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Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in Brooklyn

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Balisok & Kaufman Attorneys at Law logo
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Balisok & Kaufman Attorneys at Law

251 Troy Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11213
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Balisok & Kaufman, Attorneys at Law, provides bankruptcy solutions to individuals in Brooklyn who are in serious financial difficulty. The firm evaluates its clients' situation, defends them against lawsuits, and helps them explore their debt relief options. These include filing chapters 7, 11, and 13; loan modification; and negotiation. In addition to bankruptcy, the firm assists clients with immigration, real estate, and tax matters. Its partners, Joseph Balisok and Jessee Kaufman, have over 15 years of combined legal experience.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.7 / 5 (63)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (12)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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David J. Doyaga logo
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David J. Doyaga

26 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11242
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

David J. Doyaga has offered legal services to residents and corporations in Brooklyn and the surrounding areas since 1986. Attorney Doyaga files Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy to help clients manage significant debt problems, and also works to stop wage garnishments, foreclosures, and asset repossession for clients facing aggressive collectors. Doyaga also helps clients modify their home loans. David J. Doyaga is a member of the National Association of Bankruptcy Trustees.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (11)

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5.0
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Foreclosure Bankruptcy Lawyers logo
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Foreclosure Bankruptcy Lawyers

11821 Queens Blvd., Ste 603, Forest Hills, NY 11375
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Foreclosure Bankruptcy Lawyers assists Brooklyn individuals in getting a fresh financial start. The law firm advises clients in filing for chapters 7 or 13 bankruptcy to stop collections, wage garnishment, and evictions. Its lawyers craft solutions to help homeowners struggling with loan payments or those who are behind their mortgages by negotiating loan modifications and foreclosure summons. The law firm was founded in 2015. Its team can assist clients in Russian, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, and English.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (43)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Jacob Silver Attorney at Law logo
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Jacob Silver Attorney at Law

26 Court Street, Brooklyn, NY 11242
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Credit Card Debt
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Jacob Silver Attorney at Law is an experienced attorney in Brooklyn who helps people file for bankruptcy. Silver invites potential clients for free consultations, during which he helps clients understand bankruptcies, learns about their financial situations, and works with clients to decide whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcies would better suit them. Silver helps clients stop creditor abuse and wage garnishments by filing bankruptcy. He also offers bankruptcy alternatives.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (277)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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JCK Law logo
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JCK Law

50 Court Street Suite 708, Brooklyn, NY 11201
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

JCK Law is a boutique firm that has been providing legal services in Brooklyn and the surrounding areas since 2005. Its practice areas focus on bankruptcy and debt resolution. Whether a client's financial distress was caused by unemployment, divorce, or health issues, its bankruptcy lawyers can assist in minimizing debts, ending creditor harassment, or rebuilding credit. The legal team has filed 800,000 bankruptcies in 2016 alone. JCK Law also tackles foreclosure defense and bankruptcy-related property transfer.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (57)
Yelp
1.0 / 5 (1)

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5.0
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Karra L. Kingston Esq. logo
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Karra L. Kingston Esq.

160H Dinsmore St, Staten Island, NY 10314
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Karra L. Kingston, Esq., is a bankruptcy lawyer that works with clients in and around Brooklyn seeking debt relief. She helps debtors file for bankruptcy to avert foreclosures, bank levies, and wage garnishment. She also protects clients from harassment by creditors or debt collectors. As a fluent Spanish speaker, the attorney provides legal counsel to the Hispanic community. Kingston devotes her free time to writing bankruptcy articles for a non-profit that aims to educate the underprivileged.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (129)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (26)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (16)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Law Firm of Caelyn T. Canace logo
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Law Firm of Caelyn T. Canace

1599 East 15th Street, Floor 5, Brooklyn, NY 11230
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Fim of Caelyn T. Canace assists Brooklyn residents who are faced with overwhelming debt. It helps clients lift restraints on their paychecks and bank accounts, and even halt the foreclosure sale of their home, by filing for chapter 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcy. The firm's practice areas also include family law, criminal and traffic law, personal injury, estate planning, and real estate. Caelyn Canace has been involved in thousands of cases, both as a lawyer and as a paralegal.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (62)
Law Office of Elwaleed Ahmed, PLLC logo
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Law Office of Elwaleed Ahmed, PLLC

56 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11217
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Office of Elwaleed Ahmed, PLLC, caters to residents of Brooklyn and the neighboring areas. The firm helps financially troubled individuals obtain debt relief through filing for chapter 7, 11, or 13 bankruptcy. Its lawyer, Elwaleed Ahmed, also litigates business and corporate law cases on behalf of domestic and foreign clients. In addition, Ahmed offers Islamic finance transaction advice and services. He advises on Murabaha, Mudaraba (profit/loss-sharing), Musharaka Sukuk Transaction (joint venture), and the contracts of Ijra (lease) and Ijra Wa-Igtina (lease purchase).

