According to the New York Times, despite its centralized location and proximity to MacArthur Airport and the Ronkonkoma train station, the Hamlet of Bohemia is actually a refuge from typical city life, boasting properties averaging from one-third to two acres. Horseback riders can be seen trotting down Sycamore Avenue, and it is just a short trip to the Sayville ferry and a weekend on Fire Island. In fact, Bohemia is known for its equestrian culture, and many residents have stables and horse properties designed for their four-legged friends. Connetquot River State Park, located off of Sunrise Highway in Bohemia, has a plethora of beautiful riding trails and historic homes, including 3,473 acres of land and water that is home to rare birds and plants. The park has over 50 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, and it even offers cross-country skiing, snowshoe paths, and fishing piers on the Connetquot River. Accordingly, Bohemia is one of the rare areas of Long Island that can be enjoyed year-round. With its convenient proximity to the Ronkonkoma express train into Penn Station and reasonable home prices, Bohemia has been a go-to gem for many Long Islanders over the years.
As of the last census, Bohemia boasted around 10,000 residents with 3,300 households, each averaging about three people per household. The median household income in Bohemia is around $84,000, but the average per capita income was only about $37,000 in 2016. Although Bohemia’s median home price of $382,000 is relatively reasonable for Long Island, especially considering the acreage Bohemia offers, most Bohemian households rely on two incomes. In fact, close to 70% of Bohemians are working. With the average monthly cost of a mortgaged home around $2,900 in Bohemia, the sudden and unexpected loss of a job can be quite detrimental to Bohemia couples.
Whether you live in Bohemia Town Center, have a historic home with a park view, or live off Lakeland Avenue, Johnson Avenue, or Church Street, Bohemia has a lot to offer. If you have found yourself in a financial hole, you may be afraid you’ll have to leave Bohemia for good. However, this is not necessarily the case, even if you file bankruptcy. Bohemia Bankruptcy Attorney Ronald D. Weiss can help guide you through the financial management and bankruptcy process if your debt has become overwhelming. In some cases, if you are a wage earner or have sufficient assets, you may be able to take advantage of the protection a bankruptcy court can offer while keeping your Bohemia home, and even your barn!
As a neighbor to Central Islip, Bohemia is actually right next door to the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York, Central Islip Division, which covers all bankruptcy petitions filed in Suffolk County. Bankruptcy is actually a federal matter, as Congress was given the constitutional authority to create uniform bankruptcy laws throughout the United States. In part, this was to ensure that you could not move around to ensure more favorable bankruptcy outcomes in another district or state. Bankruptcy itself was designed to aid those who could not get ahead of their debts, whether because of mounting predatory interest rates, missed payments and penalties, capitalized interest, or simply a loss of income. While some debts, such as your mortgage and car payment, are secured—meaning that you can typically forfeit the property in exchange for debt relief—unsecured debts can get you into trouble. What may start as a small credit card bill can quickly turn unmanageable, as minimum payments are designed to prevent you from getting ahead on your debt.
For example, if you put $1,000 worth of clothing on your credit card with an interest rate of 18% and do not pay off the debt after the first statement, the next month you are looking at $1,180. If you only made the $25 minimum payment, then this covers only about 20% of the interest for that month, and you never touch the principle. With larger debts, as the interest begins to mount and capitalize, there may not be a way out when taking into consideration all your debts and income. In this case, bankruptcy may be an option for you, as it is meant to protect you from creditor harassment and release you from debts you can no longer afford.
Whether you’re in debt as the result of poor financial management, unexpected medical bills, or loss of a job, Attorney Ronald D. Weiss can counsel you as to the best bankruptcy options for you and your family. We will explore all possible debt relief options, such as a mortgage modification or negotiated settlements with your credit cards, and will advise if bankruptcy seems like a viable option in your situation.
One of the major benefits of filing for bankruptcy is called the “automatic bankruptcy stay” of civil litigation. If you have litigation pending against you, whether for foreclosure or personal injuries, once you file a petition for bankruptcy your Bohemia bankruptcy attorney will submit paperwork that instigates the stay, no matter how far along you are in the litigation. Whether the case is in Supreme Court, District Court, or a small claims debt collection matter, it is frozen until your bankruptcy case is adjudicated. In this case, your creditors will have to make a claim in bankruptcy court to protect their assets, and if they do not, they may forfeit their right to collect on the debt. A Long Island bankruptcy attorney in Bohemia can ensure that each creditor is aware you have filed a bankruptcy petition and that all further communication must go through the assigned trustee. You will likely experience relief as soon as you file your bankruptcy petition. Your foreclosure will be stayed, attempts at debt collection must stop, and professional financial managers and advisers, including your Bohemia bankruptcy lawyer, will begin to help you organize and manage your assets and debts.
