Florida Bankruptcy Attorneys

Bankruptcy can be best described as a federal legal process which is designed to provide individuals and companies a fresh financial start. This is ideally for those who are burdened with debt and can no longer pay it back.

The process allows the debtor to overcome their debt obligations by discarding them or making a repayment plan to pay off unmanageable debts. However, it can also be a good way for businesses to end their operations and liquidate their assets in an orderly fashion.

The case begins when the debtor files a petition for bankruptcy in the court. All cases of bankruptcy are handled in by federal courts in conformance to the rules outlined in the US Bankruptcy Code.

Put simply, bankruptcy is a legal tool that is created exclusively to help consumers smoothly resolve their overwhelming debt.

What is the purpose of filing bankruptcy?

The outcome that most individuals seek for when they file for bankruptcy is a discharge. A discharge is basically an order that is given by the bankruptcy court. This order is of due importance as it prohibits the creditors permanently from collecting debt against the debtor who has filed for bankruptcy. It is also called a bankruptcy injunction.

The discharge though is permanent, it isn’t all-inclusive as some debts like child support, alimony, tax debts are not discharged. Since bankruptcy discharge is by far a powerful remedy, it is only given to those debtors who are honest in disclosing all of their debts and assets.

US Bankruptcy Courts

The system of bankruptcy including petition acceptance, rejection and the entire process is managed and operated by the US Bankruptcy Courts in conformance with the US Bankruptcy Code. The courts for bankruptcy are subunits of the federal district court system. Thus, there is a bankruptcy court established in each federal district of the US and multiple courthouses in different cities.

Bankruptcy judges supervise all the bankruptcy courts. These judges have been appointed to 14 year terms by federal judicial committees.

Different Types of Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy can be classified into 3 different types. These include:

Chapter 7 Liquidation

This is the most common type of bankruptcy. Also, known as liquidation, under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the non-exempted property of the debtor is sold and the proceeds are distributed among the creditors. Liquidation of assets becomes important when the filer doesn’t have any steady source of income and can’t or don’t want to pursue Chapter 13’s repayment plan system.

It is ideal for those individuals who have are burdened with unsecured debts such as:

  • Medical bills
  • Personal loans
  • Credit card debt

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

When it becomes difficult for business owners to pay off debts as they are short of funds, then Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a good option to avail. There are numerous companies including large industry giants who have availed this option to go debt free. These include companies like American Airlines, Macy’s, Chrysler and General Motors to name a few.

Chapter 11 bankruptcy is a method employed to reorganize debt. Once the debts are reorganized, the company can keep moving forward. Simply stated, this option allows businesses to reorganize their complex structures of debt.

It is best businesses that want to continue operating despite of being burdened with debt.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

This is the most common type of bankruptcy that allows a debtor to create a payment plan to pay off a portion of debts to the creditors. However, to qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you must be employed and have a regular source of income. The repayment plan is divided into a span of 3 to 5 years.

This option is best for those people who have assets that they wish to retain such as jewelry or secured debts that they wish to get current on like mortgage.

Is Bankruptcy the Right Option?

It’s true that filing for bankruptcy isn’t easy. And a lot of thought must go into it before you file your petition. And that is exactly why it is advisable to work with an experienced law firm like us, Shiner Law Group. We work in the best interest of our clients and can provide you with quality guidance and assistance on whether bankruptcy is the best option in your case or not.

We’ll help you weigh your options such as both pros and cons of the long term effects of bankruptcy on your credit and debt so that you can make an informed decision.

In most situations, bankruptcy may be a good option if:

  • You see that there is possibly no other way to pay off debts within 5 years time period
  • Your debt amount other than mortgage is more than 40 percent of your income
  • You are paying whatever you can towards your debts but some how you’re making no progress
  • Debt obligations are hindering you from achieving your financial goals

Pros and Cons of Filing for Bankruptcy

Here are some pros and cons about filing for bankruptcy that you must know about:

You’ll Get an Automatic Stay

As soon as your request for bankruptcy gets approved, the court will order the automatic stay. This stay stops the creditors from taking any kind of debt collection actions, thereby putting an end to many evictions such as foreclosures, threatening calls from the collectors, utility shut offs and wage garnishments.

Debt Discharge

Bankruptcy allows you to discharge your debt obligations which you can’t pay off otherwise. This is a great way to clear your debts and take a fresh start.

Improve Credit Rating

Even though bankruptcy remains on your record for seven to ten years, it helps debtors improve their credit rating as many debts get discharged.

Access to Credit Counseling Courses

This is a great way to learn about budgeting and gain a better understanding about financial management, all much needed to rebuild your credit and equity without getting burdened with debt. Apart from that, these counseling and education courses help individuals live with their means and prevent them from financial catastrophes in the future.

Some of the disadvantages of filing for bankruptcy are that:

  • It impacts your credit score and rating negatively. Moreover it stays on you report for as long as 7 to 10 years which can put a bad impact on creditors especially if you want to apply for a loan in the future.
  • If you’re unable to exempt personal property under the bankruptcy exemptions, some of it may get seized by the bankruptcy court. They may then sell it t pay your creditors.
  • Once you file for bankruptcy, many companies that offer credit cards will automatically cancel your cards. Chances are that you may face a lot of difficulty if you want to get a new credit card or line of credit.
  • It may also reduce your chances of obtaining a loan or mortgage for several years
  • In case if you’re looking for a rental property or a job, your bankruptcy filing request may prevent employers and landlords alike from hiring you or renting out their property to you.

Just like a coin has two sides, similarly bankruptcy comes with its own set of pros and cons. This is why you need experienced team of Florida bankruptcy lawyers who can evaluate both aspects in your case and determine whether or not bankruptcy is the best way to going debt free.

Is there an age limit to file for bankruptcy?

There is no age limit for people who file for bankruptcy.

Will Bankruptcy eliminate all my debts?

No. Only dischargeable debts can be exempted. There are nineteen categories of debts that are considered non-dischargeable including tax debts, alimony, fines, penalties owed to the government, child support, criminal restitution, personal injury debt, condo fee debt and debt based on tax-advantages retirement plan and student loans.

However, in some situations non-dischargeable debts can be discharged if the creditor doesn’t challenge your efforts to get them discharged. They may include credit card purchases that are worth over $650 for luxury items and incurred in 90 days before case filing. Also, student loans can be discharged only if you’re able to persuade or convince the court that it will be an undue hardship for you to repay the debt.

Is there a certain amount of debt to qualify for bankruptcy?

There are certain debt limits that do apply to Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Here it is important to understand that the maximum amount changes periodically but at present it is $1,149,525 in secured debt and approximately $383,175 for unsecured debts.

Furthermore, there are limits on how many times you can discharge your debts in bankruptcy. If in case your debt amount is low then our lawyers will suggest you alternatives to bankruptcy.

For more information on bankruptcy or case consultation, contact our experienced team of Florida bankruptcy lawyers today. Let us help you take a fresh financial start.

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