completing the Chapter 13 New Jersey Bankruptcy Plan, the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor is usually protected from lawsuits, garnishments and other creditor actions. 

Clerk of Court – A court employee processing cases in a court. A clerk of court is not necessarily an attorney at law.

Collateral – Property (it can be real estate, a car, a boat, equipment or some other item) promised as security to satisfy a debt.

Common law – the body of law that evolves over time as made by judges interpreting the law.  The term is also essentially the same as “case law”.  Compare the terms “regulation” and “statute”.

Complaint -- A civil action for relief that a party or their attorney files with a court.   The party who files the complaint is known as a “plaintiff” or “third party plaintiff”, depending on the type of complaint filed.

Confirmation Hearing - Either with the filing of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case or in a certain number of days after filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case, the New Jersey Debtor must file a New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court’s approval or rejection.  This New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan proposes regular payments of fixed amounts to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee, who gives the money to the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor’s creditors per the New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, which may offer creditors less than full payment on their claims.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court must approve the New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court holds a hearing to decide whether to confirm the New Jersey debtor’s New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Reorganization Plan, called a New Jersey Bankruptcy confirmation hearing.  Usually, the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor is not present at the New Jersey Bankruptcy confirmation hearing.

Creditors receive advance notice of the New Jersey Bankruptcy confirmation hearing so that the creditors can exercise their right to make objections to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court’s confirming the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.   Common objections to confirmation of a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan include:

  • payments proposed under the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan are less than the creditors could receive if the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor's assets were liquidated.
  • the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor's New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan does not offer all of the debtor's projected disposable income for the 3 or 5 year payment commitment period.

If the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court confirms the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Trustee issues money received under the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.  If the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court refuses to confirm the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor may try to solve this problem by:

  • filing a modified New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.
  • convert the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case from a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case to a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case - a “liquidation” New Jersey Bankruptcy Case.

If the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court refuses to confirm the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan or a modified New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan and instead dismisses the Case, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may allow the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee to keep some money for costs but the rest of the money left that wasn’t already due or given to creditors is refunded to the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor.

Sometimes a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan must be changed, such as when:

  • the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor’s financial situation changes and they have difficulty making the payments proposed under the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.
  • a creditor may object or threaten to object to a Plan unless the Plan is changed.
  • the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor did not include all creditors on the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.

Consumer Bankruptcy – A bankruptcy case in which the focus is resolving consumer debts instead of business debts.

Consumer Debts – Debts that a New Jersey Debtor accrues for personal needs and not for business needs.

Contingent claim – A claim that is dependent upon (or contingent on) the happening of a future event, such as where a New Jersey Debtor cosigns for someone else’s loan.  The debt may not come develop into an obligation to pay until the primary signer on the loan fails to make payments and thereby defaults on paying the loan.

Credit Counseling - At least 180 days before filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case, a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor must generally first receive credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency.  New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors who have a debt management plan developed for themselves during credit counseling must file the debt management plan with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court.

Crossclaim – One defendant’s action against another defendant named to the same complaint.  Defendants may file crossclaims against one another.

Crossclaimant – A defendant who brings an action against another defendant (or co-defendant) named to a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court complaint.   The first defendant’s action against a co-defendant is called a “crossclaim”.

Counsel -- A person admitted to the bar of a court and who is thereby licensed to practice law before that court or who is not a member of the bar but is permitted by the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court to represent a party in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case.  A counsel may be licensed to practice law in more than one court.  This term is the same as “attorney”.   

Damages – Relief that a party seeks in a court.  There are many varieties of damages.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may or may not award them.

Debt collection caseA collection case is a case where a company or person who claims they are owed money (creditor) files a lawsuit against a company or person (debtor) that the creditor claims owes them money.  The lawsuit may be filed in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court. New Jersey debt collection cases often involve the following:  bills for the sale of goods or services, bounced check disputes, condominium dues disputes, contract disputes, credit card bill disputes, defaults and deficiency balances on car loans and leases, Medical bill disputes, security deposit disputes and unpaid rent disputes.

Declarant -- A person who makes a statement.

Defendant – A person or entity (such as a business or branch of government) named to a lawsuit and identified in the lawsuit as a “defendant”.  Complaints are filed against “defendants”.

Deficiency Balance – Outstanding balance owed on a loan such as the balance owed for a car purchase following a repossession of that car and its sale at an auction by the bank providing the financing to purchase the car.

Default – When a party fails to file a written response to a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court complaint.  In New Jersey Bankruptcy Court, the default is automatically entered by the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court.  In law division, the default must be requested in writing.

Default judgment -- A judgment entered against a party for failure to file a written response to a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court complaint.  It is only entered after the entry of a default.

Defense attorney -- The name for a lawyer who represents a defendant in any court dispute.

