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Bankruptcy FAQs

Should I file Bankruptcy?

A decision to file for bankruptcy should be made only after determining that bankruptcy is the best way to deal with your financial problems and debt. Many factors determine the answer to this question. Some people let their moral obligation to pay their debts dictate their actions.  While this is admirable it is not a trait shared by your creditors. The truth is that you can still pay back your debt if you choose after you file for bankruptcy. However, there is a reason that bankruptcy is a right available by law. A bankruptcy is designed to give you a fresh start and allow you to focus on your future instead of drowning in your past. Contact a bankruptcy lawyer today to explore your options and learn more about the bankruptcy process.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a person who can not pay his or her debts can get a fresh financial start. The right to file for bankruptcy is provided by federal law, and all bankruptcy cases are handled in federal court. Filing bankruptcy immediately stops all of your creditors from seeking to collect debts from you, at least until your debts are sorted out according to the law. With few exceptions, a bankruptcy will get rid of your personal liability on your debts but still protects your financial future.

What should I bring to my first appointment at The Owens Law Firm, P.A.?

If you have been served with foreclosure papers or a foreclosure summons then you should bring these documents. You should also bring your last bill or payment coupon from the mortgage company. You should also determine the current value of your home and be prepared to discuss the history of events that led to this point. By doing this we will be able to gain a complete understanding of your situation and be better prepared to present your customized solution. You are welcome to bring any additional information about your debts or paymet history that you want to discuss.  We will provide you with a thorough analysis of your financial situation and the more detailed information you can provide, the more specific answers we will be able to provide to you at your initial consultaion.  That being said, do not let the lack of documents prevent you from seeking debt relief from our attorneys.  We will still be able to provide you with a debt relief strategy and can help you gather the documents we will need going forward.

Will I lose everything?

Absolutely not.  In fact, in most cases you will be able to keep everything you own.  In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you are allowed to keep all of your exempt assets.  These exemptions are determined by the length of time you have been in Florida.  Assuming that you are using Florida exemptions you and your filing spouse have  exemptions of $1,000 in personal property and $1,000 in a vehicle exemption.  If you do not own a home or are surrendering your home you both qualify for an additional $4,000 exemption towards personal property. However, as you can see these exemptions are rather small so it is very important to seek advice from an experienced bankruptcy lawyer.

If you have significant assets or are concerned about losing particular property a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your best option.  In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy you are allowed to keep all of your property but you will be required to pay to unsecured creditors the amount that you would have paid if your non-exempt property was liquidated in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  Additionally, there are powerful tools available in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy that may allow you to save your home from a foreclosure, strip off a second mortgage, or even modify your current mortgage.  Often you can do all of this and still eliminate your debt!

To discuss how the bankruptcy process can help you keep your property please contact our bankruptcy attorney.


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