Call: 856-963-5000Schedule Your Free Consultation
We offer a Free Consultation in any of our 4 offices or virtually, as needed.
Menu ☰

Category: Bankruptcy

Will Bankruptcy Help Me If My Vehicle Was Repossessed in New Jersey?

Letter on a desk with the word REPOSESSION at the top with an orange pen

If you have ever had a vehicle repossessed in New Jersey, it can be a difficult and stressful experience. However, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be an option for having your vehicle returned to you.

Once My Vehicle is Towed, What Are My Options?

Once the vehicle has been repossessed, it is towed to the repossession lot. You should receive a notification that the lender will sell your vehicle at auction a few days later. Your options are to pay the loan in full before you can get your vehicle back or file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy to stop the sale of the vehicle. The key to remember is that once a vehicle is repossessed, the loan is accelerated and the full balance is due in order to get the vehicle returned to your possession.

What Does Automatic Stay Mean?

If you choose to file a Bankruptcy Petition, then the automatic stay goes into effect. This means that creditors and collectors are prohibited from taking any further action to collect on your debt, including selling your repossessed vehicle at auction, or repossessing your vehicle if they haven’t already.

In New Jersey, it is customary for a vehicle creditor to give you the location of the repossessed vehicle shortly after you file your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy so that you may obtain the vehicle. However, there is case law that states the creditor doesn’t have to immediately give back the car until a Bankruptcy Judge Orders the Turnover of the Vehicle.  So, it isn’t a matter of if but rather when you can get your vehicle back after filing for Bankruptcy Protection.

Talk to a Local Attorney with Extensive Bankruptcy and Car Repossession Experience!

It is important to hire experienced, local bankruptcy counsel to assist you in obtaining your vehicle in the quickest way possible. Brenner Spiller & Archer have extensive bankruptcy experience in getting vehicles returned to their rightful owner typically within two days of the filing of a bankruptcy petition.

Contact our bankruptcy lawyers today. At Brenner Spiller & Archer are here to help. Contact us today either online or call now for a free consultation at 856-963-5000.


We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

White male sitting on floor holding credit cards and bills spreadout on the floor

6 Debts You Can’t Discharge Through Bankruptcy

bankruptcy and my inheritance

Bankruptcy can be a proper solution for people feeling the massive weight of financial burdens. It can provide a clean slate that allows someone, with few caveats, to get a fresh start and regain power over their financial situation and life. But what debts can you discharge through bankruptcy?

While bankruptcy is extremely helpful in relieving financial stress, it’s definitely not a complete reset button. Here are seven types of debt that won’t be discharged through bankruptcy:

1) Child Support and Spousal Support

Despite the best interests, child support and spousal support payments can make a difficult financial situation worse. It’s a necessary obligation that most would like to pay, but other debts and common bills can pile up. Add to that the high fixed costs of child support and/or spousal support, and it’s a recipe for financial disaster. But while bankruptcy can help alleviate some debt, take note that child support and spousal support are not dischargeable.

2) Student Loans

Student loans aren’t generally discharged in bankruptcy, especially not when the loans are recent or school has just been completed. For student loans to be discharged in bankruptcy, you must prove that the loans have caused undue hardship. This usually involves showing proof that you’ve made a constant effort to stay on top of payments and proof of extremely low income.

3) More Recent Credit Card Debt

A common misconception is that someone planning on going bankrupt can go on a shopping spree only to have the charges wiped away as though they never happened. Bankruptcy is a serious decision made when debt has grown to a point that finances have become an insurmountable burden. It’s not uncommon for a court to determine those latest charges aren’t a cause of the current financial situation and may even be classified as attempted fraud.

4) Back Taxes

Taxes can be a hairy situation in bankruptcy. Income taxes, tax penalties, unpaid withheld taxes, and even Social Security taxes cannot generally be discharged. There are few exceptions to this, one of which is if the taxes due are for a return due more than three years ago. Depending on the nature of the taxes, it could be possible to discharge some tax debts, but not usually.

5) Criminal Restitution

Fines and penalties imposed for breaking the law are not dischargeable in bankruptcy under any circumstances.

6) Mortgage

Bankruptcy will not discharge your first mortgage.

We can, at times, discharge a second mortgage or a line of credit where there is a first mortgage in place.