Deposition -- An oral examination of a person who has knowledge regarding the facts of the case.  Depositions are rare in New Jersey Bankruptcy Court and they may require New Jersey Bankruptcy Court permission.  Usually, a party to a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case requests in writing that a person’s deposition be taken on a specific date.  Depositions normally take place in a conference room with a court reporter present to take down the witness’ testimony.  The testimony is later prepared in book form.  Accordingly, everything the witness says during the deposition may be used at a later date (for instance, at trial) to contradict conflicting testimony or to prove a specific point important to the case.  One type of deposition is a Rule 2004 examination.

Dischargeable Debt – A debt that is subject to a bankruptcy discharge order.  Dischargeable debts do not normally have to be repaid since they are eliminated or “discharged” via a discharge order.

Discharge Order - A main goal of individual New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case is to keep certain property and to receive a New Jersey Bankruptcy discharge order of debts – a type of release from debt - that covers as many debts as possible.  A New Jersey Bankruptcy discharge order is a court Order which prohibits all creditors which were listed in the discharge from collecting the debts.   Under the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code, certain debts of individual New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors are dischargeable and if those debts are discharged by the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor has no liability for the New Jersey Bankruptcy discharged debts.  Although an individual New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case usually results in a New Jersey Bankruptcy discharge order of debts, the right to a New Jersey Bankruptcy discharge order is not absolute and some debts are not discharged. Also, a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court Discharge does not extinguish real estate liens.

Discovery -- A period of fact finding, which occurs after a lawsuit is filed and normally before parties have an arbitration or trial.  During discovery, parties to the lawsuit seek information from each other about their claims or defenses and facts that are relevant to the case.  The methods of investigation used during discovery include interrogatories, request for production of documents, depositions, examinations and inspections.

Disposable income – For individual New Jersey Debtors, income that a New Jersey Debtor does not reasonably need to maintain the New Jersey Debtor or the New Jersey Debtor’s dependents.  For New Jersey business debtors, money over what is required to pay the business’ everyday operating expenses.

Docket – The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court’s case list, which should include a record of all documents filed with the court in each court.  In practice, it is not uncommon for New Jersey Bankruptcy Courts to fail to properly file documents and thus, those documents fail to get listed on the docket, requiring a party to make a request to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court to correct the docket.

Evidence – Information that parties offer to a court to prove or disprove claims.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may choose to accept evidence, thereby allowing it to be part of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court’s record or it may reject the evidence, preventing it from being made part of the record.

Execution – The process by which a creditor enforces a New Jersey Court Judgment (or some other court’s judgment). 

Exempt Property - Property that a New Jersey debtor may keep after filing a New Jersey bankruptcy case and that is free from the claims of the New Jersey debtor’s creditors.

A Bankruptcy estate in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case is all the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s interests in property when they file a New Jersey Bankruptcy case.  While a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case is active, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Estate is the temporary legal owner of all of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's property.  When the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor files a Bankruptcy Case, all of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s property, including property owned or held by another person in which the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor has an interest, is part of the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate.  Federal or New Jersey laws (or the laws of other states) may allow New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors filing for Bankruptcy to keep certain “exempt” property free from the claims of unsecured creditors.  Exempt property may include interest in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's primary residence and some or all tools the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor uses to make a living. If the New Jersey creditors are entitled to payment, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's creditors are usually paid from the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate’s “nonexempt” property - property able to be “liquidated” or sold to satisfy the New Jersey creditors’ claims.  

Face sheet filing – A bankruptcy case filed without bankruptcy petition schedules or filed with incomplete bankruptcy petition schedules which list as few of the New Jersey debtor’s creditors and debts as possible.  A New Jersey debtor may file a face sheet filing to quickly delay a coming eviction or foreclosure.

Filing Fees - To file a New Jersey Bankruptcy Petition, New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors must normally pay fees to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court Clerk when the New Jersey Bankruptcy petition is filed, which may include the following: 

  • a case filing fee
  • a miscellaneous administrative fee
  • a trustee surcharge (not necessary in New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases).

The filing fees for a New Jersey Bankruptcy petition is generally only charged per petition.  Accordingly, New Jersey joint Bankruptcy petitions do not cost more money to file than single New Jersey Bankruptcy petitions. The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may make exceptions for certain New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors whose income is below the poverty level by waiving the New Jersey Bankruptcy petition filing fee.  New Jersey Bankruptcy Court filing fees change.  Before any documents are filed with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court, it is absolutely necessary to confirm all New Jersey Bankruptcy Court filing fees.

First meeting of creditors - Normally, New Jersey Bankruptcy cases do not require New Jersey Debtors to appear in court and most New Jersey Debtors involved in New Jersey Bankruptcy cases never see a New Jersey Bankruptcy judge unless an objection is raised in the New Jersey Bankruptcy case.   Most New Jersey Debtors who file New Jersey Bankruptcy cases have only one formal hearing at which the New Jersey Debtor must appear – the meeting of creditors or first meeting of credtiors, also called a “341 hearing” or “341 meeting” because section 341 of the United States Bankruptcy Code requires New Jersey Debtors to attend the meeting so that the New Jersey Debtors can be asked questions about their debts and property and income.  New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 hearings are usually held at a New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee’s office instead of at a New Jersey Bankruptcy Courthouse. The New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 hearing is usually held in an office building.  Before the New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 hearing, the representative of the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee’s office conducting the hearing may ask the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor or their attorney to give the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee copies of documents for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee to examine.   At the New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 hearing, a representative from the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee’s office (which may be the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee themselves), the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor, their attorney (if they are represented by an attorney) and any creditors or their attorneys who are interested in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s case appear.  The representative of the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee swears in under oath the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor and questions the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor under oath about the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s financial situation.   After putting the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors under oath, the representative of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee’s office who handles the hearing ask the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor questions to make sure the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors understand what might happen when they ask the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court for a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court discharge,  which could include:

  • how a Chapter 7 New Jersey Bankruptcy filing might affect the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors’ credit history.
  • the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s option to file a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case under a Chapter other than 7 (such as a Chapter 13 New Jersey Bankruptcy Case).
  • what happens if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor receives a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court Discharge
  • what happens if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor reaffirm a debt that the if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor owes a creditor.

It is not uncommon for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee’s office to give a handout about what happens when a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor files for Bankruptcy.  At the New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 hearing, creditors of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors or the creditors’ attorneys, if the creditors have an attorney, may ask the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors certain questions about debts and property.  Within 10 days of the meeting, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee sends a report to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court about whether the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case should be presumed to be an abuse under the New Jersey Bankruptcy means test.  If all of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's assets are exempt or legitimate liens apply to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's assets, the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee normally files a "no asset" report with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court.  The filing of a “no asset” report means that creditors with claims not secured by property receive no assets from the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s Bankruptcy. Most Chapter 7 New Jersey Bankruptcy Cases where the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors are individuals instead of businesses are “no asset” type cases.

If the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee thinks there are assets to distribute to creditors from the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s Chapter 7 case, creditors without secured claims must file their potential claims with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court within a certain time after the first scheduled New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 hearing. If the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee recovers assets for distribution to unsecured creditors, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court gives notice to the creditors and gives them time to file proofs of claim.  In some New Jersey Bankruptcy Cases, secured creditors may file proofs of claim to protect their interests.  If there are assets in the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee to liquidate, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee attempts to liquidate those assets to maximize the return to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's unsecured creditors.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee sells the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s nonexempt property that is not secured by liens or that is secured by liens but that is worth more than any security interest or lien attached to the property and any exemption to which the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor is entitled. The New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee may try to recover assets transferred to creditors a certain number of days before the filing of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s Bankruptcy Case or that were transferred to avoid creditors or to undo security interests and other property transfers not properly perfected.  If the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor is a business, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may allow the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee to run that business for an amount of time to benefit creditors and help with liquidation of the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate.

Fraudulent transfer – A fraudulent transfer occurs when a New Jersey debtor gives their property to someone else so as to avoid paying a debt.  Often the New Jersey debtor makes the transfer without receiving reasonable compensation or fair market value.  New Jersey has a fraudulent transfer law to deal with situations in which New Jersey debtors make fraudulent transfers.

Frivolous Paper or Pleading – A frivolous paper or pleading is one that violates the court rules or a statute.  For example, a paper filed with a court may violate the court rules if:  (1) it is being presented for an improper purpose, such as to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or needless increase in the cost of litigation; (2) it presents claims, defenses, and other legal contentions therein are not warranted by existing law or by a non-frivolous argument for the extension, modification, or reversal of existing law or the establishment of new law;  (3) its factual allegations have no evidentiary support or are unlikely to have evidentiary support; and/or (4) its allegations are unwarranted on the evidence or are not reasonably based on a lack of information or belief.   A New Jersey Bankruptcy Court complaint or answer may violate a statute if the pleading:   (1) was commenced, used or continued in bad faith, solely for the purpose of harassment, delay or malicious injury; and/or (2) the party presenting the pleading knew or should have known that the pleading was without any reasonable basis in law or equity and could not be supported by a good faith argument for an extension, modification or reversal of existing law.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may impose penalties for the filing of frivolous papers or pleadings, including money sanctions.  In Federal Court, frivolous sanctions are most commonly awarded pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 11.

Hearing -- The name for a variety of court proceedings on a variety of issues.  The term includes motions and trials, which are the two most common forms of hearings.

Hearsay -- A statement, other than one made by the declarant while testifying at the trial or hearing, offered in evidence to prove the truth of the matter asserted.  Unless there is an appropriate exception under the evidence rules, hearsay statements are usually excluded during court proceedings.

In forma pauperis – Translated, the term means "in the manner of a pauper."  A court may give permission to a New Jersey debtor to file a case without paying any court fees because the New Jersey debtor is financially unable to pay those fees.  Usually before giving such permission, the court must make a determination about the New Jersey debtor’s finances – that they are such as to justify waiving the court fees for the New Jersey debtor.