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.3
Google
4.3 / 5 (36)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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Law Offices of David Brodman logo
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Law Offices of David Brodman

633 Lydig Ave., Bronx, NY 10462
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

For over 20 years, the Law Offices of David Brodman has been serving Brooklyn clients. The firm walks individuals through the process of filing for chapters 7 or 13 bankruptcy and obtains an automatic stay from the court to help them halt wage garnishments or property liens. It also educates clients on the state's bankruptcy exemptions. The firm works on other cases involving the defense of individuals facing foreclosure proceedings. David Brodman, its founder, is a National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys member.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (214)
Google
5.0 / 5 (99)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (3)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
––
Marzec Law Firm logo
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Marzec Law Firm

776A Manhattan Ave, Ste 104, Brooklyn, NY 11222
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

The Marzec Law Firm has a bankruptcy lawyer who addresses the needs of the residents of Brooklyn and its surrounding areas. The law firm handles insolvency proceedings under chapters 7 and 13. It advises clients on how to deal with aggressive debt collectors, foreclosure processes, and garnishments. The Marzec Law Firm's bankruptcy attorney, Darius A. Marzec, represents businesses and individuals. Marzec is licensed to practice law in multiple states, including California, Florida, New Jersey, and Washington, D.C.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (48)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Michael F. Kanzer & Associates, P.C. logo
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Michael F. Kanzer & Associates, P.C.

2214 Kimball Street, Brooklyn, NY 11234
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Michael F. Kanzer & Associates PC has over 20 years of experience helping individuals and businesses in and around Brooklyn. It handles all types of bankruptcy cases, including Chapter 7, 11, 12, and 13. The firm can help prevent foreclosures, repossessions, garnishments, and other creditor actions to allow its clients to start anew. In addition, the firm's practice includes family law, estate planning, and personal injury. The initial consultation is free.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (36)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Park & Nguyen Attorneys at Law logo
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Park & Nguyen Attorneys at Law

1809 Paulding Avenue, Floor 2, Bronx, NY 10462
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Park & Nguyen Attorneys at Law provides tailored solutions and counsel to members of the Brooklyn community. Its lawyers assist individuals in resolving their financial difficulties by filing chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy petitions. The law firm also helps individuals manage their debts through non-bankruptcy alternative solutions such as debt settlement, short sale, and loan modification. John Park, one of the firm's attorneys, has been in practice since 1993. He is an appointed member of Bronx County's Independent Judicial Committee.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (63)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Starr & Starr, PLLC Attorneys at Law logo
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Starr & Starr, PLLC Attorneys at Law

260 Madison Ave 17th Floor, New York, NY 10016
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Starr & Starr, PLLC Attorneys at Law is a boutique firm that serves Brooklyn and the surrounding areas. It represents individuals and businesses in bankruptcy, commercial debt collection, judgment enforcement, and civil litigation matters. It helps people navigate chapters 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy. The firm's lead attorney, Stephen Starr, has more than 25 years of experience practicing bankruptcy law. He has represented various clients, including creditors, debtors, landlords, bankruptcy trustees, financial institutions, and manufacturing companies.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (65)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (6)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
Friendliness
Helpfulness
Detail
––
Steinway Law Offices logo
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Steinway Law Offices

21-83 Steinway St, Queens, NY 11105
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Located in Queens, Steinway Law Offices provides services to clients in the Brooklyn metro and the surrounding areas. It offers legal guidance and representation to individuals filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy, which helps discharge various unsecured debts. These include car loans, credit cards, medical bills, and mortgage payments. It also handles chapter 13 bankruptcy, allowing debtors to propose a repayment plan. Phill Mahony, the firm's attorney, offers his services in both English and Spanish.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
The Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates logo
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The Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates

