Personal Bankruptcy FAQs
Get answers to some of the most common questions about filing a personal bankruptcy in Florida.
Frequently Asked Questions
What you need to know about filing a Personal Bankruptcy.
Our experienced South Florida bankruptcy attorney can analyze a consumer debtor's debts to determine the best course of action. Depending on the case will determine if a chapter 7 bankruptcy, chapter 11 bankruptcy, chapter 12 bankruptcy, or chapter 13 bankruptcy is best suited. To help determine if personal bankruptcy is right for you, we recommend you contact us for a Free case evaluation!
Will my credit be completely destroyed if I file for bankruptcy?
Although it is true that your credit report will reflect the fact that you filed for bankruptcy, in many cases those who are filing already have serious credit problems and their credit report may actually improve after a fairly short period of time. The debt that once was overdue and reported to credit agencies is now no longer owed (for discharged debt in Chapter 7). Many don't realize that a foreclosure can be much more difficult than bankruptcy if you hope to purchase a home again in the future. A bankruptcy lawyer from our firm can help you determine if you qualify, or if another option would actually work better for you or your company.
Can't I file for bankruptcy myself?
Yes, but most of those that attempt this discover that the process is quite complex, and any errors or failures to correctly fill out forms or show all assets can lead to delays or being denied the option to file, or even legal problems if you failed to correctly answer questions on the Means Test.
How long does the bankruptcy process take?
The entire process is ordinarily complete within a 4 - 6 month period of time. The first and most beneficial change that our clients notice is how much their lives have changed from the beginning of the process, as an automatic stay on collections takes place. This means that creditors are no longer legally allowed to contact you by phone, letter or any other method. This allows you to move forward with rearranging your life and finances so that you can get a fresh start, without the overwhelming stress of ongoing creditor actions.
Will I lose my home?
Each case is as unique as the individuals involved, and if you choose to keep your property, there are frequently very effective legal actions we can take to help you do so.
Is bankruptcy right for me?
Filing for bankruptcy is becoming more and more common. That does not, however, mean that bankruptcy is right for everyone. There are alternatives to bankruptcy and it is important to explore all avenues before making any final decisions. If you feel as though there is no way out of your debt crises and are eager to have a fresh start with your finances, bankruptcy may be right for you. Be sure to seek debt counseling from an attorney as you take this next step forward.
What type of bankruptcy should I file?
There are a variety of different types of bankruptcy. You should be familiar with Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 attempts to pay off as much debt as possible by liquidating your assets and eliminating any remaining debt. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not liquidate assets but rather establishment payment plans so that you can keep your property and work to pay off your debts over 3 to 5 years. Chapter 11 bankruptcy can become a little more complicated as it splits into two categories: individuals and corporations. This type of bankruptcy is usually employed by businesses as it is a form of reorganization. Individuals can use Chapter 11 when they fail to qualify for Chapter 7 and 13. If you are unsure of what type of bankruptcy is right for you, the best path would be to seek the help of a knowledgeable attorney.
Is bankruptcy good or bad?
Bankruptcy is neither good nor bad. With today's economic climate, many people are turning to bankruptcy to solve their financial woes. Though there is a stigma against filing for bankruptcy, it might be the most beneficial decision for you. The question you should be asking is, is bankruptcy right for me? There are a number of instant advantages that follow this step, such as relief from debt collector harassment and a boost to your credit score. Find out both the positives and negatives of filing for bankruptcy from an attorney today.
Do I Qualify for Bankruptcy?
Many people often assume that they do not qualify for bankruptcy. Much of the time this is not the case. In Florida, it is easier than anywhere else to file for bankruptcy as there are no minimum or maximum income requirements. One way to determine if you are qualified for bankruptcy is to take a means test. The test primarily looks at your income over the past six months as well as the size of your family. The main purpose of taking the means test is not to determine if you can or cannot file for bankruptcy, but rather which type of bankruptcy would be more beneficial for your needs.
In order to file bankruptcy in Florida, you must be a resident in one of the three counties: Southern, Middle, and Northern District. If you desire to take this step, you must do so in the county that you are a resident in. The state will look at your property to see what is and is not exempt from the collection processes. It is important to know what property is exempt before deciding to go through with bankruptcy. Most homes and cars are exempt from collection in Florida, however you should seek the help of an attorney to be sure that your property is protected. A bankruptcy attorney can assist you in making sure that you meet all the necessary qualifications.
Can you tell me what’s different between a petition preparer and what a lawyer does?
A bankruptcy petition preparer is responsible for preparing paperwork for filing. Their service doesn’t include advice, which means that you have to know the legal impacts of the provided documents as well as any potential omitted information.
My license was suspended because I couldn’t pay the judgement after a car accident. Can I get my license back if I file bankruptcy?
Once you pass the means test, the automatic stay kicks in and your civil judgement and collection actions are stopped. Once the DMV is advised of this, they should reissue your license. Now, if you do not qualify for Chapter 7, then your civil judgement becomes an item in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan, and while it will need to be discharged, it may end up being reduced. Read more about Filing Chapter 7 Could Get Revoked License Back.
Get answers to help you make an informed decision.
Receiving effective and relevant advice can be the difference in making the right decision for your specific needs. Our South Florida attorney and Ft. Lauderdale bankruptcy attorney should be the first person you ask!