How We Can Help You
We are bankruptcy attorneys serving Fort Myers, Cape Coral, Naples, and Tampa clients. This is your opportunity to get it right when filing for bankruptcy. Our team has the experience it takes to represent you properly.
Our Florida bankruptcy attorneys are available to assist you through the process and provide legal advice to determine whether bankruptcy is your best option. We can help you erase debts and start you on the road to financial recovery. Some of the benefits a bankruptcy lawyer can help you with include:
I Can’t Live Without A Credit Card What Am I Going To Do
For many people, credit cards cause more harm than good. They lead to impulse buying and mask the real pain of paying cash or even writing a check. Many people think they cannot live without a credit card, but anthropologists have dug up some ancient bones and discovered there was life before Visa. For an alternative option, consider the debit cards available at Walmart with fairly low fees and no credit check. You can also search online for prepaid credit cards or secured credit cards. You pay some money in advance and you get a credit card for that limit amount. Itâs not really a credit card, because the bank already has your money, but it allows you to pay for things online, rent cars, etc.
Protecting Your Home In Chapter 7
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, whether you can keep your home depends, in large part, on your state’s homestead law. Here’s how it works.
Each state has a set of exemptions that protect certain types of property up to certain dollar amount. If the exemption covers your equity, you get to keep the property.
Florida exemption laws protect equity in your residence up to an unlimited amount. So in Florida, no matter how much equity you have in your home, you get to keep it if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Keep in mind that filing this chapter won’t help you if you’re behind on your house payment. While Chapter 7 will stop a foreclosure temporarily, in order to keep your house, you’ll have to be current on your payment when you file, and stay current going forward. Otherwise, your lender will be able to take the action afforded in your contract and under Florida law.
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Choose Lawyers Who Only Handle Bankruptcies & Foreclosures
When you are dealing with one of the most difficult times of your life, it helps to have a highly experienced team on your side. With so many bankruptcy law firms in Florida, it can be hard to know which to choose.
Many lawyers claim they can help with bankruptcies, foreclosures and debt consolidations. However, you need someone who will do more than fill out bankruptcy paperwork and stand next to you in court. Dont be taken in by a debt relief agency that makes promises it cannot keep. A debt consolidation company can leave you in a much worse condition than when you first contacted it.
How Common Is Bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is more common than you may think. In 2018, there were 755,185 bankruptcies filed in the United States. Studies show the average American now has approximately $38,000 in debt. For June 2019, there were 852 new bankruptcy cases filed in Tampa alone. Medical bills are a significant factor in the number of bankruptcy cases filed. A study by the American Journal of Medicine found that 62.1% of all bankruptcy cases are attributable to medical reasons. Further, the study found that 92% of the people filing bankruptcy for medical reasons had over $5,000 in medical debt.
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Should You Consider Filing
Our bankruptcy practice specializes in personal bankruptcy matters for chapters 7 and 13 filings in Tallahassee and North Florida area.
If you’re in debt and struggling to keep up with repaying loans and credit card bills, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the two most common programs you can use to reduce or eliminate your debt.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is known as liquidation bankruptcy. Most of your property is sold and used to pay off your debts. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is generally meant for people with limited incomes who do not have the ability to pay back all or some portion of their debts.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is referred to as a reorganization bankruptcy. Your property is not sold when you file for Chapter 13 protection, and if you successfully complete a court-mandated repayment plan, you may be able to keep your property.
Filing bankruptcy can be financially, as well as emotionally challenging. However, it may be your second chance to take control of your financial situation when bills keep piling up and you don’t have the means to pay your creditors.
Letâs connect today and see how our experience can best further your legal interests.
Are You Ready To See How Experience And Skill Can Help You Get A Lower Chapter 13 Plan Payment
Our Daytona bankruptcy lawyer has extensive experience working with Chapter 13 debtors to reduce their bankruptcy plan payments to the lowest payment allowed by law. While working within the bankruptcy laws and bankruptcy rules, we calculate the minimum plan payment necessary to satisfy the court and the Chapter 13 trustee while protecting your assets and getting rid of your debts.
Contact our office for a free bankruptcy consultation with a Florida bankruptcy attorney. Call now for your free appointment. Our bankruptcy law firm serves clients in Daytona, Daytona Beach, and throughout Volusia County.
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When Can I File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Again
The waiting period to refile a Chapter 13 is less than it is to refile a Chapter 7. If you previously obtained a discharge of debt in Chapter 13, you only need to wait two years to refile. On the other hand, if your previous case was a Chapter 7, you will need to wait four years. The 4-year waiting period begins on the commencing date of the last case. Filing a Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 is commonly referred to as Chapter 20.
