Area of Law:
Filing for bankruptcy in Florida may be an option for you if you are overwhelmed by your debt and find it difficult to manage your monthly payments. Depending on your financial situation and the kind of debt you possess, bankruptcy may eliminate the majority of your debt providing you with a fresh start. If you live in Florida, there are two types of bankruptcy that are available to you: Chapter 13 bankruptcy and Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, before you decide to file for bankruptcy in Florida, consider discussing your options with an experienced Florida bankruptcy attorney. A Florida bankruptcy attorney may discuss your financial information with you before recommending you file one type of bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you would like to keep your assets after filing for bankruptcy in Florida, you should consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. After you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida, you will submit a repayment plan to the bankruptcy court for approval. Generally, repayment plans will last a minimum of 3 years, but can take up to 5 years to complete depending on your monthly payments and the amount of debt to repay. Chapter 13 may be especially beneficial to you because you retain control of your assets while you complete the plan. Throughout the life of the repayment plan you will make a lump sum monthly payment to your Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee. Your bankruptcy trustee will then disburse the funds to your creditors. However, to be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida, you must have regular income for at least 6 months prior to filing for bankruptcy. Regular income can come from any source including a pension or family support obligation. It is necessary to show the court you have regular income so the court can be assured you will be able to make your Chapter 13 monthly payments due to the regularity of your monthly income.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common form of bankruptcy filed in the United States. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, otherwise known as a liquidation proceeding, the Chapter 7 bankruptcy trustee seizes your non-exempt assets, and sells the assets to raise money to fund your bankruptcy estate. Exempt assets include assets necessary for you to maintain your livelihood, like a vehicle to transport you to and from your job. The funds in your bankruptcy estate are used to repay your creditors in their order of priority, as designated by the Bankruptcy Code.
However, just because you would like to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, does not mean that you will be eligible to file for Chapter 7. For example, to be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must earn less than the median income for the state of Florida, which is $40,766 for a single individual. If you earn more than the median income, you still may be eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida if you have little disposable income remaining after you pay your necessary expenses each month.
If you have questions regarding how to file for bankruptcy in Florida, you can contact the bankruptcy court in your area. For example, if you live in the Middle District of Florida, visit http://www.flmb.uscourts.gov/. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney, visit http://www.uscourts.gov/FederalCourts/Bankruptcy/BankruptcyResources/FilingBankruptcyWithoutAttorney.aspx for additional information regarding how to file for bankruptcy on your own.