Information Subpoena -- Within certain periods of time, judgment creditors can serve judgment debtors with a written request for the judgment debtor to disclose personal financial information (called an information subpoena).  The information subpoena consists of a series of written questions that the judgment debtor is asked to answer under oath.  When answered truthfully and completely, the answers to the information subpoena may provide the judgment creditor with the information necessary for the judgment creditor to proceed with an execution of goods and chattels (writ of execution) against the judgment debtor’s personal property. 

Joint petition – A single New Jersey bankruptcy petition that is filed at the same time by a husband debtor and wife debtor who are married to one another.

Judgment -- A decision that is made by a Court in a case heard by it.  Courts "enter" judgments for and against parties involved in cases.

Lawsuit -- A document stating a claim for relief against one or more parties that a party (plaintiff or third party plaintiff or defendant-counterclaimant or defendant-crossclaimant) or their attorney files with a court.   A lawsuit can take the form of a “complaint”, “counterclaim,” “crossclaim” or “third party complaint”.

Lien – A charge on specific property to secure payment of a debt or performance of an obligation. In certain situations, New Jersey debtors may still be responsible for a lien after receiving a New Jersey bankruptcy discharge.

Liquidation – When a New Jersey debtor’s property is sold to benefit the New Jersey debtor’s creditors (such as by distributing the sale proceeds to the debtors on a pro rata or other basis, depending on the priority of each debtor’s claim).

Liquidated claim – A creditor's claim for a specific sum of money.

Litigation – The process by which parties oppose one another in a legal dispute heard by a court.

Means Test - To be able to file a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor must pass the New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test to prove that the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's income and expenses satisfy the Bankruptcy Code’s requirements.  Under a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's current monthly income is higher than New Jersey’s median income, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code applies a "means test" to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor to see if the New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case is an abuse of the system.  Sometimes, a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor may prove that special circumstances allow additional expenses or adjustments of current monthly income.   If the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor fails to pass the New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Means Test:

  • if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor agrees, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case may be converted from a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case to a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case; or
  • the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court will dismiss the the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case.

Modification Of The Reorganization Plan – Either with the filing of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case or in a certain number of days after filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case, the New Jersey Debtor must file a New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court’s approval or rejection.  This New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan proposes regular payments of fixed amounts to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee, who gives the money to the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor’s creditors per the New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, which may offer creditors less than full payment on their claims.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court must approve the New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.  If the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court refuses to confirm the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor may try to solve this problem by:

  • filing a modified New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.
  • convert the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case from a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case to a New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case - a “liquidation” New Jersey Bankruptcy Case.

If the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court refuses to confirm the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan or a modified New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan and instead dismisses the Case, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may allow the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee to keep some money for costs but the rest of the money left that wasn’t already due or given to creditors is refunded to the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor.

Sometimes a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan must be changed, such as when:

  • the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor’s financial situation changes and they have difficulty making the payments proposed under the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.
  • a creditor may object or threaten to object to a Plan unless the Plan is changed.
  • the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor did not include all creditors on the New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan.

Motion – A request, usually made by a party to a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case, that a court take a certain action.  Motions may be in writing or they may be oral.  Occasionally courts make their own motion, thereby directing that an action be taken in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case.  Motions may be opposed by someone other than the party making the motion.  The term is the same as “application”.

Motion to lift the automatic stay – A type of motion filed by a New Jersey debtor’s creditor when a New Jersey bankruptcy automatic stay is in effect whereby the creditor asks the court to permit the creditor to proceed with collection activity against the New Jersey debtor or the New Jersey debtor's property – activity that would otherwise violate the New Jersey bankruptcy automatic stay.

New Jersey Bankruptcy Court - There is a United States Bankruptcy Court  for each federal judicial district in the United States of Americand each state has one or more federal judicial districts.  There are 90 United States Bankruptcy Districts across the country.  New Jersey has only one United States District Court – the United States District Court, District of New Jersey – and there are 3 different locations in which United States Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey judges hear cases.  The New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s Bankruptcy petition must generally be filed as follows:

  • if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor is a person, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court serving the area in which the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor lives
  • if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor is a business, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court serving the area in which the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor is organized or where its principal place of business or principal assets are located.

In New Jersey, there are 3 different New Jersey Bankruptcy Court locations:

  • Camden, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Camden Vicinage.  The Camden Vicinage includes Atlantic County, part of Burlington Count (Cinnaminson, Delran, Edgewater Park, Evesham/Marlton, Maple Shade, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Palmyra, Riverside and Riverton), Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Gloucester County and Salem County.
  • Trenton, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Trenton Vicinage.  
  • Newark, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Newark Vicinage.  The Newark Vicinage includes Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Passaic County, Sussex County and Union County.

The term “vicinage” means “neighborhood”.   The New Jersey Bankruptcy Court will automatically assign a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case to the correct New Jersey Bankruptcy Court vicinage based on the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s zip code listed on the New Jersey Bankruptcy petition when the case is first filed.

No asset case A New Jersey Chapter 7 bankruptcy case in which the New Jersey bankruptcy debtor’s assets are insufficient to pay any amount of the creditors' unsecured claims.