Exemptions For Pensions In Florida
The following types of pensions and retirement funds are exempt in Florida:
- Tax-exempt retirement accounts, including 401s, 403s, profit-sharing and money purchase plans, SEP and SIMPLE IRAs, and defined benefit plans and traditional and Roth IRAs to $1,362,800 per person are fully exempt. Fla. Stat. Ann. § 222.21.)
- Public employee retirement benefits. .)
- State and County officers and employees retirement system benefits.
- Firefighter pensions.
- Municipal police pensions.
- Teachers’ retirement benefits.
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Requirements To File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Only individuals who are domiciled in the United States may qualify for Chapter 13. Therefore, businesses and corporations are not eligible. Further, there are income requirements to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy as well. To qualify for Chapter 13, you must receive a regular source of income. The borrower needs to prove they have a regular and stable income, which is sufficient to pay the proposed payment plan. See 11 U.S.C. 109.
In a jointly filed case, both spouses are eligible even if only one of the debtors receive regular income. A bankruptcy court will focus primarily on the existence and stability of the regular income, rather than the source of the income. See In re Baird. For instance, regular income derived from social security, alimony, pensions, and retirement plans may all be eligible sources. See In re Hanlin
How Much Does It Cost To File Bankruptcy In Florida
Our office charges legal fees of $2,000 for a basic and typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy of a debtor who is under median income and not required to complete a means test analysis. Like all other attorneys, we charge somewhat more for higher-income debtors where preparation of the means test is required.
We charge more for debtors with complicated issues that may result in challenges from creditors or bankruptcy trustees.
Most Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcies are relatively standardized, and legal fees are low compared to other legal work. In 2011, one of the Orlando bankruptcy judges issued a Memorandum Opinion which discussed the market for Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney fees in central Florida. The court stated that the average cost of hiring an attorney to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in central Florida ranges between $1,500 and $2,500 plus filing fees and other costs. Attorneys charging fees within this typical range, the court noted, meet with their clients as necessary. Still, they rely on paralegals to complete necessary pleadings, maintain client contact, and follow up on details involved in a bankruptcy case.
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How Much Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cost
As with Chapter 7, the filing fee for Chapter 13 will vary by filing location. For instance, the filing fee for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Tampa is $310. There will also be fees for the credit report and credit counseling class. Additionally, the Court may charge a $45 fee for a mortgage modification requires. If you need to convert your Chapter 13 to a Chapter 7, there is a $25 fee.
The fees will be changed occasionally by the Court. You can access the fee schedule for the Middle District of Florida by . For information on the fees charged by the Northern District of Florida , .
Mortgage Modification With Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 allows homeowners to force the bank to accept a 5-year payment plan for the past due amount. The homeowner wont have to pay the full mortgage in 5 years, only the amount that is past due. You dont need to apply for a loan modification, and you can force the bank into the 5-year payment plan.
Additionally, you can apply for a traditional loan modification as part of the Chapter 13 case. These modification applications are usually much different than when a homeowner applies. In Chapter 13 mortgage modifications, the U.S. Trustee will oversee the application. Additionally, there can be a mediator appointed as well to help streamline the process. With much more oversight, the bank is less likely to cause unnecessary delays and wrongfully deny legitimate requests.
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Talk To An Experiencedflorida Bankruptcy Attorney
There is a lot of misinformation out there about the new bankruptcy laws. For example, many people believe they are no longer eligible to file for bankruptcy. The truth is, most people with serious debt problems can still file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.
When you come to our office, we will sit down with you and listen to your concerns. There are many helpful items that you should bring to your consultation so that we can properly analyze your finances and give you advice that fits your needs. We do not use a one-size-fits-all approach. We know that every person is different, and every person deserves individually tailored advice.
What Our Bankruptcy Attorneys In Orlando Can Do For You
After reading about the processes for each type of bankruptcy, taking such actions might seem overwhelming, but that is where our attorneys come in. Bogin, Munns & Munns has over 30 years of experience in commercial litigation collections, helping people in North and Central Florida collect their receivable outstanding accounts and delinquent debt.
We can take on the following tasks for you if you choose to file for bankruptcy:
- Help you figure out which form of bankruptcy best suits your situation
- Ensure your bankruptcy application correctly filled in and on time
- Represent you in legal proceedings
- Protect your money and other assets
- Collect aged accounts, debts owed for goods and services sold, lines of credit, promissory notes, and other related debt
- Defend unwarranted debt collection actions
We handle both simple and complex debt collection matters. Our debt collection clients include both large and small corporations, banks, finance companies, accountants, landlords, condominiums, and homeowners associations.
