After practicing bankruptcy law in New York City for over a decade, I thought I’d seen every financial calamity that could bring someone to need our help. That was obviously before the novel coronavirus, CoVid-19, and the upending of our lives in NYC and around the world. In a few short weeks, Manhattan has become a ghost town, restaurants are boarded up and no doubt there is an ominous feeling in the air. Our business is feeling it too. Law firm employees are working from home and we are now are 100% digital and remote like just about all of our colleagues in the city. But even though our offices in Midtown are shuttered our phones have been ringing off the hook and I’ve been as busy as ever consulting right from my home office. People are understandably very nervous about their employment, their finances and paying off their debts. The number of calls has been somewhat overwhelming. You can always feel the concern in the voice of someone in financial stress, but this virus has taken things to another level. And for those who were already having serious financial trouble before the pandemic started it can be even worse. But there is some good news here. So listen to me now, calm down and take a deep breath because as a bankruptcy attorney and an expert in helping people in financial distress, I’m here to tell you that your chances of needing to file for bankruptcy might have just gone down with this crisis.
Stress is real, and financial struggles can cause as much pressure as just about anything in life. As bankruptcy attorneys we know this firsthand. But no matter what might be happening with your finances or your business remember that the most important thing is for all of us to stay as healthy and as mentally fit as possible. We need to stay home right now and all do our part to flatten the curve in New York City and around the country. The government wants us all to stay at home and will pay us to do so for the health of the country. Because of this health crisis more financial aid has been made available to businesses and individuals than at any time in US history. So even if you were in desperate financial straits going into the CoVid-19 era, now is still probably not the best time to start thinking about bankruptcy.
We want to help every person that comes to our law firm. Still, we highly advise everyone to consider the new financial benefits available under the recently introduced CARES Act before reaching out to us. For many New Yorkers, this new law will provide enough relief to avoid bankruptcy altogether. If, for example you have been recently laid off or temporarily furloughed, the CARES Act will provide an additional $600/week above New York State unemployment insurance benefits. These unemployment benefits have been expanded to cover the self-employed, contract workers, gig workers, the furloughed, and 1099 employees and are in addition to the stimulus checks of up to $1200 that all Americans will receive. Unprecedented help is being offered through the CARES Act for businesses as well to help avoid layoffs and keep small companies afloat. But aside from all the benefits (which are indeed substantial), have you first considered that New York City has put a moratorium on evictions and foreclosures? Do you realize that many banks and landlords are offering rent and mortgage deferrals? Has it crossed your mind that the courthouses are closed for the time being and that it may be a good long time before they reopen? Think big picture right now, and don’t jump to the worst. You probably have more going for you right now than you know in regards to your debt trouble. So before considering bankruptcy, try to understand that we are all in this together and that many New Yorkers are in the same financial situation as you.
Nevertheless, if all the available help is not enough to keep the creditors off your back and you think you may need to weigh all of your financial options, including bankruptcy, please call our offices to schedule a free consultation. Call us at 212.244.2882 if you don’t mind the possibility of a barking dog or crying child in the background, or feel free to email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. Stay healthy above all, and don’t worry if you do need help we are here.
Cheers, WWW Esq.