Despite the things bankruptcy cannot discharge, it may be an extremely helpful option for you to regain control of your finances. Don’t let this list of restrictions deter you from getting the help you need.  Talk to an experienced bankruptcy lawyer today!

Get Your Free Consultation With Our Bankruptcy Attorneys

Are you or a loved one in New Jersey looking for financial relief and are considering bankruptcy, but don’t know where to start? Let our experienced and knowledgeable attorneys help navigate you through the bankruptcy process. At Brenner Spiller & Archer, our experienced bankruptcy lawyers will review your entire financial situation and make recommendations based on your specific situation. We offer a free consultation and are here to help guide you to financial freedom.

Contact Our Lawyers Today to Schedule Your Consultation

Understanding the Difference Between a Garnishment and a Levy

Understanding the Difference Between a Garnishment and a Levy

Wage Garnishment

If you’re struggling to pay your bills, you might receive a notice that a creditor is placing a levy or garnishment on your bank account or wages. A creditor can be a medical provider, the IRS, or anyone who can prove that you owe them money. 

Most creditors must give you written notice before they can take money from your account or paycheck. Still, it’s important to understand the difference between garnishment and a levy and how you can stop creditors from accessing your income and deposits. This page will give you an introduction to garnishments and levies, how an experienced debt-reduction attorney can help you keep your money, and how bankruptcy can temporarily protect your assets.

What Are Levies and Garnishments?

Levies and garnishments are similar in that they allow creditors to collect payments from your accounts or paycheck. In most cases, creditors must first go to court and obtain a judgment against you, proving that you owe them money (the IRS is one exception). The difference between garnishment and a levy is where the creditor can collect the money.

With a garnishment, your employer withholds a portion of your paycheck and pays it to the creditor. With a levy (also called an attachment), the bank freezes your account, and the creditor can withdraw any future deposits.

When considering garnishment vs. levy, both are ways for creditors to obtain the money they are entitled to from a legal judgment. The difference is where they can access the money: from your bank account (levy) or out of your paycheck (garnishment).

What Are the Limits on Levies and Garnishments?

A bank levy doesn’t mean you lose the money in your bank account. It only means it is frozen. The creditor must file a “Motion to Turn Over Funds” with the courts before it can collect from your account. A judgment creditor has 20 years to execute the levy. If you object, file for bankruptcy, or file for an exemption, the levy can be lifted, and you’ll be able to access the money in your account. 

In addition, the law limits the amount a creditor can garnish from your wages. Creditors cannot reach the first $217.50 that you earn each week. Also, under New Jersey law, creditors may only collect up to 10% of your income if you earn 250% or less of the federal poverty level for a household of your size. State law provides more protection than federal law (which allows creditors to take up to 25% of your wages). If a creditor exceeds the collection limit through garnishment and attempts to levy your bank account, you should file a complaint with the court. Finally, you should know that an employer cannot fire you from your job for having a garnishment.

What Types of Income Are Exempt from Levy or Garnishment?

Federal and state law protects certain types of income from creditors. When you receive notice from a creditor of a levy or garnishment, you should receive paperwork to claim exemptions. If you object to the levy and the court grants an exemption, your bank must protect the exempted amounts. Commonly protected funds include two months of:

  • Social Security benefits;
  • Student financial aid;
  • Workers’ compensation disability payments;
  • Unemployment benefits;
  • Welfare benefits (such as TANF or SNAP);
  • Retirement or pension amounts;
  • Child support; and
  • Alimony.

In addition, up to $1,000 of your personal property is protected from levy. If your account holds exempted funds and income from other sources, creditors may still be able to claim the funds that do not meet the exemption. 

What Is the Effect of Filing for Bankruptcy on Garnishments and Levies?

When you file for bankruptcy, you get immediate relief from an automatic stay. When your attorney notifies creditors that you have filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they must stop all collection activities. The creditor must lift bank levies, end garnishments, and stop calls, letters, and emails. If a creditor continues with collection efforts, it could face substantial penalties under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). 

When the court grants your bankruptcy petition, federal bankruptcy law exempts some assets from payment to creditors. Typically, the law protects your house, car, and household effects up to a specific value. While bankruptcy sounds like a worst-case scenario, it is common for the law to give consumers a second chance. 

