Experienced Lawyers Representing Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Clients
If you are contemplating bankruptcy, you may have questions about what bankruptcy is exactly and how it works. If you are a resident of Fort Lauderdale or any of the nearby communities, the bankruptcy lawyers at Anidjar & Levine can answer your questions about this process. We can go over your particular financial situation, and discuss how bankruptcy can impact your overall debt. If you decide that this path is appropriate for you, we can represent and advise you throughout your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 proceeding. Give us a call today to learn more about how we can help you recover your financial future.
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy gives consumers the opportunity to eliminate or repay their debt under the protection of a court. The process is governed primarily by the federal bankruptcy code. State law plays an important role in certain aspects of bankruptcy. For example, state law will determine which exemptions apply in a particular bankruptcy case.
What Types of Bankruptcies are Available to Me?
Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are the two types of bankruptcies that are generally available to a consumer. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also known as the liquidation bankruptcy. An appointed bankruptcy trustee will gather your non-exempt assets and sell it to pay your creditors. If any dischargeable debt remains after the liquidation, the bankruptcy court will discharge it. The entire process usually takes a few months to complete. You must meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy reorganizes your debt. You will propose a repayment plan to the court based on your disposable income. The plans are three or five years in duration. If the court confirms the plan, you will make monthly payments to the trustee, who will then pay your creditors. Once you complete the repayment plan, the court will issue a bankruptcy discharge on any remaining dischargeable debt. You must have a steady income in order to make the monthly payments under a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
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Can I Eliminate All My Debts through Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy will not eliminate, or discharge, all of your debts. You will be personally liable for any non-dischargeable debts even after you file or successfully complete bankruptcy. Family support obligations, student loans, and personal injury in DUI cases are some non-dischargeable debts.
You can potentially discharge certain debts in Chapter 13 that are not dischargeable in Chapter 7, such as credit card fraud. However, a creditor may initiate an adversary proceeding to make a dischargeable debt non-dischargeable. You may also have to file an adversary proceeding if you want the court to strip a lien off a second or third mortgage, which can potentially make the secured debt unsecured and therefore dischargeable.
What are Exemptions?
Exemptions are assets that you can protect in bankruptcy. Florida exemptions include a homestead exemption with no value limit; up to $1,000 in personal property; up to $1,000 for one motor vehicle; and some public benefits. Florida also provides a wildcard exemption of an additional $4,000 if you do not claim the homestead exemption. You must meet certain residency requirements to take advantage of Florida’s exemptions. Otherwise, you may be subject to the federal exemptions or to another state’s exemptions.
Do I have to Disclose All My Debts and Assets?
You must fully disclose your debts and assets to the court. When you file for bankruptcy, you submit schedules of your assets and debts along with your petition. You sign the petition under penalty of perjury. You can amend your filing if you inadvertently left out a creditor, but if you hid assets from the court, or transfer assets in an attempt to hide them, you can lose your chance at a bankruptcy discharge and may be subject to criminal prosecution.
How will Bankruptcy Impact my Credit?
A bankruptcy can stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. You may have a hard time obtaining a loan, such as a mortgage, for the first couple of years after you receive a bankruptcy discharge. You may, however, begin receiving credit card offers soon after a discharge.
Bankruptcy requires that you undergo credit counseling to avoid falling into debt after you complete bankruptcy. These lessons can help you rebuild your credit after you emerge from bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy Attorneys Helping You
At Anidjar & Levine, we represent individuals who are seeking debt relief through bankruptcy. Our bankruptcy lawyers provide effective and knowledgeable counseling in bankruptcy matters for clients living in Hollywood and the surrounding areas. We can help you file for bankruptcy and represent you throughout the proceeding. For a free and confidential consultation, call us today at 800-747-3733. You can also contact us online.