Protecting You by Navigating Complex Bankruptcy Laws
Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding that is designed to alleviate overwhelming debt owed by either an individual or a business. The purpose of the bankruptcy option is to provide relief to debtors who could never realistically pay off their debts. While it is designed to help the debtor, there are consequences to filing for bankruptcy, including restrictions on the ability to borrow in the future.
When serving as bankruptcy counsel in consumer bankruptcy cases, our lawyers at The Orlando Law Group meet directly with clients to explain the bankruptcy process and determine what bankruptcy chapter is appropriate. We also prepare bankruptcy petitions and schedules and attend the required 341 meeting with creditors. We also represent mortgage holders in commercial and personal mortgage foreclosures, as well as modifications, workouts and receiverships.
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Types of Bankruptcy:
An individual who is in debt can file for bankruptcy either under Chapter 7 (liquidation)
- Chapter 13 (reorganization)
- Chapter 12 (family farmer reorganization)
- Chapter 11 (corporate financial reorganization)
The vast majority of consumers file either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition. Debtors may also be forced into bankruptcy by creditors in the case of an involuntary bankruptcy, but only under Chapters 7 or 11.
Why Should I File for Bankruptcy?
Many people avoid or put off filing for bankruptcy because they think that it is the end-all and be-all, and that they’ll never be able to get back into a positive position. But this isn’t true! Bankruptcy can be a fresh start and help you to get back on your financial feet.
The process doesn’t have to be overwhelming. When you hire a professional lawyer firm such as The Orlando Law Group to handle your case, they will take care of the paperwork and details so that you can go forward in peace.
There are two ways to get rid of your debt: paying it off and filing for bankruptcy. Eventually, if your accounts are defaulted on for long enough, the companies will begin garnishing any wages you are making without your consent. Better to take matters into your own hands and not lose out on the money you are earning.
Many people try to pay their debts off because they think it’s the better choice. After all, they spent the money. However, this could mean that you eventually don’t qualify to file and that you’re left to struggle for decades paying off debt that seems to never lessen. If you qualify, you should file now so that the opportunity doesn’t pass you by. It will wipe your debt clean and protect your assets.
If you are worried about the attorney’s fees that come with filing, remember that they will almost always be less than the debt you’ll have to eventually pay off otherwise. Remember that if and when you file, though, some debts still stay with you. Examples of these are student loans, tax debt, and criminal debt.
When Should I File for Bankruptcy?
If you’re putting off filing, it might not benefit you the way you think it will. If you have money coming in that you’re trying not to lose out on, remember that this could put you into a financial bracket that means you no longer qualify for the Chapter filing you are hoping to use.
If the time is right, don’t procrastinate. Seek help from The Orlando Law Group as soon as you can, so you don’t miss out on the opportunity.
Once your case gets turned over to a debt collection agency. This means that if you are thinking about filing, and you don’t follow through, you could lose even more.
Do I Qualify for Bankruptcy?
Many people qualify for bankruptcy, even in different situations. These are some possible situations that might mean you qualify to file:
- Your income is under the state median threshold.
- You have debts that you are unable to pay or keep up with.
- Your income and debts over a six-month period qualify you for bankruptcy.
Which Chapter Filing Is Right for Me?
When you’re ready to file bankruptcy, you have a couple of different options. For most people, either a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 are the way to go.
When should you choose one over the other?
When to Choose a Chapter 7
You’ll want to decide on a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if these situations apply to you.
- You have a great deal of unsecured debt (credit cards, medical bills, car payments, etc.)
- Your income is below the median income for the state in which you live, so you are not subject to the “means test.”
- This is under the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005.If more than half of your debt (51% or more) is business debt, then you are not held to the “means test” of the BAPCPA.
- You would like to keep some exempt property and let other properties go.
- Every state has different lists for what is exempt and what is not.
- You want your debt liquidated.
When to Choose a Chapter 13
If these situations apply to you, select Chapter 13.
- If you have more than one mortgage out on this home, you could “lien strip” the second mortgage.
- You want to keep all your property.
- You want your debt reorganized.
- This means you want to set up a plan to pay back your debt over three to five years, depending on the amount.
Situations that Affect Filing
Make sure that these situations still allow you to file.
- Getting a new job
- You should file before your income raises you into a higher tax bracket, or you may not qualify. File first, then apply for or accept a new job.
- You can still file if you are receiving unemployment. This does not affect your filing at all.
- Change in marital status
- You should file before getting married. Once you are married, you will have a joint income, which might impact your tax bracket and your ability to qualify.
- Previous filing
- You cannot file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy twice within eight years. If you filed before, but it was over eight years ago, you can do so again.
You Are Not Alone
A lot of people feel that bankruptcy is shameful. It’s not. Almost all Americans carry debt—the average amount for a US citizen is almost $100,000. Bankruptcy can be used to provide yourself with a fresh financial start, and there is nothing wrong with doing that.
Take the opportunities available to you and give yourself a fresh start. Contact The Orlando Law Group today for bankruptcy representation.
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