If You Have a Levy or Garnishment, Call Brenner Spiller & Archer

If you have increasing debt and threats of foreclosure, levies, or garnishments, it is common to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, the experienced attorneys at Brenner Spiller & Archer, are here to help. Our attorneys have been helping resolve bankruptcy issues and personal injury cases for over 35 years. We provide friendly, caring, and affordable legal services to those in need throughout New Jersey. When you contact us for a free consultation, we’ll explain the legal implications of a garnishment or levy and discuss which exemptions and limits may apply to your case.

4 Bankruptcy & Credit Cards FAQs

Bankruptcy and credit cards

According to the Statista Research Department, 522,808 non-business bankruptcy cases were filed in 2020 alone. Even though filing for bankruptcy is fairly common, many people have no idea what the process entails.

Can you keep any credit cards after filing for bankruptcy? What will happen to your credit score?

Our bankruptcy lawyers at Brenner Spiller & Archer are here to help. Contact us today.

Our attorneys receive dozens of questions like these every day. Unfortunately, the answer typically involves more than a simple yes or a no. We have compiled answers to a few of our most frequently asked questions about bankruptcy and credit cards below. 

1. Can I Keep a Credit Card in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Unfortunately, you typically cannot keep your credit card accounts when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Bankruptcy treats all of your creditors the same, and this includes your credit card company.

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy cancels all of your financial contracts, including credit card agreements, leases, and secured car loans. But this doesn’t mean you cannot keep your vehicle(s) and/or lease(s).

Once your credit card company finds out that you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, they will likely cancel your credit card because they can no longer enforce your obligation to pay your credit card balance.

2. Can I Exclude a Credit Card from Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will list all of your debts. That includes all of your credit cards. Therefore, you cannot exclude a credit card from Chapter 7 bankruptcy to avoid losing it.

3. Can I Keep a Company Credit Card if I File for Bankruptcy?

Many individuals use separate credit card accounts for their businesses. So you may wonder if you will lose that credit card in bankruptcy along with all your others.

Whether or not you can keep this card depends on how the account is set up. If the company credit card is set up in the company’s name and you are just an authorized user, you can likely keep the company credit card. You are likely to be able to keep the card because, in this case, the debt obligations owed are billed to the company directly. 

However, if you are an obligor on the company credit card account, this means that you and your company are jointly responsible for paying the debt. As an obligor, you typically have to pay the bill and then seek reimbursement.

If this is the case, you will likely need to include the company credit card account on your list of debts when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This generally means that the issuer of the card will close the account.

4. Can I Keep a Future Credit Card If I File for Bankruptcy?

Luckily, filing for Chapter 7 does not prohibit you from ever having another credit card. In fact, you might receive numerous credit card offers in the mail after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy is processed. Typically, credit card companies advertise to recent bankruptcy filers because:

  • Former bankruptcy filers are typically more cautious about using credit;
  • You cannot file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy again for at least eight years; and
  • Bankruptcy wipes out all of your debt, giving you more money to spend on new credit card bills.

But please understand that securing a credit card right after you finish filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not always a good idea. If you struggled with high amounts of credit card debt, you might consider consulting with a debt relief attorney before you open another credit card account.

Once those bills start adding up, you might find yourself in the same situation a year or so into the future—but you won’t have the ability to file for bankruptcy for another seven years. 

Still Have Questions About Bankruptcy and Credit Cards? Contact Our Bankruptcy Attorneys at Brenner Spiller & Archer

We understand that many of our clients are dealing with a very difficult time in their lives. Filing for bankruptcy is never an easy decision, but we can help you achieve a fresh financial start through the bankruptcy process. 

Our legal team at Brenner Spiller & Archer, has over 35 years of experience assisting our clients with bankruptcy matters. Our experience in the bankruptcy industry has given us an extensive knowledge base from which to pull when assessing your specific circumstances and needs. We have earned the reputation of providing solid legal expertise and unwavering service to our clients. We have the experience necessary to represent you effectively in your bankruptcy case and secure a desirable resolution. Contact our office today to schedule your free consultation. We look forward to assisting you.

