Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Filing Chapter 7 allows you to obtain a discharge of debts such as credit card bills, lawsuit judgments, personal loans, bank loans, payday loans and medical bills. A discharge of debts is a Court Order, which states that you do not have to pay the debt. Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy may:
- Significantly Reduce or Completely Eliminate your Debts
- Prevent your Vehicle from Being Repossessed
- Stop a Mortgage Foreclosure Action and the Sale of Your Home
- Stop a Lawsuit
- Stop Wage Garnishment
- Stop your Creditors and Debt Collectors from Harassing You
In order to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy under the new bankruptcy laws, you must first pass a Means Test. In almost all cases, you can automatically file Chapter 7 if your monthly income is below the Florida adjusted median income. If your income is above the Florida adjusted median, you may still be able to file, but only after the appropriate expenses (retirement plan contributions, car payments, etc…) have been deducted.
We’ve helped many people file Chapter 7, even after other attorneys have told them based on the means test that they didn’t qualify. Even If you don’t qualify for Chapter 7 filing, you may still be able to qualify under Chapter 13 to get the debt relief you need.
There are, however, some debts that simply can’t be discharged by bankruptcy. Debts such as child support, taxes and student loans. You are able to discharge secured debts, such as real property or vehicle, but only if you choose to surrender the collateral. You can keep these assets (i.e. home, vehicle, etc.), but you will be required to file a reaffirmation agreement with the court and continue making the payments.
Will I lose all my assets?
No, you will not lose all of your assets by filing. In fact, filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy immediately stops any eviction, home foreclosure, repossessions, wage garnishments, civil litigation and the harassment by your creditors.
It is sometimes referred to as “liquidation” bankruptcy because the trustee has the ability to seize some types of assets to pay your creditors. Certain property in Florida is, however, exempt from seizure. Exempt property includes a limited amount of equity in your home, up to $1,000 of equity in your car, and up to $1,000 in other personal property for Debtors who do own their home and want to keep their home and up to $4,000 in other personal property for Debtors who do not own their home or do not claim the Florida homestead exemption.
If you simply can’t pay your debts and need to speak with an attorney about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we can help. Many of our clients are eligible for Chapter 7 relief and for those with too much income or too many assets to qualify for Chapter 7, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may provide the relief you need. We also provide bankruptcy alternatives, including assistance with loan modifications, foreclosure defense and other forms of debt relief assistance.
At Rosenthal Law Group, P.A., offices in St. Petersburg, Florida, our lawyers offer a free initial consultation to explain how Chapter 7 bankruptcy works and determine not only if you qualify, but if it’s the best option for you.