Pittsburgh Debt Relief and Bankruptcy FAQs

1. What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is the legal process designed to help individuals, families, or businesses that are unable to repay their debts. Our district in Pittsburgh, Erie, or Johnstown is the Western District of Pennsylvania.  Bankruptcy provides a way for the Debtor to obtain a fresh start quickly.  In Allegheny County and Pittsburgh our court has specific local rules so it is important to have a Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney to guide you through the process.  

When a Debtor declares bankruptcy, they are provided protection from their creditors.  The primary goal of bankruptcy is to provide relief to the debtor from the collection of debts or harassment from creditors.

2. How does bankruptcy work?

The first step is to file a bankruptcy petition with Western District of Pennsylvania Bankruptcy Court.  The petition includes all financial information, a list of assets and debts, income and expenses, and other relevant details. Once the bankruptcy petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect. This stay halts most collection actions by creditors, including lawsuits, wage garnishments, and harassing calls demanding payment.  

Prior to filing you and your Pittsburgh Chapter 7 Bankruptcy attorney or your Pittsburgh Chapter 13 Attorney will review your financial situation to determine what chapter of bankruptcy is right for your needs.  After review by the Trustee in Chapter 7 your case can be discharged in about 2 months.  In Chapter 13, after review of your case by the Chapter 13 Trustee, you will continue to make payments for your plan term (36-60 months) Once the bankruptcy process is completed, eligible debts may be discharged. This means that you are no longer personally liable for those debts, and creditors are prohibited from pursuing further collection actions.

3. What are the different types of bankruptcy?

There are different types of bankruptcy proceedings in Pittsburgh, but the most common ones include:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:  Most unsecured debts are discharged meaning the debtor is no longer legally obligated to repay them.
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: This type of bankruptcy is primarily used by business.  It allows the business to reorganize its debts and operations to continue its business while repaying its creditors over time. Chapter 11 bankruptcy often involves developing a plan to restructure the company and reduce expenses.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Chapter 13 bankruptcy is typically used by individuals with a regular income who want to reorganize their debts.  Your Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney will help you prepare a Chapter 13 Plan.  It involves creating a plan to repay creditors over a period of three to five years. Once the plan is completed, the remaining eligible debts are usually discharged.

Debt Discharge: One of the primary benefits of bankruptcy is the potential to have your debts discharged and eliminated. Your Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney will review your situation but many Debtors have their unsecured debts, credit cards, personal loans, and medical bills eliminated.

Automatic Stay: When you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put in place, which halts most collection actions by creditors. This means that creditors must immediately stop collection calls, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and other attempts to collect debts. 

Repayment Plans: For individuals filing under Chapter 13 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the opportunity to create a court-approved repayment plan can be beneficial. This allows you to consolidate and restructure your debts and come up with a more manageable payment plan over time.

 Protection of Assets: By taking advantage of your bankruptcy exemptions, you can most likely retain ownership of important assets while still addressing your debts.

Fresh Financial Start: Bankruptcy can provide a fresh start by allowing you to eliminate or restructure debts that have become unmanageable. 

Yes.  Our Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorneys will review all of your assets prior to filing your bankruptcy.  Most Debtors keep all of their assets.  This includes houses, cars, furniture, tools, firearms, retirement accounts, jewelry, and business assets.  It is extremely important to have an attorney knowledgeable about the exemptions for property in the Western District of Pennsylvania when filing.  Call and speak with our knowledgeable Pittsburgh Team.

This is a difficult question for any Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyer.  For many clients the answer is yes.  Typically credit cards, personal loans, medical bills, and utility past due balances are dischargeable.  Debts such as child support, recent taxes, mortgages, or a vehicle loan are not dischargeable.  However, that does not mean that bankruptcy can’t help with these types of debts.  Chapter 13 can provide you the opportunity to pay these debts over a more manageable 60 month payment Plan.  Call our team today to review your current finances to make the best debt relief decision today. 

In general, bankruptcy information can remain on a credit report for a period of time. Here are the typical durations for each type of bankruptcy in the United States:

  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing can remain on your credit report for up to 10 years from the date of filing.
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: A Chapter 13 bankruptcycan stay on your credit report for up to 7 years from the date of filing.
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy: Chapter 11 bankruptcy, primarily used by businesses, can also remain on your credit report for up to 7 years from the date of filing.