Nonexempt Property – A Bankruptcy estate in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case is all the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s interests in property when they file a New Jersey Bankruptcy case.  While a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case is active, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Estate is the temporary legal owner of all of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's property.  When the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor files a Bankruptcy Case, all of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s property, including property owned or held by another person in which the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor has an interest, is part of the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate.  Federal or New Jersey laws (or the laws of other states) may allow New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors filing for Bankruptcy to keep certain “exempt” property free from the claims of unsecured creditors.  Exempt property may include interest in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's primary residence and some or all tools the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor uses to make a living. If the New Jersey creditors are entitled to payment, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's creditors are usually paid from the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate’s “nonexempt” property - property able to be “liquidated” or sold to satisfy the New Jersey creditors’ claims.

Objection to dischargeability – A New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee's or creditor's objection to a New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor’s being issued a New Jersey Bankruptcy Discharge Order.

Objection to exemptions – A New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee's or creditor's objection to a New Jersey debtor's claim that certain property of the New Jersey bankruptcy debtor is exempt from liquidation by either the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee or the New Jersey debtor’s creditors.

Opinion – A court’s opinion explaining its decision in a court case.

Party -- Someone who is a party to litigation or who has standing to address the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court.  A party is normally named in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court complaint or third party complaint and thereby becomes involved in the case.  The party can either a plaintiff, a defendant, a third party defendant,  a third party intervenor, a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case, a New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee and the New Jersey Bankruptcy’s creditors are parties in interest in most cases.

Payments Made Inside The Bankruptcy Plan

Either with the filing of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case or in a certain number of days after filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case, the New Jersey Debtor must file a New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court’s approval or rejection.  This New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan proposes regular payments of fixed amounts to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee, who gives the money to the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor’s creditors per the New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, which may offer creditors less than full payment on their claims.  30 days after the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor files the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case, the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor begins making New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan payments to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee. 

Payments Made Outside The Bankruptcy Plan

Either with the filing of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case or in a certain number of days after filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case, the New Jersey Debtor must file a New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court’s approval or rejection.  This New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan proposes regular payments of fixed amounts to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee, who gives the money to the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor’s creditors per the New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, which may offer creditors less than full payment on their claims.  When secured loan payments or lease payments are due before the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court confirms the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor's New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor makes “protection payments” straight to the secured lender or lessor and subtracts those payments from the money paid to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee.  Common examples of such payments are payments made for home mortgages and car payments. 

Petition - A New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor begins a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case by filing papers with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court called a “petition” and by paying a filing fee to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court.   The New Jersey Bankruptcy petition must generally include the following items:

  • a “schedule” or list of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s assets and liabilities
  • a schedule” or list of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s of current income and expenditures
  • a statement of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s financial affairs
  • a schedule” or list of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases.

Individual New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors who mainly have consumer type debts must also file the following documents with their New Jersey Bankruptcy petition:

  • a certificate of credit counseling issued to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor
  • a copy of any debt Reorganization Plan developed for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor during credit counseling
  • evidence of payments received from the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s employers, if any, received 60 days before filing the New Jersey Bankruptcy petition
  • a statement of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s monthly net income and any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing the New Jersey Bankruptcy petition
  • a record of any interest the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts.

To complete the New Jersey Bankruptcy Petition, the New Jersey Bankruptcy statement of financial affairs and the New Jersey Bankruptcy schedules, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor must provide the following information:

  • a list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims
  • the source, amount and frequency of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's income
  • a list of all of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's property
  • a specific list of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's monthly living expenses - food, clothing, shelter/rent, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine and the like.

The New Jersey Bankruptcy Petition schedules include a schedule of "exempt" property - property that the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor asks to keep under the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code or New Jersey law because the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor claims it is free from creditors who do not have liens on the property.  There are limits to the property a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor may claim is exempt from creditors’ claims.  To learn if specific property of yours is exempt, you should consult with an attorney.  Don’t try to guess what property might be exempt under the New Jersey Bankruptcy Code or New Jersey law because the law is very complex.  Also, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor gives the New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee assigned to their case a copy of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s tax return or transcripts for the most recent tax year and tax returns that the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor filed during the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case (including tax returns for prior years that were not filed when the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case began).

Petition preparer A business other than a law firm and which is not authorized to practice law but which prepares bankruptcy petitions for bankruptcy debtors.

Plaintiff -- A party that files a court complaint, whether it is the initial complaint or a third party complaint.

Pleading – a statement made by a party that sets forth their factual and legal claims or that denies those claims.

Postpetition transfer – The transfer of a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's property done after the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor files their New Jersey Bankruptcy Case.

Prebankruptcy planning – A New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s arrangement or rearrangement of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s property in an effort to allow the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor to maximize New Jersey Bankruptcy exemptions.

Preferential debt payment – A New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s debt payment made to a creditor 90 days before the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor files a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case (or within one year of that filing if the creditor was an insider of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor) and which gives the creditor more money the creditor would receive in the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Case.