26 Court St 7 701, Brooklyn, NY 11242
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Firm of Figeroux & Associates is a full-service firm that has served over 10,000 clients in Brooklyn and its neighboring communities. Its scope of work includes representing clients in bankruptcy proceedings. Figeroux and his staff handle various aspects of debt relief for their clients, from consulting with them to diagnose their financial needs and recommending avenues for debt relief to representing them in civil court and before the IRS in chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy cases.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.0
Google
4.0 / 5 (37)
Avvo
4.5 / 5 (6)
Facebook
3.7 / 5 (3)

(+2 additional sources)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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The Law Office of Gregory Messer logo
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The Law Office of Gregory Messer

26 Court Street, Suite 2400, Brooklyn, NY 11242
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Office of Gregory Messer serves Brooklyn and the neighboring areas. The practice provides counsel and representation to individuals and families that need help to recover from debt. Its attorney handles various aspects of bankruptcy law, including loan modification, wage garnishment, and chapters 7, 11, and 13. Sole practitioner Gregory Messer has more than 38 years of legal experience. He guides clients throughout the bankruptcy process, from filing documents and answering questions to protecting their rights against creditors.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (32)
FindLaw
5.0 / 5 (19)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (11)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
The Law Office of Julio E. Portilla, P.C. logo
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The Law Office of Julio E. Portilla, P.C.

122 E 42nd St, Suite 446, New York, NY 10036
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Office of Julio E. Portilla, P.C., provides aggressive representation to individuals and business owners with bankruptcy legal concerns in Brooklyn and the surrounding locations. It creates a personalized strategy for the case and assists clients with cases involving foreclosure defense, repossession, creditor harassment, judgment liens, and chapters 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy proceedings. The firm's practice areas also include real estate, personal injury, and family law. Its team members are proficient in Spanish.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (7)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (6)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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The Law Office of William W. Waldner logo
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The Law Office of William W. Waldner

300 Cadman Plaza West, One Pierrepont Plaza, Brooklyn, NY 11201
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Office of William W. Waldner is a bankruptcy law firm serving individuals throughout the entire Brooklyn area. Clients can consult Waldner on every bankruptcy-related issue, including which debt relief forms are available to them, and how to halt collection actions, wage garnishments, and foreclosures. The firm accepts Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases and offers initial consultations free of charge. Waldner is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (18)
Google
5.0 / 5 (13)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (3)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
The Law Offices of Glenn S. Kessler logo
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The Law Offices of Glenn S. Kessler

32 Court Street, Suite 805, Brooklyn, NY 11201
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Glenn S. Kessler provides debt-relief solutions to individuals, families, and businesses in Brooklyn. Kessler assists clients who are facing mounting credit card debts or unmanageable medical bills through the process of filing bankruptcy. He implements strategies designed to prevent foreclosures and property repossessions. As a bankruptcy attorney, he also protects clients from creditor harassment like unwarranted visits, phone calls, and threats. He also helps clients with their applications for credit counseling courses. Kessler has been providing legal services for over 30 years.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (57)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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The Law Offices of Gus Michael Farinella PC logo
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The Law Offices of Gus Michael Farinella PC

110 Jericho Turnpike Suite 100, Floral Park, NY 11001
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

For more than 20 years, The Law Offices of Gus Michael Farinella PC has been helping individuals and businesses in Brooklyn and neighboring cities resolve their financial problems. Its attorneys assist clients in filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition to help them avoid wage garnishment, home foreclosure, creditor harassment, or getting sued for overdue bills. They also provide guidance in mortgage modifications, credit report error correction, landlord dispute resolution, and immigration matters.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a bankruptcy attorney do?

Bankruptcy attorneys help clients understand whether they qualify for bankruptcy and what their best options are. They also prepare and file petitions, answer questions during the proceedings, and educate clients about potential best steps for a positive bankruptcy outcome. Bankruptcy attorneys might also file motions or paperwork if creditors dispute the bankruptcy, or to stop creditors from taking collections actions forbidden by the bankruptcy.

What happens when you file bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a formal process that individuals, married couples, or businesses can enact when they are no longer able to pay creditors. In a bankruptcy proceeding, filers are allowed to reduce debt to more manageable levels to best pay off money owed.

