Bankruptcy is something that attorneys see a lot of in the State of Florida – for example, (as reported by state courts), there were a total of almost 24,000 bankruptcy cases adjudicated at of the end of December last year in United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida; the third busiest bankruptcy court, of the 90 federal districts, in the nation. There are options for Florida bankruptcy.
Not every Florida resident battling high levels of debt needs to go through a bankruptcy process — and some will be more financially confident if they’re able to avoid full bankruptcy proceedings altogether. Remember there are options for Florida bankruptcy.
It’s not an easy process, and there is no guarantee that working through a debt relief plan on your own will leave you completely debt free.
That’s one reason why those who are struggling with tough financial issues around debt need the help of experienced bankruptcy lawyers. A Florida bankrptcy attorney can help people sort through their various options and find the best way forward. Bankruptcy needn’t be the first choice, there are other ways to ease your debts. The key is having someone one your side, an advocate, a role an experienced bankruptcy attorney can fill.
They can show you some common steps along the path to understanding whether you are on a path to a bankruptcy or a debt management scenario.
Options for Florida bankruptcy
Debt Settlement and Debt Relief in Bankruptcy Situations
One thing that professional bankruptcy lawyers can do for clients in the State of Florida is to research the alternative of debt settlement. Before going through with a complete bankruptcy, the attorneys will look at all of the client’s debts and assets and figure out whether negotiating with creditors can produce favorable results.
In many cases, it’s possible to greatly reduce your total debt balance. You can negotiate with banks or lenders on mortgages, or pursue short sales or other property options, so that someone who is underwater on a mortgage doesn’t have to resort to bankruptcy to be free of the property debt. All of this represents a key part of financial “due diligence” for really inspecting someone’s debt situation and starting to resolve it.
For those who are managing multiple debt amounts, debt consolidation can also help. Beware however. There are many honest agencies out there who claim they will help you consolidate your debt, and just as many who will charge a fee that will in the end get you nowhere. This is yet another reason to consult with someone you can trust.
Florida bankruptcy attorneys can review the process of debt consolidation with clients, then listen and come up with the best solution for their particular needs. It may be that by creating the right payment plan, a client can live with a level of debt over time without pursuing full bankruptcy. If you can afford to pay off your debts over time, a budget can be found that could reduce your debt. In addition, selling off unneeded or unwanted property, taking on part time job, turning your skills or hobbies might bring in some extra cash.
Other alternatives include borrowing money from friends or relatives and negotiate with your creditors and debt collectors. Be aware however that these options require a great deal of time and patience. Most folks didn’t get into debt overnight, ridding that debt won’t happen overnight either, unless you do decide on bankruptcy.
In cases where a bankruptcy process is necessary, Florida bankruptcy lawyers can educate clients about the different types of bankruptcy proceedings that may apply. The first thing a client needs to understand is that bankruptcy is not necessarily a terrible thing; yes, it is a life-altering experience, but look at it as a fresh start, a new chapter in your life with a chance to get rid of the burdensome debt, much of which may not have been your fault. A serious injury when you are not insured or underinsured can pile up thousands of dollars in fees; a job loss, unforeseen home repairs, or any of a number of unexpected expenses can dig a hole that you can’t get out off. At least not without some help.
Florida bankruptcy lawyers can help a client understand the different types of bankruptcy. For example, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the most filed one for individuals, works to liquidate certain types of assets, in order to pay creditors who are often pursuing consumer debt. It then erases other debts. This involves having a trustee appointed to handle the process.
There are debts that cannot be erased (discharged) under a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. A partial list includes:
- Certain taxes and fines;
- Debts arising from certain fraudulent conduct;
- Debts not listed in your bankruptcy petition;
- Alimony, child maintenance or support, and certain other related debts arising out of a divorce decree or separation agreement;
- Debts caused by the Debtor’s willful and malicious injury to another;
- Government guaranteed student loans;
- Debts caused by a death or personal injury related to your operation of a motor vehicle while intoxicated; and
- Post-bankruptcy condominium or cooperative owner’s association fees
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a court-enforced debt repayment schedule. It is a longer process (3 to 5 years), and is many times used by those who have the income to pay their debts. Chapter 13 can delay debt collections and foreclosures and give you time to catch up on your payments.
Asset Exemption and Other Protections
As the client prepares to go through a bankruptcy process, the bankruptcy lawyers will be on hand throughout the entire procedure to try to help cushion the blow and find any financial remedies available. For instance, lawyers can provide counsel on the Florida homestead exemption that protects properties in some bankruptcy cases. This and other state laws may offer release and protection for those who are pursuing bankruptcy in court. For example, for those not using the homestead exemption, a Florida “wildcard” law can help that individual filer to exempt a certain monetary amount for personal property.
Getting Help with Bankruptcy in Florida
Remember there are options for Florida bankruptcy; If you need help understanding those options and Florida bankruptcy law, contact the experienced bankruptcy attorneys in Orlando at the Badgley Law Group. We have a proven track record of helping clients through bankruptcy proceedings and aiding our clients in Florida courts. Call (407) 781-0420 and set up a free consultation to get real assistance from a qualified, professional Florida bankruptcy legal team.