Priority claims – Since a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition requires the New Jersey debtor to make payments to be distributed to the New Jersey debtor’s creditors, claims get paid in the order of their importance or “priority” according to the Bankruptcy Code.  Priority claims are claims that, under the Bankruptcy Code, receive “priority” to get paid fully.  These claims include the costs of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case and taxes.

Procedure – The court rules that parties and their attorneys must follow when prosecuting or defending cases in court.

Pro se – The title given to a person who represents themselves in court.

Process server – a person who is authorized to “serve process” – to serve legal papers – on someone else.  To be able to serve papers in a particular case, process servers must have no personal interest in that case.   

Reaffirmation Agreement - Many times, even though a debt can be discharged, a person may want to reaffirm the debt. In a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case, secured creditors might retain some rights to seize property securing an underlying debt even after the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court enters a New Jersey Bankruptcy discharge order.  In certain situations, if a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor wants to keep certain secured property – like a car, boat or business equipment – the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor may "reaffirm" the secured debt. A reaffirmation agreement is simply a negotiated Reorganization Plan with your creditor.   Reaffirmation agreements are commonly signed in New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy cases, such as where a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor purchased a home or a car and would like to keep it after the New Jersey Bankruptcy case is completed.  Other New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors want to maintain a credit card so that they can begin to reestablish their credit.   Reaffirmation agreements are completely voluntary. The reaffirmation agreement is an agreement between the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor and the creditor.  In the reaffirmation agreement, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor is responsible for paying all or some of the money owed on a debt that might otherwise be discharged in the New Jersey Bankruptcy.  In exchange for the New Jersey Debtor’s agreeing to repay some or all of the debt, the creditor agrees not to repossess or take back the property if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor still pays the debt (and performs any other conditions required under the reaffirmation agreement.  New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtors sign reaffirmation agreements before the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court enters a New Jersey Bankruptcy discharge order and the reaffirmation agreement gets filed with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court. A creditor cannot harass or force you into entering into a reaffirmation agreement. In order for a reaffirmation agreement to be effective, it must be:

  • voluntary.
  • not place a heavy burden on you or your family.
  • in your best interest.

A reaffirmation agreement can be cancelled anytime before the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court issues your discharge or within 60 days after the agreement is filed with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court, whichever gives you the most time.  In some situations, such as if the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court believes that there is not enough money to pay the debt to be reaffirmed, there is a presumption of undue hardship and the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may decide against approving the reaffirmation agreement. 

Redemption – In New Jersey Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Cases, the procedure in which a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor removes a secured creditor's lien on collateral by paying the creditor the property’s value, which thereby allows the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor to keep that property.

Regulation – A rule or directive issued by an administrative body that has the force of law.    Compare the terms “common law” and “statute”.

Reorganization Plan - Either with the filing of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case or in a certain number of days after filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 13 Case, the New Jersey Debtor must file a New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court’s approval or rejection.  This New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan proposes regular payments of fixed amounts to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Trustee, who gives the money to the New Jersey Bankruptcy debtor’s creditors per the New Jersey Bankruptcy Reorganization Plan, which may offer creditors less than full payment on their claims.

Rule 2004 Examination – On the motion of any party in interest to a New Jersey Bankruptcy case, the New Jersey Bankruptcy court may order the examination of any entity or New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor (see §343 of the United States Code) about the acts, conduct, property, liabilities and financial condition of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor or about any matter which may affect the administration of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s estate or to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's right to a New Jersey Bankruptcy Discharge Order.   The attendance of an entity for examination and for the production of documents, whether the examination is to be conducted within or without the district in which the case is pending, may be compelled.  As an officer of the court, an attorney may issue and sign a subpoena on behalf of the court for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court in which the examination is to be held if the attorney is admitted to practice in that court or in the court in which the case is pending.

Sanction – A New Jersey Bankruptcy Court-imposed penalty or other type of enforcement that the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court uses to compel a party’s compliance with the court procedure or court decisions.  For example, a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court may award a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor with sanctions if a creditor violates the New Jersey Automatic Bankruptcy Stay.

Secured claims – Since a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition requires the New Jersey debtor to make payments to be distributed to the New Jersey debtor’s creditors, claims get paid in the order of their importance or “priority” according to the Bankruptcy Code. A secured claim is a claim that allows the creditor to take back the collateral purchased by the loan that led to the debt, unless the New Jersey Debtor repays the debt securing the purchase of the collateral.

Secured Creditor - In a New Jersey Bankruptcy case, a secured creditor is an individual or business with a claim against the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor secured by a lien on property of the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate. The property that is subject to the lien is the secured creditor's collateral.  The creditor offers credit to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor with the understanding that the creditor may decide to seize the collateral on default of the debt. 

Secured Debt - In a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case, secured debt is debt supported by a mortgage, pledge of collateral or other lien -- debt for which the creditor has the right to pursue their interest specific property upon default of the obligation.  Common examples of “secured debt” include:  (1) house mortgages; (2) real estate tax liens; and (3) vehicle loans.  Unsecured debt is a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s debt for which a creditor holds no special guarantee of payment, such as a mortgage or lien, because the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor received credit from the creditor based solely upon the creditor's determination of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's future ability to pay back the debt.  

