Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, FL
Are you contemplating bankruptcy or hiring a bankruptcy attorney in Jacksonville, Florida? Are you tired of creditors calling for payments you can’t make? Maybe looking for a way to get out of debt and have you exhausted all other options? Then bankruptcy might be the solution you seek. It is a legal option that can erase a portion or all of your debts.
Types of Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida
Bankruptcy is a legal process that helps individuals and businesses get a fresh financial start. It eliminates a portion of or all of their debts or financial liabilities. In Jacksonville, FL to be approved, individuals must prove they have a hardship that prevents them from staying current on their financial obligations. Keep in mind that not all debts qualify. Some liabilities, such as child support arrears, delinquent taxes, alimony, and student loans generally do not qualify for discharge. Consumers who find themselves falling behind in debt can file either Chapter 7, 11 or 13. To determine which option is right for you, you’ll need to assess your goals, assets, and income. You should also consider working with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.
Those filing for bankruptcy protections in Jacksonville must file with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Many people find Chapter 7 to be the right solution for their circumstances because it provides them with the opportunity to start over financially. However, before filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you should thoroughly assess your income and ability to repay what you owe. You should also speak with a bankruptcy attorney in Jacksonville who can help you to decide if a liquidation plan is right for you.
Typically, individuals approved for Chapter 7 lack stable income or have experienced a change in circumstances that has resulted in an inability to manage their debts. Though Chapter 7 erases debts, the tradeoff is you may have to give up certain possessions, such as your home, car or some other assets. However, once you file your petition, an automatic stay goes into effect that requires all collection activity against you like foreclosures and garnishments, to stop temporarily. However, the automatic stay does not prevent all collection attempts. For example, if you owe child support or restitution for a criminal case, you are still liable for those payments.
The U.S. Courts provide online guides and timelines for those wishing to declare chapter 7 bankruptcy, or “straight” bankruptcy. If you choose this path as the best option you’ll be required to pay the filing fees as well as file documents on your credit and income. However, before being approved for chapter 7 you’ll be required to pass a means test. This is to affirm that your income level is not too high to meet the standards of chapter 7.
Chapter 11 Bankruptcy
Chapter 11 bankruptcy is more complex than other types of bankruptcy. It is often used by businesses and certain types of people. It allows petitioners to restructure their debts with a reorganization plan, so they are easier to manage over a determined length of time, usually four to 18 months. The main benefit of Chapter 11 bankruptcy is that it does not require petitioners to sell off or liquidate their assets to pay what they owe. It does allow debtors to negotiate with their creditors a reorganization plan that enables them to stay current on their debts moving forward.
The Florida Courts state that most who file for chapter 11 under the bankruptcy code are looking for an avenue in which to repay their debts. This chapter is a restructuring of the debt, and can give the debtor a longer time frame, and possibly even a smaller amount to pay back. This is often used by businesses who do not desire to liquidate, and ideally want to try to stay in business.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt restructuring or wage earners plan. In Jacksonville, FL after you file, the courts will assign a trustee to examine your liabilities and assets and ability to pay bills. Unlike other types of bankruptcy, Chapter 13 involves you restructuring your debt with a three to five-year repayment plan. The flexibility of this repayment plan will depend on what property you want to keep and how steady your income is. It may also give you the opportunity to have some or most of your debts discharged.
According to Florida Bankruptcy Law, chapter 13 is generally used to protect homes from foreclosure, pay back taxes, and to stop interest from accruing on your account. You could also use this to make up missed car payments, and even protect certain non-exempt items from being seizure. Chapter 13 allows those who file and use its protections to manage their debt, but you will have to provide proof that your income will allow you to pay back the debt under the restructuring.
The Bankruptcy Process in Jacksonville, Florida
There is never an ideal time to declare bankruptcy. However, if you are unable to pay off what you owe within five years, filing for bankruptcy can help you to lessen the negative impact on your situation and help you get back on track.
In Jacksonville to begin the filing process, gather all of your financial records, including monthly expenses, debts, assets and annual income. This information is crucial to give the courts an accurate picture of your circumstances. Failure to provide all necessary information can result in your petition being denied.
A breakdown of the bankruptcy process in Florida is provided by the U.S. Courts. You’ll need to determine if bankruptcy can erase your debt, and which type of bankruptcy will be most beneficial to your set of circumstances. After you’ve discovered if you qualify for bankruptcy you’ll find out what property you can exempt and stop paying any qualifying debts. You’ll also need to take a credit counseling class. An experienced Jacksonville attorney can almost certainly help ease the burden of this process.
Unlike most other states, exemptions in Florida allow you to keep an unlimited amount of equity in your home. You can also exempt up to $1,000 on your motor vehicle, as well as retain public benefits. You’ll also be able to exempt up to $1,000 in personal property, and have a wildcard exemption of up to $4,000.
At least six months before you file for bankruptcy, eliminate unnecessary spending. Do not run up the balances on your credit accounts. You’ll also need to complete an approved credit counseling course, usually online or over the phone. Credit counseling is necessary to help you learn financial literacy and help you learn better financial habits. Once you complete the course, you’ll receive a certificate of completion to include in your filing. If you don’t have the certificate of completion from the credit counseling course that you took, the courts will reject your bankruptcy petition.
Work With an Experienced Jacksonville, Florida Lawyer
Hiring a local bankruptcy lawyer in Jacksonville during this process can help reduce the costly risks of self-representation in court. An experienced bankruptcy lawyer understands state and federal bankruptcy laws. He or she can help you understand which laws apply to your case. Specifically, they can help decide which debts can be discharged or can’t be discharged. An experienced Florida attorney can also offer you guidance to improve the outcome of your case.
Keep in mind that there are debt management alternatives and financial resources that may benefit you more than bankruptcy, such as debt consolidation. Though bankruptcy is an attractive solution, it is best as a last resort. Do you need immediate help? Then one of our experienced lawyers in Jacksonville can guide you through the entire bankruptcy process. We can even help you connect with an attorney across Florida state lines.
Submit a request online or call us today at (866) 345-6784 to get in touch with an experienced lawyer in your area!