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The Law Offices of Michelle Labayen, PC, New York, NY and Newark, NJ Bankruptcy Attorney

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Clients are More Than Satisfied with Michelle's Dedication to Service

Michelle has over 17 years of experience helping people with their financial problems. Just see what her previous clients have to say and why she's your choice for the best bankruptcy attorney in New Jersey.


Michelle and her team are amazing! They helped me discharge over $100k of loans and I am now debt free. Half of my debt was considered private student loans which we challenged and won. No other lawyer would even entertain the idea of trying to challenge my student loans in bankruptcy court. Michelle is clearly very knowledgeable of the student loan debt crisis and is willing to fight for you. I can't thank them enough. You rarely meet people who are going to impact your life this greatly.

Thank you!


Michelle is a great lawyer, my experience with her was so great, very organized and knowledgeable in her field, also has a great working team, when i went to her office she welcomed me at the reception her self and took me to her office then after we finished the meeting she walked me till the elevator, always get emails from her team if i am missing something, they call and explain, and when i call them for any reason they answer my concerns, i wish i can give them more than 5 stars


My experience with Michelle's office started out great from the very beginning. The woman in the office that answered my initial call and set up my appointment had a very pleasant and kind demeanor. Then on the day of my actual phone consultation with Michelle, she took the time out to share a wealth of information with me and she didn't charge me a single cent. She ultimately told me that I didn't need to spend money on an attorney, and guided me towards what steps would be best for my particular situation. Michelle is extremely informative, knowledgeable, honest and kind. I would recommend her services to absolutely anyone in need of legal assistance.


I am so glad I came across this attorney. Michelle and her entire staff have been such a blessing to me from the beginning. I was in a horrible situation. She made the transition very smooth! I am so grateful for her and her AMAZING staff!

Click the Google 5-star Review button below to see more of Michelle's outstanding Reviews

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Common Bankruptcy Questions Answered

Click on any question from the list below to see the answer.

Who Would Benefit From Filing Bankruptcy?

What Are The Steps Involved In The Typical Bankruptcy Process?

Where Can Someone File Bankruptcy?

What Options Do I Have If I Decide to File Bankruptcy?

Can I file Bankruptcy if I have Overwhelming Student Debt?

Will I Lose My Home If I File Bankruptcy?

How Long Does the Bankruptcy Process Take?

How Long Will it Take for My Credit Score to Improve?

Why Should I File Bankruptcy?

What Are my Options if the Bank is Threatening to Foreclose on My House?

If You Want to Keep Your Home

If You Don't Want to Keep Your Home

How do Bankruptcy Lawyers Set Themselves Apart from other Practices?

What is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

A red stamped 'Bankruptcy'

Who Would Benefit From Filing Bankruptcy?

Anyone that is struggling to pay for ordinary and necessary living expenses for their themselves, family or business.

What Are The Steps Involved In The Typical Bankruptcy Process?

  1. Find an attorney to represent you during the bankruptcy process.
  2. Provide all relevant financial information to be filed with your documentation. Your attorney will advise you on what you will need.
  3. Take a credit counseling class; (b)review and sign the bankruptcy petition.
  4. attend the 341 meeting which is usually 30 days after the filing of the petition
  5. Complete your second class
  6. Request a reaffirmation for any vehicles from your attorney or car dealer
  7. Receive your discharge in the mail.
  8. For a chapter 13 the client will additionally attend a confirmation hearing and then receive an order confirming their chapter 13 plan.

Where Can Someone File Bankruptcy?

Someone can file bankruptcy with the assistance of an attorney in any Federal Bankruptcy Court. In New Jersey the courts are located in Newark, Trenton and Camden. In New York the courts are in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Central Islip, White Plains and Pougkeepsie (Additional NY courts are located in Albany).

What Options Do I Have If I Decide To File Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 for individuals and businesses : a discharge of all unsecured debt and surrender of secured debt, without a repayment to creditors.

Chapter 13 for individuals only: a partial discharge of your debt with a repayment to your secured and/or unsecured debt over a three (3) or five (5) year period.