Credit reporting agencies are responsible for updating credit reports and removing outdated information. The reporting period typically starts from the date of filing, not the date of discharge. 

Yes you can file more than once.  There are timing requirements that must be reviewed by your Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyer prior to filing a second bankruptcy.  Below is a quick guide to filing bankruptcy more than once.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy – If you previously filed for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and obtained a discharge you must wait eight years prior to filing a subsequent Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.  The important date to remember is it is 8 years from your previous filing date not discharge date.  You may be eligible to file a Chapter 13, four years after you have filed your previous chapter 7. 

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is primarily used to discharge unsecured debt in most cases personal loans or credit cards.  You qualify for chapter 7 based on income.  If you are under the set income limit and you do not have assets above the allowed exemption you or your family can file chapter 7 bankruptcy in Pittsburgh and get a financial fresh start.  In most cases you can keep your house, car, and retirement accounts.  It is extremely important to have a Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyer on your side to review your finances to determine if Chapter 7 is your best option.

Chapter 13 is a bankruptcy that allows you a payment plan to pay down your debts.  The payment plan can incorporate back taxes, mortgage arrears (from a foreclosure), stop a repossession, or just reduce the amount of unsecured debts you owe.  Our Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Team is familiar with the local rules and procedures to make sure that your chapter 13 plan gives you the best financial fresh start.

Student loans are not easily discharged in bankruptcy unless you can demonstrate “undue hardship.” The criteria for proving undue hardship can vary and can be very strict.

To discharge student loans based on undue hardship in the United States, you need to file an adversary proceeding.

Proving undue hardship is challenging.  Courts often use different tests, such as the “Brunner test” or the “totality of the circumstances” test, to determine if the borrower meets the undue hardship requirement.

It’s important to note that discharging student loans through bankruptcy based on undue hardship is relatively rare. However, bankruptcy can provide other benefits, such as relief from other types of debt or the opportunity to create a repayment plan for managing debts, which may help free up resources to address student loan obligations.

YES.  Yes bankruptcy can stop creditor harassment and collection efforts in Pittsburgh and Allegheny County.  When you file a bankruptcy, the automatic stay stops collection actions by creditors.  The automatic stay also stops utility shut offs or terminations for Equitable Gas or Duquesne Light or any other providers.  Filing a bankruptcy can also stop a sheriff sale, foreclosure sale, property tax sale, or other creditor activity. 

Short answer is Yes.  In most cases you can keep your house and car if you file bankruptcy.  It is important to remember that you need a knowledgeable Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney to review your assets and debts prior to filing.  Our team can provide you with the best options to get debt free and keep your assets. In Pennsylvania we are able to choose the Pennsylvania State Exemptions or the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions. Both of these exemptions provide protection for your assets.  

Tax debts can be included in bankruptcy, however, whether they are discharged depends on several factors. The eligibility to discharge tax debts in bankruptcy varies based on the type of tax owed, the timing of the tax debt, and the specific circumstances of the case.   

Income Taxes: In general, income taxes may be eligible for discharge in bankruptcy if they meet certain criteria. If this criteria is met, income tax debts may be dischargeable in bankruptcy. Chapter 7 vs. Chapter 13: The treatment of tax debts can differ between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Chapter 7, if the tax debts meet the discharge criteria, the taxes may be eliminated or reduced. In Chapter 13, tax debts are generally included in the repayment plan, allowing you to pay them off over a period of three to five years.

It’s essential to consult with a Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorney and our tax professionals to assess your specific situation and determine the dischargeability of your tax debts in bankruptcy. 

No. An attorney is not required to file for bankruptcy.  However, when you file bankruptcy all of your personal assets, income, and financial future are at risk.  It is important that you have an experienced team on your side.  Our Pittsburgh Team of Bankruptcy and Accounting professionals can assist you in making sure you get a financial fresh start.  Most Debtors who obtain a discharge in bankruptcy are represented by experienced bankruptcy attorneys.

The cost of bankruptcy varies by the chapter of bankruptcy that you are filing.  Our Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Lawyers always offer free consultations to determine the best chapter of bankruptcy for you to get a fresh start.  Our team provides transparent and upfront pricing for all bankruptcy and debt relief services.  We offer payment plans for all services.  Within your first phone call, text, or email we can provide you detailed cost information.  Lastly we always quote you a fee that includes filing fees, credit counseling, and credit reporting fees.  Make sure any lawyer you speak with includes these fees in their quote.  You do not want to get a surprise when you go to file that their fee is not what you expected.  

