Getting a Second Chance with Individual Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Florida
Experienced bankruptcy help in Naples, Fort Myers and Port Charlotte
If you are overwhelmed by credit card bills, medical expenses, tax debt or other debts, Chapter 7 bankruptcy offers you a chance to wipe the slate clean by discharging your debts. This is a liquidating bankruptcy, formerly called straight bankruptcy. Its principal advantage is that you come out without any future personal obligations for your discharged debts.
A skilled bankruptcy lawyer can make a tremendous difference in navigating each step of filing for bankruptcy in Florida. Chapter 7 bankruptcy guidance from the law firm of Miller, Hollander & Jeda is backed by more than 35 years of experience.
How to determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
Your income level determines your eligibility to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your current monthly income is less than the state median, you are eligible. If it is more, you need to take the bankruptcy means test to determine whether you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or should consider Chapter 11 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If your debts are primarily business obligations, then you may be exempt from the means test.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be right for you if you:
- Have overextended credit or are burdened by bills and other unsecured debt
- Do not own significant equity in assets such as a house or a car
- Are suffering from creditor harassment
- Are facing wage garnishment and other harsh creditor actions
- Have IRS debt
What happens after filing for bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates your non-exempt assets and distributes the proceeds to your creditors. It also allows you to protect some personal property, including household items, Social Security benefits and possibly even your house and your car. Filing for bankruptcy does not lead to the permanent ruin of your credit, as many people fear.
To fully understand what you can expect when filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, turn to Miller, Hollander & Jeda for our in-depth knowledge of bankruptcy laws and proceedings. The firm’s attorneys help you determine whether bankruptcy may be right for your financial situation.
Schedule a free consultation with knowledgeable Florida Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorneys today to take the first step to financial freedom
If you are considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we can help. Let us guide you through the practical steps to get a fresh financial start. Call us at 239.775.2000 or contact Miller, Hollander & Jeda online today to schedule a free, private and confidential consultation at any of our three locations in Southwest Florida.
The Preparation & Process of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Individuals
Once you and your Port Charlotte bankruptcy attorney have come to the conclusion that filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy for individuals is the best chance for you to reach financial wellness, he or she will help you make the necessary arrangements to prepare for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Port Charlotte as well as, what to expect throughout the process.
Below, you’ll find an overview of the types of documents and other preparations you need to make to file, along with a detailed look at the process of filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
How to Prepare for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
While the idea of preparing all of the important documents required for bankruptcy such as financial records, loan documents, bank statements, credit card statements, tax documents, etc may seem daunting at first, your bankruptcy attorney can help you to stay organized without feeling overwhelmed during this process. The information that is gathered from these documents is essential to the Port Charlotte bankruptcy process. These documents help to inform the bankruptcy court of your current financial situation through bankruptcy petitions, statement of affairs and other necessary documents that are filed in bankruptcy court. These documents serve as an open and honest detailed account of your financial life to the bankruptcy courts. Your bankruptcy attorney will assist you in filling out these statements, schedules, and petitions accurately in order to eliminate as much of your current debt as possible and avoid common pitfalls that occur from filing without an attorney.
In addition to gathering all of the required documents, persons filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Port Charlotte are required to attend and complete a credit counseling course through an approved credit counseling agency within 180 days before filing bankruptcy.
Once you have successfully completed this course and have gathered all your financial documents as prescribed by your attorney and the courts, it’s time to get the process underway.
The Process of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for Individuals
Every bankruptcy case, just like the individual filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy is different, however, the process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains largely the same across the board. This is because in this complex process certain requirements must be met before moving onto the next “step”. The process of Chapter 7 bankruptcy for Individuals in Port Charlotte, follows these main steps:
- Hiring a Bankruptcy Attorney - This is the first step you should make in your bankruptcy journey. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can offer legal advice and solutions you may not have considered. Additionally, a bankruptcy attorney can help you choose the right type of bankruptcy with the most advantageous outcome. Find out how to find and select the best bankruptcy attorney for you, here.
- Credit Counseling Course - As previously mentioned, you must attend and complete an approved and accredited credit counseling course within 180 days of filing for bankruptcy. Your Port Charlotte bankruptcy attorney can give you references to trusted credit counseling courses to get the bankruptcy process started.
- The Means Test - In order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy a person must have a current monthly income that is less than the state median. If the current monthly income exceeds this amount you must take the Means Test in order to determine if you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
- File Bankruptcy Petition - With the help of your bankruptcy attorney, after you have completed all the above steps you will now be able to file your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition to the local bankruptcy court. At this time, an automatic stay will be put into place. An automatic stay blocks creditors from contacting or suing you, garnishing wages, and all collections will cease. In addition to the automatic stay, once you file a bankruptcy petition an appointed bankruptcy trustee will oversee your case.
- Meeting of Creditors - The meeting of creditors is a meeting that your trustee will schedule between yourself, your Port Charlotte bankruptcy attorney, and any creditors who are listed within the documents you surrendered to the bankruptcy court. At this meeting, you will be requested to provide information about the money owed to various creditors and other financial information relevant to your case while under oath. In some situations, if the bankruptcy trustee or creditors are not satisfied with the first meeting, there may be additional meetings until an arrangement can be agreed upon.
- Liquidation of Non-exempt Assets - All assets you own that are non-exempt and can be used to pay off any of your outstanding debts will be used to pay creditors as determined during the Meeting of Creditors.
- Financial Education Course - Some bankruptcy courts and trustees will require the debtor to complete an approved financial course before discharging your case.
- Discharge - Usually within three to six months of filing your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, your case will be discharged. What this means is that all eligible debts (excluding tax debt, student loans, spousal and child support) will be cleared and your case will be closed.
If you have any more questions about the bankruptcy process or would like to schedule a free consultation with a Port Charlotte bankruptcy attorney at Miller, Hollander, & Jeda please give us a call today. We will be able to find the most suitable solution for you get on the road to financial freedom as quickly as possible.