The Law Office of Michael E. Panagos,Westfield, NJ 07090 is experienced in Bankruptcy Matters and Proceedings and is available to review, in strict confidence, your financial situation and recommend the right remedy.


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Contact Law Office of Michael Panagos in Westfield New Jersey 07090 for a Consultation Appointment to discuss these matters in more detail.


We are conveniently located at

201 South Avenue E., Westfield, NJ 07090

One block East of the Central Avenue Intersection



The Law Office of Michael Panagos represents clients in:

Union County

Middlesex County

Somerset County

Essex County

Monmouth County

Ocean County

Hudson County










Unfortunately for many, bankruptcy has become the only viable solution to financial difficulty. An experienced attorney must be able to intelligently analyze a typical debtors financial problems to determine the best course of action. Information to be reviewed and discussed includes:

• The approximate total amount of debt

• A description of each significant debt to determine if it can be discharged, whether it is secured by a lien or mortgage and if there are co-debtors.

• A description of the debtors assets and an analysis of what can be protected. (For example - retirement accounts such as IRA's and 401(k)'s and pensions are protected assets.)

• A review of current actions, including lawsuits, foreclosures, wage garnishments and repossessions.

• The debtor's income.

• The debtors preference as to each significant debt and whether to repay it (for example - car loans are often repaid in order to retain ownership of the vehicle) or discharge it.

The attorney and debtor client can then make a decision as to the appropriate solution or remedy which would include the following:

• Filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (also known as a "straight" bankruptcy) under which most, if not all, debts are discharged.
• Filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy under which debts are repaid over a period of 3 to 5 years out of current income. (This is a particularly appropriate remedy to stop a mortgage foreclosure where the debtor currently has the income to make the payments.)
• Entering into out of court settlements or financial arrangements with all or some of the creditors.

The filing and the difference between a Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy petition filings result in what is known as an "automatic stay", which means that creditors are prohibited from any lawsuits and collection efforts of any nature until and unless the bankruptcy court permits them to continue.

In most Chapter 7 cases the creditors will not be able to obtain this permission. Once the attorney files the Chapter 7 petition the creditors are notified by the court that a bankruptcy is in effect. At the conclusion of a Chapter 7 case the debtor will receive a "discharge", which is a Court Order releasing the debtor from all debts which are dischargeable. Creditors are ordered never to attempt to collect on these debts.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is preferable where the debtor has valuable property which may be lost in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and has sufficient income or assets to repay debts that are in default. In a typical Chapter 13 the debtor needs temporary relief from the actions (such as lawsuits) of creditors in order to set up a schedule to repay in an orderly manner. In some cases a debtor may not be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (such as a Chapter 7 was used in the last 8 years or the income is too high) and, thus, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be available.