No, bankruptcy does not eliminate child support and alimony (also known as spousal support) child support, alimony, or spousal support obligations are considered priority debts and are generally not dischargeable in bankruptcy.

Child support and alimony are typically not affected by a bankruptcy filing in Pittsburgh and the debtor remains responsible for making the required payments. 

It’s important to consult with our Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorneys or our Pittsburgh Family Law Attorneys to fully understand how bankruptcy may impact your specific situation and to ensure that you comply with your obligations for child support and alimony. We can provide guidance tailored to your circumstances as we have attorneys available who focus their practice in these areas of the law and can help you navigate the legal aspects of your financial situation.

Yes, you can start rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy. While bankruptcy can have an impact on your credit score it is not permanent. With time and responsible financial behavior, you can rebuild your credit score. Here are some steps you can take to start rebuilding your credit:

  1. Review your credit report.
  2. Create a budget and financial plan.
  3. Establish an emergency fund.
  4. Make timely payments.
  5. Keep credit utilization low.
  6. Monitor your credit.

Rebuilding credit after bankruptcy takes patience. It’s important to maintain responsible financial habits, prioritize timely payments, and avoid taking on excessive debt. 

There are alternatives to filing for bankruptcy that you can consider depending on your financial situation and goals. Here are some common alternatives:

  • Negotiating with Creditors: You can hire our Pittsburgh Team to negotiate with your creditors directly to reach new repayment terms, such as lower interest rates, extended payment plans, or reduced settlement amounts. 
  • Debt Consolidation: Debt consolidation involves combining multiple debts into a single loan or credit line with more favorable terms. This can help simplify your payments and potentially lower your interest rate. If taking a loan against your house, be sure you have exhausted other options first.  Talk with our team to review.
  • Debt Settlement: Debt settlement involves our Pittsburgh Team negotiating with your creditors to settle your debts for less than the full amount owed. This typically requires making a lump sum payment or entering a payment plan over time.   
  • Financial Hardship Programs: Some creditors, especially for specific types of debt like medical bills or student loans, may offer hardship programs or assistance programs to help individuals facing financial challenges. These programs may involve temporarily reduced payments, deferment, or forbearance options.


It’s important to consider the pros and cons of each alternative. Call our Pittsburgh Bankruptcy Attorneys to review all of your bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options.  We offer free consultations and payment plans for bankruptcy and debt relief services. 

Trust Us To Restore Financial Stability

Debt is stressful. We offer reasonable legal fees and payment plans to all of our debt relief and bankruptcy clients.

To learn more about your debt relief options call at 724-832-2499email or chat.

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


The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation. We invite you to contact us and welcome your calls, letters and electronic mail. Contacting us does not create an attorney-client relationship. Please do not send any confidential information to us until such time as an attorney-client relationship has been established.

Privacy Policy

This privacy policy discloses the privacy practices for www.bononiandbononi.com. This privacy policy applies solely to information collected by this web site. It will notify you of the following:

  1. What personally identifiable information is collected from you through the web site, how it is used and with whom it may be shared.
  2. What choices are available to you regarding the use of your data.
  3. The security procedures in place to protect the misuse of your information.
  4. How you can correct any inaccuracies in the information.

Information Collection, Use, and Sharing 
We are the sole owners of the information collected on this site. We only have access to/collect information that you voluntarily give us via email or other direct contact from you. We will not sell or rent this information to anyone.

We will use your information to respond to you, regarding the reason you contacted us. We will not share your information with any third party outside of our organization, other than as necessary.

Unless you ask us not to, we may contact you via email in the future to tell you about specials, new products or services, or changes to this privacy policy.

Your Access to and Control Over Information 
You may opt out of any future contacts from us at any time. You can do the following at any time by contacting us via the email address or phone number given on our website:

  • See what data we have about you, if any.
  • Change/correct any data we have about you.
  • Have us delete any data we have about you.
  • Express any concern you have about our use of your data.

We take precautions to protect your information. When you submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected both online and offline.

We also protect your information offline. Only employees who need the information to perform a specific job (for example, billing or customer service) are granted access to personally identifiable information. The computers/servers in which we store personally identifiable information are kept in a secure environment.


Our Privacy Policy may change from time to time and all updates will be posted on this page.

If you feel that we are not abiding by this privacy policy, you should contact us immediately via telephone at 412-832-2499