When you are under significant financial debt, you may consider filing for bankruptcy in the United States bankruptcy court. While not every bankruptcy case is complicated, they are not all easy either. Things can get confusing, especially when it is your first time in a Florida bankruptcy court. Therefore, make sure you have a bankruptcy attorney with top skills and experience to handle your case. This article will describe the concept of bankruptcy, as well as the process associated with different types of bankruptcy.
Determining the Complexity of Your Bankruptcy
The complexity of your bankruptcy will usually depend on:
- The facts and circumstances of your case
- Which type of bankruptcy you choose to file
- Whether it is a no-asset or asset bankruptcy (will the bankruptcy trustee sell any of your assets)
- Whether the case involves bankruptcy litigation
Protecting Assets in a Florida Bankruptcy Court
One of the key concerns you will have when it is your first time in a US bankruptcy court is whether you will lose your property and everything else you own. The short answer is you won’t. Depending on the type of bankruptcy and the facts of your case, you might not lose any assets at all. A close look at Florida’s exemption laws will give you an idea of which of your assets you might be able to protect.
Any assets that appear on the federal non-bankruptcy exemption list, as well as the Florida state exemption list, you can retain. However, your non-exempt assets will be subject to the type of bankruptcy. For instance, when you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the appointed trustee will sell any asset that is non-exempt to pay off creditors.
In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, you may keep all of your assets. But here’s the catch: the court will require you to pay an amount equivalent to the property value of your non-exempt assets to your creditors as part of a Chapter 13 repayment plan. This repayment period usually lasts between three and five years.
Means Testing and Credit Counseling in Florida
If you choose to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will have to pass a “means test” to meet certain income qualifications. You will pass the test and be eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if your family income is lower than the median income in Florida. Some standard expenses can be deducted, which could help you pass the means test.
As part of credit counseling, an individual filer is required to take two financial courses to educate themselves. You complete one course before filing, and then you do the second course before receiving a debt discharge.
Get Solid Legal Representation for the Bankruptcy Hearing
After you file for bankruptcy, you and your attorney will attend a mandatory hearing of creditors. However, depending on your case, you or your lawyer may have to be present at additional hearings. Some of the typical hearings where your attorney might represent you include:
- Chapter 7 reaffirmation hearing
- Chapter 13 confirmation hearing
- Any objection hearing filed by you, your trustee, or your creditors
An experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Florida will inform you in advance of the expected hearings you may have to attend during your case.
Consult With an Experienced Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer Now!
Are you experiencing your first time in bankruptcy court? Hire an experienced and professional bankruptcy attorney to help you through the entire process, including filing, completing classes, and attending hearings. The Law Offices of Patrick L. Cordero has over 30 years of experience with bankruptcy cases, and we can help you determine the correct type of bankruptcy for your situation. Call us today at 305-445-4855 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.