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For many people, debt starts small. You might fall behind on a credit card payment here and there. This can be upsetting, but not disastrous. But over time, the penalties can stack up and you can fall behind on other bills as well. Before you realize it, you could be drowning in debt and facing the loss of your home.

If you are in this situation, keeping your home can be your top priority as you figure out how to deal with your debt. If you live in Florida, you should know that even if you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection, you can still keep your home thanks to this state’s generous laws regarding homestead exemptions.

Understanding Florida’s homestead laws

The homestead laws in Florida state that you can keep your home from being taken by most creditors if you file for bankruptcy, as long as you and the home meet certain requirements.

Though there are exceptions, generally speaking you must be:

  • Living in Florida
  • Intending to stay in Florida
  • The legal owner of the property
  • Occupying the property for which you wish to receive the exemption

The homestead in question should also be:

  • In Florida
  • Smaller than 160 acres in rural areas and smaller than ½ acre in urban areas
  • Of any value, as there is no maximum value placed on a homestead to be exempted

Should you and your home meet these eligibility requirements, you can seek protection from forced sale of your home, which can be of great relief to anyone who is in debt and does not want to lose his or her home.

Help is available

This is just one solution that you may be considering as you assess your debt relief options. There are others, and you need to assess which option is right for you. That may very well be to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to discharge some or all your debt, but before you make any decisions, it can be best to consult an attorney who understands the benefits and drawbacks of such an option.