Schedules – Lists of financial information that a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor includes in the New Jersey Debtor’s Bankruptcy Petition or that the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor files after the filing of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s New Jersey Bankruptcy Petition.

Statement of financial affairs – Questions that a New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor must answer in writing about income sources, property transfers, creditor lawsuits and the like.

Statement of intention – A New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor made in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Chapter 7 Case about how the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor will address consumer debts secured by the New Jersey Bankruptcy Estate’s property.

Statute – A law that a legislature enacts.   Statutes may be federal laws (enacted by the United States Congress) or state (enacted by the New Jersey Legislature).  Compare the terms “common law” and “regulation”.

Subpoena -- An official notice which is usually served by a process server and which requires someone to appear in court or to appear at an out of court hearing conducted by someone with legal authority (such as an attorney) to request a person to appear.

Testify – When a witness offers testimony in court.

Testimony -- Statements that witnesses make in court.

Third party complaint – A lawsuit filed by someone other than the original plaintiff named in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case.  If a defendant has a valid legal or factual reason to include someone else as part in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case, the defendant may file a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court third party complaint.

Third Party Plaintiff – The party suing a party that was not named to the original complaint.  A third party plaintiff joins a new party to a civil action by filing a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court third party complaint.

Third Party Defendant – A party named as a defendant in a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court third party complaint.

Trustee - Once a New Jersey Bankruptcy Case is properly filed, the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court appoints a trustee for the New Jersey Bankruptcy Case - a person who represents the interests of the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate and the creditors. The New Jersey Bankruptcy trustee does the following:

  • conducts the New Jersey Bankruptcy first meeting of creditors, which is also called the  New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 meeting or New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 hearing
  • reviews the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's petition and schedules
  • liquidates the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate’s property
  • makes distributions to creditors
  • sometimes brings actions against creditors or the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor to recover the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate’s property 

Unsecured claims – Since a New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition requires the New Jersey debtor to make payments to be distributed to the New Jersey debtor’s creditors, claims get paid in the order of their importance or “priority” according to the Bankruptcy Code.  Unlike secured claims, which provide the creditor with the right to recover property purchased with money from the debt, an unsecured claim does not give a New Jersey debtor’s creditor any special rights to collect against the New Jersey Debtor’s property.

Unsecured Creditor - In a New Jersey Bankruptcy case, an unsecured creditor is an individual or business with a claim against the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor that is not secured by a lien on property of the New Jersey Bankruptcy estate.  Unsecured creditors hold unsecured debt instead of secured debt. 

Unsecured Debt - Unsecured debts are debts for which credit was extended based only upon the creditor’s determination of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor's ability to pay the debt. 

Vacate – to remove.  The term typically refers to the removal of a Court default or Court default judgment.  To “vacate” a Court default or Court default judgment, parties usually file motions with the court in which the judgment was originally entered.

Verdict – A court decision issued following a Court trial.  A verdict can either be issued by a jury, if the case is tried by a jury and a Court verdict is issued based on the jury’s findings or by a judge, if the judge alone is deciding the case, such as in nonjury trials. 

Vicinage – Literally “vicinity” or “neighborhood.”    In New Jersey, there are 3 different New Jersey Bankruptcy Court Vicinages:

  • Camden, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Camden Vicinage.  The Camden Vicinage includes Atlantic County, part of Burlington Count (Cinnaminson, Delran, Edgewater Park, Evesham/Marlton, Maple Shade, Moorestown, Mt. Laurel, Palmyra, Riverside and Riverton), Camden County, Cape May County, Cumberland County, Gloucester County and Salem County.
  • Trenton, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Trenton Vicinage.  
  • Newark, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Newark Vicinage.  The Newark Vicinage includes Bergen County, Essex County, Hudson County, Morris County, Passaic County, Sussex County and Union County.

Voluntary Transfer – When the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor’s property is transferred to another after the New Jersey Bankruptcy Debtor gives their consent to the transfer.

Wage garnishment – A legal proceeding in which a creditor tries to “attach” the wages of a New Jersey Debtor – to require the New Jersey Debtor’s employer to turn over an amount of the New Jersey Debtor’s salary to pay a debt due the creditor.

Witness – A person that is placed under oath and that testifies in court.  A witness may testify on paper (through an affidavit or certification filed with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court) or in person at an arbitration, trial or other type of hearing.

END OF BANKRUPTCY DICTIONARY TERMS

Should I Try To Handle My New Jersey Bankruptcy Case Myself?