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The Process Of Filing Chapter 7
You may be eligible for filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you have debts in excess of exempt property values and satisfying the income eligibility requirements known as the means test. This test considers:
- How many dependents you have
- The debtors geographical residence
- Non-filing spouses
The means test provides certain allowances for housing, transportation, food, insurance, and other items. It will ultimately determine if the debtor can afford to pay for at least some of their unsecured debts over time after all applied factors to their finances are considered.
If one has the means to pay, the debtor is required to file under a different chapter, typically Chapter 13, which will require the debtors to pay their creditors over time.
Costs And Fees Experienced Bankruptcy Attorneys In Jacksonville Florida
In almost all Chapter 7 cases, our firm charges an attorney fee of $2,000 to represent you from start to finish.
However, this fee can vary in certain debtor financial situations.
For example, the fast file option we offer allows you to only pay $400 or $430 for joint before filing your case.
This includes the filing fee, credit report, and credit counseling.
Likewise, a contract will be put into place to pay $250 per month for eight consecutive months.
Further, we offer a discount option to save $500 if you pay the entire attorney fees of $1,500 plus the $400 or $430 in costs before filing.
In this case, the costs of monitoring monthly payments are saved.
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Is A Lawyer Required For Bankruptcy Or Debt Settlement
Debt settlement can usually be handled without an attorney because a court filing is not required. While you can enlist the help of an attorney, you can work directly with your creditors if you wish. There are also third-party debt settlement companies who can negotiate with creditors on your behalf. Keep in mind, you cannot force the creditor into a debt settlement, even if you hire a lawyer.
While it is not required to hire an attorney, it can significantly improve your chances of success. A 2014 study found that only 48.2% of all bankruptcy cases without an attorney received a discharge of debt. Conversely, 82.1% of borrowers who hired a lawyer received a discharge of debt.
There are many reasons why you should hire a bankruptcy lawyer to help you eliminate your debts. But not all bankruptcy attorneys are created equal. Careful consideration should be taken to ensure you retain the right lawyer for your case. Before you hire an attorney, ask the lawyer about their experience and qualifications. You should also do an internet search and research their reviews from previous clients.
Collect Your Florida Bankruptcy Documents
First, youâre going to need to collect all of the documents required to prepare your bankruptcy petition. If youâre employed, this includes at least 60 days of pay stubs and two years of tax returns. Bankruptcy trustees sometimes ask for bank statements and, if you own a home, theyâll ask for things like your deed and a mortgage statement. Itâs good to collect these documents before filing for bankruptcy. If youâre unsure of how much you owe, get your credit report from Equifax, Transunion, or Experian through AnnualCreditReport.com.
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Chapter 7 Vs Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Put very simply Chapter 7 allows you to discharge most of your debts and quickly get on track to a fresh start. Your disposable income must be low enough to pass the means test.
Chapter 7 is generally favored by most who qualify.
Chapter 13 allows you to keep your assets, reorganize your debt, and pay them off over time. This is the only choice for those who do not qualify for Chapter 7.
The courts filing fees are different if you are filing under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.
Learn more Chapter 7
Dealing With Your Car
If you have a car, the first important thing you need to do is make sure to list it on your bankruptcy forms. Even if you donât drive the car everyday, and you donât consider the car âyour car,â as long as your name is on the title, you need to list it on your bankruptcy forms.
Whether or not youâre going to be able to keep your car when filing bankruptcy in Florida depends on a few factors, including how much your car is worth and what exemptions you choose to apply.
In Florida, some bankruptcy trustees do not permit the Kelly Blue Book valuation and, instead, require a valuation from the National Automobile Dealers Association. After you list your car on your forms, you have a few options on how to deal with your car loan. Youâll have to choose between reaffirming your car loan, or either redeeming or surrendering your car.
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Can I Make Installment Payments
In the past, courts required debtors to pay the entire attorney fee before filing for bankruptcy.
This is because a lawyer who collects any part of his bankruptcy fee after filing would be collecting a pre-bankruptcy debt that would be included in the bankruptcy.
However, after a ruling by a local bankruptcy judge, our firm offers an option to file before the full attorney fee is paid.
How Much Does A Chapter 7 Cost
The federal court requires you to pay a filing fee. For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, the fee is $335. This is separate from any attorneys fees associated with your filing.
One other requirement that the court imposes is the completion of a debt counseling session. We can complete your debt counseling saving you an additional expense as part of the process of initiating your case with our law firm.
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