Bankruptcy and Debt Relief

What is bankruptcy and how can it help me?

What is bankruptcy and how can it help me?

Bankruptcy is a legal process that offers financial relief to those who are overwhelmed by debt.  The majority of bankruptcy filers are people who encountered hard times.  There are many unique reasons for filing bankruptcy, but common causes include job loss, separation or divorce, medical problems, insufficient income after retirement, and loss of income from a small business.  Bankruptcy can reduce or eliminate your debt, allowing you move forward. 

What is the difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

The amount you pay each month under the plan is determined by your income and expenses, the value of your assets, and how much of your debt has already been paid off.

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharges, or wipes out, certain types of debt. It is designed to provide you with a ‘fresh start’ financially. There are income limitations on who can file Chapter 7, and protection of your assets must be considered.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy establishes a repayment plan. Your debt is consolidated and restructured into a monthly payment plan lasting 3 to 5 years. The amount you pay each month under the plan is determined by your income, expenses, the value of your assets and how much of your debt has already been paid off.

Can filing for bankruptcy really get rid of all of my debt?

Known as the ‘fresh start’ bankruptcy, Chapter 7 can help you achieve a clean financial slate by eliminating the following debts:

  • Credit cards
  • Medical bills
  • Small business debt
  • Bank loans
  • Lines of credit
  • Repossessions
  • Judgments
  • Collections
  • Some tax obligations
  • Unpaid rent or utilities
  • Pay day loans

Debts that cannot be discharged in bankruptcy include:

  • Child support
  • Alimony/Spousal support
  • Student loans
  • Some tax obligations
  • Damages for personal injury accidents

Can I afford to file bankruptcy?

We are dedicated to maintaining reasonable fees for our clients. We charge one low, flat fee for all cases. There are never any additional charges or surprises. And our rates are often significantly lower than our competitors. Contact us today for a free consultation and find out about our low, flat fee.

If I file bankruptcy, can I keep my house? What about my car?

In Florida, it is possible to keep your home as long as you continue to make the mortgage payments. If you are making car payments, in many cases you will keep your car as well. In fact, many of our clients do not give up anything in bankruptcy.

Florida law provides protections for certain property during the bankruptcy process. Our office has over forty years of experience working with the bankruptcy laws in Florida. Let us use this experience to help you. Contact us for a free consultation. We’ll review your financial situation in detail and explain exactly what you can expect if you file bankruptcy.

Will I lose my retirement funds?

Many pension and retirement plans can be completely protected during bankruptcy. If you are in financial trouble and considering withdrawing money or borrowing against your retirement plan, please contact us first. We may be able to help you protect these accounts.

A credit card company sued me, and now they are garnishing my wages. Is it too late to file bankruptcy?

No, it’s not too late. As soon as you file bankruptcy, all wage garnishment must stop. If you file the bankruptcy case before the garnishment begins, you will protect your wages.

Should I try a debt management service instead of considering bankruptcy?

Many people consider turning to a debt management or credit counseling firm when they can’t afford to pay their bills, but the vast majority of these plans do not work. We have represented people who tried a debt management service and ended up being sued by a creditor anyway. After spending time and money with the debt management service, they ultimately filed bankruptcy to get the relief they really needed.

  • Debt management services often charge very high fees and set up high monthly payments that do not initially go toward paying off your debts. Bankruptcy can discharge, or wipe out, your debt right away.
  • Debt relief agencies do not have the power to stop the phone calls or lawsuits. Bankruptcy will stop the phone calls, lawsuits, foreclosures and garnishments immediately.
  • Any debt that is forgiven through a debt settlement negotiation will be taxed as income.

Will I have to go to court?

No, you do not have to appear in a courtroom or go before a judge. Instead, we attend a Section 341 meeting together. We meet with the U.S. Trustee who is assigned to administer the case. This meeting is held in an office building in West Palm Beach or over the phone, and we will be with you the entire time. You will have the benefit of dealing with a small law firm, as we have personally prepared your case. There will be no surprises for us at the meeting.

I’m worried about my credit report. Will I ever get credit again if I file bankruptcy?

Yes, you will! Bankruptcy is not the end of your credit forever. Although a bankruptcy case will appear on your credit report for seven to ten years, it does not mean that you will not be able to obtain new credit during that time. In fact, most bankruptcy clients receive credit very quickly after the completion of the case. Many clients have been able to purchase a new car, or even a new home, within only a few short years after filing.

I filed bankruptcy in the past, and now I have more bills that I can’t afford to pay. Can I file bankruptcy again?

Yes, and it does happen. However, there are some restrictions. You should contact an attorney to discuss your particular situation. Our office has successfully filed second bankruptcy cases for clients who found themselves in financial trouble again.

How do I know if bankruptcy is right for me?

We can help. Contact us for a free, confidential bankruptcy consultation. We’ll review your financial situation in detail and explain what you can expect if you file bankruptcy. Let us give you the information you need to decide what’s right for you.

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