6 Questions to Ask a Bankruptcy Attorney When Considering Bankruptcy


bankruptcy and my inheritance

If you’re in dire financial straits and considering bankruptcy, being prepared before you meet with lawyers is incredibly important. The right bankruptcy attorney can make a meaningful difference in the outcome of your bankruptcy case. Many attorneys offer free consultations, and this can offer you a low-stakes way to find the right counsel for you.  

At Brenner, Spiller & Archer, we’re experienced bankruptcy lawyers who know how nerve-wracking bankruptcy can be. We’ve put together this list of six essential questions to ask bankruptcy attorneys when considering a bankruptcy lawyer

1. How Much Will This Cost Me?

Attorney’s fees can vary dramatically from firm to firm, and it’s okay to ask for a fee estimate upfront. You can even ask if the firm operates on a project fee basis. Any fee quotes your attorney provides should typically include the cost of filing your case in court. 

In the list of questions to ask a bankruptcy attorney, you should also ask what types of expenses your attorney expects to be reimbursed for. For instance, is printing included? Will you be charged for faxes to the court? So before signing the contract, be sure you understand how your attorney will handle unforeseen expenses that arise. And always understand up front whether you can enter into payment plans!

2. Will I Lose My House? Or My Car?

Many people are able to keep their house and car after bankruptcy. It often depends upon the type of bankruptcy you choose to file and the nature of the asset. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, many people are able to keep their house. In fact, a significant number of Chapter 7 filers are able to keep their houses, cars, and many personal possessions. The rules may be slightly different in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but these are excellent questions to ask bankruptcy attorneys. Be honest about your assets and resources. Talk through your priorities. Whichever lawyer you choose, never give up your biggest assets without getting professional advice.

3. Can I Keep a Credit Card?

You typically cannot keep your credit cards in bankruptcy. When you file for bankruptcy, you need to disclose all your credit cards, so long as they have a balance. Most creditors actively search bankruptcy filings or subscribe to a service that matches their borrowers to open bankruptcy cases. Even if your account has a zero balance, any active account that matches up to a bankruptcy case usually loses its borrowing privileges immediately. 

Access to credit following a bankruptcy can be extremely tight. Make sure to ask any potential bankruptcy lawyer how they plan to help you handle this tricky part of your case. 

4. How Long Will This Be on My Credit Report?

A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for 7-10 years, depending upon the type of bankruptcy case filed. It’s one of the good questions to ask a bankruptcy attorney when considering whether to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

5. So I Will Just Have No Credit for the Next 7 to 8 Years?

Whether you’ll have access to credit in the period after you file for bankruptcy depends on a number of factors. Filing bankruptcy is a very serious act that takes lots of careful consideration. 

Asking an experienced bankruptcy lawyer about the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy can help you understand what to do if you have limited access to credit. One of the questions to ask bankruptcy lawyers might also be whether they can refer you to a financial planner. A good financial planner can help navigate limited access to credit.

6. What If I Don’t Get Approved for Bankruptcy?

When you file a bankruptcy plan with the court, the goal is always to have the court approve the plan. And, of course, to pay your creditors appropriately! One of the key questions to ask a bankruptcy lawyer is how they would respond if the court does not approve your bankruptcy plan. What is their experience with this situation? How would they prevent it? Finding a lawyer who responds in a way that makes you feel confident is essential.

How We Can Help

At Brenner Spiller & Archer, we are experienced New Jersey bankruptcy lawyers. We have deep expertise in providing a broad range of options to families in turmoil—while offering the compassion and sensitivity that your family needs. We’re here to help you move your life forward when you need it the most. Contact us today for a free case consultation. We’d love to discuss how we can help you navigate your own bankruptcy and move past this most difficult time.

Request Your Free Consultation

    Our Office Locations



    125 NJ-73 North
    West Berlin, NJ 08091

    Phone: 856-963-5000

    Fax: 856-858-4371

    MAP & Directions


    33 Grant Street
    Mt. Holly, NJ 08060

    Phone: 609-303-5060

    Fax: 856-858-4371

    MAP & Directions


    1063 E Landis Avenue
    Vineland, NJ 08360

    Phone: 856-406-2332

    Fax: 856-858-4371

    MAP & Directions


    57 W. Main St.
    Freehold, NJ 07728

    Phone: 732-338-0659

    Fax: 856-858-4371

    MAP & Directions