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Rockland County bankruptcy lawyerMedical debt is a serious problem that plagues millions of people throughout the U.S. In 2020, surveys conducted by Credit Karma and found that the average American has over $2,000 in medical debt, and a substantial portion of the population has medical debt of $10,000 or more. High unemployment rates during the COVID-19 pandemic have exacerbated the issue, as many people have lost employer-sponsored health insurance coverage.

If you are struggling with medical debt, chances are that you are also facing financial hardship in other areas of your life, including difficulty keeping up with mortgage and credit card payments. If so, you may be wondering about your options for relief, including the possibility of filing for bankruptcy.

Reducing Medical Debt Without Bankruptcy

It is important to note that there are often other options for addressing your medical expenses without resorting to filing for bankruptcy. For example, you can attempt to negotiate your bills with your healthcare provider, which may result in a reduction of the costs or the creation of a payment plan that allows you to make manageable payments over time. You may even qualify for a financial assistance program offered by your provider based on your income and assets.


Rockland County divorce lawyerMany people think of their home and work lives as being substantially separate. If you own a business, especially one in which your spouse has little to no involvement, it may seem logical that the business would be your own personal property. However, in many cases, New York law considers businesses to be marital property, meaning that a divorce could have major implications for the business’s ownership and continued operation.

Is My Business a Marital Asset?

New York law has a broad definition of marital property that includes almost all assets acquired by either spouse throughout the course of a marriage. Importantly, the law specifies that this is true “regardless of the form in which title is held,” meaning that if you acquired or started a business during your marriage, it could be considered marital property even if your spouse is not named as a partner or joint owner.

However, a business will be considered your own separate property if you owned it prior to your marriage, or if you acquired it during your marriage through a gift or inheritance, or in exchange for other separate property. A prenuptial or postnuptial agreement with your spouse could also specify that your business is to be treated as separate property. However, if a business increases in value during the marriage because of contributions from your spouse, at least part of the business could become marital property under New York law.


Rockland County bankruptcy attorneyFiling for bankruptcy can provide substantial relief for those struggling with unmanageable debts, but it can come at a cost. With the option of Chapter 7 bankruptcy in particular, many people are concerned about the necessity of liquidating their assets in exchange for debt relief. However, under New York law, certain kinds of property are exempt from bankruptcy judgments, meaning that you may be able to file for divorce while retaining the possessions that are most important to you.

What Exemptions Can New Yorkers Claim?

When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in New York, you have the option to exempt certain assets from liquidation and sale using either the federal bankruptcy exemption scheme, or the state exemption scheme laid out in the New York Civil Practice Law & Rules statutes. Each scheme has its benefits depending on the types of assets you own. However, the New York state exemptions are typically more beneficial if you have significant equity in a home.

If you do choose to use the state exemption list, you can retain possession of the following assets as of April 1, 2021:

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