Some people can and do successfully handle New Jersey Bankruptcy Court cases, from filing the first paperwork to the entry of a New Jersey Bankruptcy Court discharge order.  However, many other people also make mistakes that lead to the dismissal of their New Jersey Bankruptcy Court cases or that result in the entry of money judgments against them.  Since so much can be at stake in a New Jersey Bankruptcy, you should seriously consider using the services of a competent attorney licensed to practice law in New Jersey to handle your New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case.  The following are reasons to use an attorney to handle your New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case:

  • New Jersey Bankruptcy Court fees often change
  • New Jersey Bankruptcy Court rules often change
  • New Jersey Bankruptcy Court employees cannot give you “free” legal advice and a judge may refuse to let you claim that you were right in taking an action (or in deciding not to take action) because you relied on advice from such employees
  • New Jersey Bankruptcy Court forms available on websites may not cover every situation you may face in court
  • each New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case has its own particular legal issues and therefore, its own challenges
  • it is very common for people to file inadequate or incorrect New Jersey Bankruptcy Court petitions that result in problems with the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court Case because of procedural or other deficiencies.  
  • it is not uncommon for New Jersey Bankruptcy judges to get very frustrated by an unrepresented party’s lack of preparation or ignorance of the facts or law of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case. 
  • a court has the power to punish unprepared parties, such as by fining them, throwing their New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case out of court or limiting what they can present to the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court. 
  • Federal and New Jersey law includes many published cases, laws, regulations, court rules and rules of evidence that can be very tricky to understand and that can be used to prevent you from doing much of what you want to do in New Jersey Bankruptcy Court. 
  • it is very common for  New Jersey Bankruptcy Courts to refuse to allow a party to use or refer to documents or items at the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court. 
  • without the proper preparation, items and documents may never be considered by the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court.  Also, if there are any legal issues to be dealt with at the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court hearing or trial, you must be prepared to argue them, which may require you to refer to court rules, evidence rules, laws, regulations or published cases. 
  • you cannot show up at the New Jersey Bankruptcy Court expecting the judge hearing your New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case to explain court rules, evidence rules, court procedure or the details of the law that applies to your New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case.  The judge hearing your New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case is not permitted to give you legal advice.

It is important to remember that even if you have an attorney, you could lose your New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case.  Hiring an attorney to handle your New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case does not guarantee your success.  However, it may provide what is needed to successfully complete your New Jersey Bankruptcy Court case or to avoid certain mistakes.

Does The Law Office of Ronald E. Norman, LLC Have Experience Handling New Jersey Bankruptcy Cases?

Yes.  The Law Office of Ronald E. Norman, LLC is dedicated to protecting the rights of consumers. We handle Bankruptcy cases only in the State Of New Jersey. We take Bankruptcy cases from anywhere in the State of New Jersey.  The Law Office of Ronald E. Norman, LLC is designated as a Federal Debt Relief Agency.  The Law Office of Ronald E. Norman, LLC has performed the following tasks:

  • handled New Jersey Bankruptcy Cases for people and businesses across New Jersey, including representations of individuals and businesses.
  • filed thousands of New Jersey Bankruptcy Petitions
  • settled New Jersey debt disputes for New Jersey creditors and New Jersey Debtors.
  • prepared and filed many New Jersey Bankruptcy Petitions
  • personally appeared in all 3 of the New Jersey Bankruptcy Courts - Camden, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Camden Vicinage,

Trenton, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Trenton Vicinage and Newark, New Jersey – the United States Bankruptcy Court For The District of New Jersey, Newark Vicinage

  • appeared at New Jersey Bankruptcy 341 hearings – New Jersey Bankruptcy New Jersey Bankruptcy first meeting of creditors’
  • successfully argued New Jersey Bankruptcy Court motions
  • represented New Jersey Debtors in New Jersey Bankruptcy Court
  • represented New Jersey Debtors in New Jersey post judgment collection proceedings

The Law Office of Ronald E. Norman, LLC Offers To Handle New Jersey Bankruptcy Cases For New Jersey Individual Debtors And New Jersey Business Debtors Located Across New Jersey

The Law Office of Ronald E. Norman, LLC offers to handle and help individuals living and businesses located in North Jersey, Central Jersey and South Jersey, including individuals living and businesses located in the following New Jersey counties:

Atlantic County, NJ

Bergen County, NJ

Burlington County, NJ

Camden County, NJ

Cape May County, NJ

Cumberland County, NJ

Essex County, NJ

Gloucester County, NJ

Hudson County, NJ

Hunterdon County, NJ

Mercer County, NJ

Middlesex County, NJ

Monmouth County, NJ

Morris County, NJ

Ocean County, NJ

Passaic County, NJ

Salem County, NJ

Somerset County, NJ

Sussex County, NJ

Union County, NJ

Warren County, NJ

 

How Do I Learn More About What A New Jersey Bankruptcy Case Can Do For Me?

Find out what bankruptcy might do for your situation.
The Law Office of Ronald E. Norman, LLC offers one-time, no obligation consultations to New Jersey Debtors. To get your free consultation,
call attorney Ronald E. Norman at 856-374-3100,
send him an email
at rnorman@rnormanlaw.com or
click here to fill out a free evaluation form.


LAW OFFICE OF RONALD E NORMAN, LLC
WASHINGTON PROFESSIONAL CAMPUS II
901 ROUTE 168, SUITE 407A
TURNERSVILLE, N.J. 08012
TEL. 856-374-3100

EMAIL:  rnorman@rnormanlaw.com

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