Once the bankruptcy process is initiated, debt collectors can no longer seek repayments outside of the arrangements detailed in the bankruptcy settlement. Some forms of bankruptcy result in the liquidation of assets to pay back debts, while others allow filers to retain most of their possessions and investments. Many types of unsecured debt can be managed with bankruptcy filings, but not all.

Can you file bankruptcy on student loans?

Under most circumstances, student loans aren't dischargeable and aren't included in bankruptcy proceedings. In rare cases, it may be possible to eliminate student loans through bankruptcy, but only if the courts determine that continuing to pay the loans would impose an undue hardship. Meeting the criteria for undue hardship is challenging, and most bankruptcy filers don't qualify.

What is bankruptcy fraud?

Bankruptcy fraud is a blanket term that refers to any kind of dishonest bankruptcy proceeding, which can include:

  • Hiding assets by transferring them to another person or entity
  • Intentionally omitting assets when reporting to the court
  • Destroying or withholding required documents
  • Knowingly making false statements to bankruptcy trustees or creditors

How long is bankruptcy on public record?

How long bankruptcy stays on public record depends on the kind of bankruptcy filing in question. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on the record for 10 years as there isn't necessarily a repayment component. Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on the record for seven years as some obligations are repaid following filing based on the terms of a discharge settlement.

Does bankruptcy clear tax debt?

Bankruptcy can clear tax debt, depending on the circumstances. Taxes are dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not Chapter 13, and only if the tax debt is:

  • Federal income tax debt related to current properly filed tax returns
  • Honestly incurred with no fraud or evasion
  • At least three years old
  • Assessed at least 240 days before bankruptcy filings

Existing liens are not eliminated with bankruptcy.


Can they take my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

In many cases, it's possible to keep a vehicle following Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 Motor Vehicle Exemption allows filers who own their vehicles outright or who are up to date with payments to keep their cars. However, those behind on making car payments are required to arrange a repayment plan. Otherwise, the vehicle may be repossessed as a part of the proceedings.

How bad is it to file bankruptcy twice?

Although possible, due to the damaging nature of bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy more than once isn't recommended. Filing multiple times puts a serious burden on one's credit report, making it harder to get a loan, buy a house, buy a car, or even open credit cards.

Note that filing for bankruptcy isn't something that can be done at a filer's leisure. There are time limits following bankruptcy cases that dictate when it's permissible to file again. For example, after Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filers must wait at least eight years before filing Chapter 7 again or four years before filing Chapter 13.

Can anyone file bankruptcy?

Anyone can file bankruptcy, but there are limitations regarding which form of bankruptcy is permissible. Qualifying for Chapter 7 requires a means test that evaluates income, debt levels, and income left over each month after paying basic obligations. Income over the median set by the court and monthly income that allows meaningful payments toward unsecured debt can disqualify filers from Chapter 7, which is generally the preferred form of bankruptcy due to the possibility of a full discharge. Anyone can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the terms are less favorable. In most cases, some debts must be repaid following a successful filing. Chapter 13 is also more likely to result in asset forfeiture.

How will bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Bankruptcies are noted on credit reports. How much a bankruptcy might drop a person's credit score depends on how high the score was to begin with, but generally speaking, the hit can be as much as 100 to 200 points. Often scores are already dropping because people filing for bankruptcy may have already missed payments on debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are listed on credit reports for seven years from the filing date, while Chapter 7 bankruptcies are listed for 10 years from the filing date. This is because Chapter 13 bankruptcies require at least partial payment of debts owed.

What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy?

Filing a bankruptcy petition causes an automatic stay. This legally stops creditors from taking further action to collect debt, including garnishing wages or foreclosing on property. Going through a bankruptcy successfully means that debts included in the bankruptcy are discharged and don't have to be paid back, except as provided in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Bankruptcy can help someone recover from financial duress so they can make better decisions and improve financial situations in the future. Disadvantages can include temporary lower credit scores and limitations on spending and financing.

What's the difference between debt settlement and bankruptcy?

Debt settlement occurs when people negotiate with individual creditors. The creditor agrees to take a payment that's lower than what someone owes and call the debt “paid in full.” Bankruptcy is a legal process that causes debts to be dismissed after someone proves they don't currently have the means to pay their debts as owed. Typically, someone can't enter into bankruptcy and also settle some debts, because the court would see that as favoring one creditor over another.

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