Filing Bankruptcy in Florida: Filing for bankruptcy in Florida does not have to be a difficult or tedious process. Before filing bankruptcy in Florida, an individual will need to get together a list of all income, debts, names, and addresses of all creditors.
For legal purposes, the person filing for bankruptcy is called a debtor.
There is no one exact formula for deciding when the best time to file a bankruptcy.
It is an option under both Federal and Florida law, that will help debtors get rid of debt before their finances are completely destroyed.
If an individual is falling behind on payments to creditors, cannot make the minimum payments on their debts, or are getting notices of foreclosure, then filing bankruptcy in Florida might be the best option.
While bankruptcy is generally a federal matter, the Federal Bankruptcy Code allows states to determine what assets are exempt from bankruptcy proceedings.
How To File a Bankruptcy Petition
Any bankruptcy case is started by filing a petition with the appropriate bankruptcy court.
To find the right court, look for the federal judicial court in the area where the primary residence is.
The petition is filed with the court and contains a request of the court to relieve debts under one of the chapters listed in the bankruptcy code.
This petition can be obtained through online searches, paying a document-preparing agency to help you fill it out, or by seeking the aid of an attorney in preparing the document.
In addition to these sources, many online packages and books are available for purchase that explains each part of the form and what information needs to be included along with examples.
In addition to this petition, the debtor must file a statement regarding all of his or her financial matters along with creditor’s names and addresses.
If the filer is looking for a chapter 7 bankruptcy then a court will appoint a trustee to determine what assets, if any, can be sold to pay back creditors. If the filer is seeking a chapter 13 bankruptcy then the filer must also fill out a plan to pay back creditors.
Filing the petition mentioned above is the easy part and can be done easily without an attorney if there are no questions about the documents themselves.
Many people find the need for legal advisement when the later meetings take place and they need representation with the court or the trustee. Without an attorney or legal aid, a debtor is alone in defending all paperwork and no one can represent them.
Some debts are not discharged in bankruptcy. These debts, such as child support, alimony, some federal income taxes, and all employer withholding taxes cannot be erased in a bankruptcy.
In addition, student loans cannot be discharged along with anything a debtor’s wrongful conduct created such as seeking and obtaining financing with the wrong information.
The biggest question when filing a bankruptcy in Florida is which type to file. An individual seeking to file bankruptcy will generally do so through a chapter 7 or chapter 13.
Chapter 13 has many advantages over chapter 7. First, unlike chapter 7, filing chapter 13 does not mean a debtor cannot file a bankruptcy again for six years. At any time after the chapter 13 is filed, a debtor can file for a chapter 7 if they cannot meet the payments as spelled out in the chapter 13 plan.
Another advantage is that a person operating their own business may do so under chapter 13, whereas under chapter 7 the court could order the business and all assets to be liquidated in order to pay back creditors.
Finally, homeowners like chapter 13 better because it allows them to catch up mortgage payments on their home rather than fall into a default situation.
Other than the obvious advantage of saving one’s personal finances rather than letting them get totally destroyed, it does have some lasting effects.
Federal law allows credit agencies to list all of his or her bankruptcy filings in the preceding 10 years. While this does not necessarily destroy a credit rating, it can make it harder for a person to obtain a loan or credit card.
Knowing this should not stop a decision for bankruptcy, because as many attorneys have noted over the years, people can achieve a measure of credit after as little as 18 to 36 months after the bankruptcy has been filed.
Before filing bankruptcy in Florida, a Florida resident should consider other options available. Even mentioning a bankruptcy to a creditor can cause a change of heart because they stand to lose a lot in a bankruptcy case.
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