Although bankruptcy has its benefits, especially for those who have lost their jobs and cannot manage their debts without assistance, it also has its downfalls. First, it should be noted that the following debts are examples of debts considered “nondischargeable,” which means you will not be relieved of them after a bankruptcy discharge:
However, just because you will not be relieved of these debts does not mean that bankruptcy cannot help you restructure these debts and give your attorney and the court time to negotiate with your creditors to get you a lower interest rate, more affordable payments, or more time to pay off your debt. In determining whether to file for bankruptcy, your attorney will generally look at the following factors:
Income – if you are filing for bankruptcy as a wage earner, i.e., Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must have a certain level of steady income in order to qualify. Further, if your income is too high, it may prevent you from filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy;
Debts – if your secured debts are over about $1.2 million dollars and your unsecured debts are over about $400,000, you will not be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy;
Assets – if you have minimal assets or assets that fall under many of the New York exemptions (i.e., a used car, a house under $150,000, basic kitchen equipment, and tools of the trade to name a few), then you may benefit from Chapter 7 liquidation. If, however, you have a home in Bohemia that averages over $150,000, a stable with horses, and equestrian equipment that you do not wish to forfeit because these assets are not exempt, Chapter 7 might not be the best option for you. Instead, you may wish to take advantage of Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 restructuring.
If, after looking at these guiding factors, you decide that bankruptcy is not right for you and your family, you can still call Attorney Ronald D. Weiss to discuss your financial options, including foreclosure defense and protection from predatory lending.
Whether you’re an individual business owner, such as a sole proprietor, or are simply struggling with personal bankruptcy, if you believe it may be the right option for you, the next step is to choose which type of bankruptcy petition to file. The most common type of bankruptcy is also the one most associated with bankruptcy itself, Chapter 7 liquidation. However, it is not the only type of bankruptcy available:
Chapter 7: This type of bankruptcy is a traditional liquidation, which means all of your non-exempt assets are liquidated, typically including your home, vehicle, furniture, bank accounts, jewelry, and anything else of great value, and the money is given to the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee then distributes the money in priority order between all your creditors that filed as parties in interest. Once the money is distributed, the rest of your non-exempt debts are discharged, which means forgiven. Because bankruptcy is a tenant of American law, when you are loaned money or given a credit card, the creditors are taking a risk that a bankruptcy discharge is a possibility. This is why you are typically subject to higher interest rates and penalties for unsecured debts because it’s a greater risk to the creditor. Secured creditors, such as your mortgage holder, are taking less of a risk because their debt is actually secured by something of value, i.e., your home.
Chapter 13: Many Long Islanders do not have the option of taking advantage of New York’s homestead exemption, which is capped at $150,000. With the average home price in Bohemia at $380,000, you will likely lose your home if you file for Chapter 7 liquidation. However, there is another option. If you are working, have a steady income, and your debts are not too high, then you likely qualify for wage-earner bankruptcy. In this case, your debts are consolidated, and you are essentially put on a budget where you pay down your debts over a period of three to five years. If you successfully complete your payment plan, then your remaining dischargeable debts are forgiven, and you get to keep your assets, including your home.
Chapter 11: This type of bankruptcy is for business owners who do not want to give up their business. Maybe you’ve just fallen on hard times and need a leg up after a bad year, but you still believe the business can succeed. This type of bankruptcy is similar to Chapter 13, except you act as your own trustee, following the court’s orders and distributing your profits to your debtors accordingly. The benefit, however, is that you get to both keep your business assets and stay in business, and if you complete your payment plan, you may be eligible for discharge. The downfall of this type of bankruptcy is that it takes a lot of compliance paperwork. Having a bankruptcy attorney on your side during this process can greatly reduce your stress level and increase your chances of successful compliance.
No matter what type of bankruptcy you file for, it is going to result in significant life changes for you and your family. You may have to adjust your lifestyle, and it will be difficult to get a loan or credit card in the future. However, it also means you can get a fresh start on life, free from debt and harassment. You may also be able to keep your home, vehicles, and assets if you have the right attorney on your side.
Whether you started to fall behind in your payments due to a layoff, unexpected illness, predatory lending practices, loss of income, or poor financial management, debts can quickly snowball. Compounding interest and penalties on your loans and credit cards can leave you making only interest payments for the next twenty years. Don’t let your debt define you. To schedule a free case estimate, call the Law Office of Ronald D. Weiss, P.C. at (631) 223-4502, contact us online today, or visit our conveniently located Bohemia Office – 80 Orville Drive, Suite 100, Rm 225, Bohemia, NY 11716.
Law Office of Ronald D. Weiss, P.C.
80 Orville Drive
Suite 100, Rm 225
Bohemia, NY 11716