Chapter 11 for individuals and business: a reorganization of contractual obligations and repayment of your secured and unsecured debt. Chapter 12 which is exclusively for farmers and partial repayment of secured and unsecured debt.

A small plank with a bag of money balanced on one side, and a graduation cap on the other.

Can I File Bankruptcy If I Have Overwhelming Student Debt?

Yes. In both a Chapter 7 and 13; however additional legal steps are required to prove that the debt is an undue hardship.

Will I Lose My Home If I File Bankruptcy?

No. You can maintain your home in a Chapter 7 as long as you are under the exemption amount for your state. In a Chapter 13 you can pay off your arrears to keep your home and force your mortgage company to accept your payments.

How Long Does The Bankruptcy Process Typically Take?

Typically for a no asset Chapter 7 case is 90 days. Typically for a Chapter 13 case 3-4 months.

How Long Will it Take for My Credit Score to Improve?

Your credit score will begin to improve 30 days after your bankruptcy case is closed.

Why Should I File Bankruptcy?

To avoid foreclosure, pay off arrears on your home, avoid garnishments and other legal proceedings, to discharge judgments from other courts, to avoid excessive tax repayment schedules, to maintain your business or to wind down your business, student loans are an undue hardship, a reprieve from credit card repayments at excessive interest rates or to have a FRESH START.

A Bank Is Threatening To Take My House In Foreclosure. What Are My Options?

A house in the rain with the word 'foreclosure' stamped over it.

Regardless of filing bankruptcy, please ensure that you answer the complaint in State court to avoid a default judgement.

If you want to keep your home:

Attempt a modification: Go to Fannie Mae, look up and see if fannie mae has your loan and apply for a modification and/or apply for a modification with your servicers. See if your servicers have a fast track modification program ( ask for it). See if you qualify for any of the Attorney General Settlements with your bank or servicer. You can also request loan modification with the assistance of the bankruptcy court.

File for a Chapter 13 and arrange a plan to repay the arrears that you owe to your bank without going through the modification process.

If you don't want to keep your home

File a Chapter 7/13 bankruptcy to surrender your home and be released from the liability of the mortgage or any shortages from a short sale. You will also need a court to ensure a proper deed in lieu work out or abandonment of the property .

How Do Bankruptcy Lawyers Differentiate Themselves?

The amount of legal work and time that they will commit to a client. Many clients are not familiar with how extensive and protective the bankruptcy laws can be.

Bankruptcy laws stay in affect after the client receives his/her discharge order. Bankruptcy attorneys should be versed in all matters of the bankruptcy court and litigation. This includes:

  • Adversary proceedings
  • Strip off of mortgages
  • Cram down of cars
  • Enforcing the automatic stay
  • Enforcing the discharge injunction

In addition, they must have a basic working knowledge of consumer laws.This includes the Fair Credit Reporting Act and Fair Debt Collection Practice Laws.

At the Law Offices of Michelle Labayen, we make sure that our clients are protected and creditors follow federal laws before, during, and after the bankruptcy process.

What is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

To qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor may be an individual, a partnership or a corporation. 11 U.S.C Sec. 101. Subject to the means test and other statutory concerns (have not received a discharge from bankruptcy in the last eight years) relief is granted to individuals irrespective of the amount of the debtor's debts.

The process of a Chapter 7 case usually begins with the debtor filing a petition with the bankruptcy court. Once the petition is filed the automatic stay comes into effect. The automatic stay stops any legal action or collection process from going forward. The petition is comprised of schedules, statements and declarations. The schedules include a listing of assets and liabilities, creditor information, income and expenses, contracts and leases. Statements include statements of financial affairs and Declaration about the debtor's intention, credit counseling compliance and social security number.

The debtor must provide 6 months of pay stubs, two years of tax returns (federal and state) bank account information, car and title information, mortgage title and information (if applicable), listing of all creditors (including recipient of alimony and child support payments if applicable) and provide a copy of the credit counseling course.