As a Bankruptcy Lawyer in St. Augustine and Orange Park Florida, I realize deciding whether to file a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 case can be confusing to most clients.
Firstly, you will want to schedule a conference with your bankruptcy lawyer to discuss in great detail your financial situation and the assets you own. Because of which your attorney can easily determine which chapter of bankruptcy will be the best for you. The goal is to discharge your debts in the most affordable and effective manner.
The Law Office of Tony Turner has offices in Orange Park, St. Augustine, Deland, Jacksonville, & Lake City, Florida to meet with clients and provide them with the appropriate legal advice and guidance. Most clients want a “bankruptcy lawyer near me”, hopefully, one of these offices is conveniently located.
Your Bankruptcy Lawyer must be concerned, aware and take into consideration which Chapter of the United States Bankruptcy Code protects your property from the United States Trustee the best. The Trustee is assigned by the Bankruptcy System to oversee and review your bankruptcy petition. The Bankruptcy Trustee is charged with the responsibility of determining if there are any assets to recover and sell. The proceeds will then be used to pay your creditors. An experienced Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer will know which Statutory exemptions to apply to protect your assets. This is a must. A mistake in applying the proper exemption could be devastating to a debtor financially.
A Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer should thoroughly review your financial records including tax returns; bank statements; pay stubs; retirement accounts; automobiles and the loans attached; liens and any other assets whether liquid or not to determine which Chapter of Bankruptcy is right for you or whether you should even file for bankruptcy or can file.
The Law Office of Tony Turner offers free consultations so that you can educate yourself about the Bankruptcy Law, the Exemptions available and advise you what to do and what not to do before you file for bankruptcy. Attorney Turner’s clients learn about the debt relief options available and whether they qualify for bankruptcy without worrying about how to pay attorney fees for the consultation. It’s free.
SO WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A CHAPTER 13 & CHAPTER 7?
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is a reorganization. You can reorganize your debts into an affordable bankruptcy plan.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is a liquidation bankruptcy. Chapter 7 takes less time and costs less than Chapter 13.
But Chapter 7 is not the best choice for every person. In addition, you must meet income requirements to be eligible for a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7.
Let’s look at each bankruptcy chapter closely to weigh the pros and cons of each debt relief option.
What is Involved in Filing Chapter 13 in Florida?
As discussed above, a Chapter 13 case is a reorganization of your debt through a repayment plan. With a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you can get rid of unsecured debts for a small fraction of what you owe. Instead of paying the full balance owed to each unsecured creditor, you pay a percentage of the debt. In some cases, debtors may pay pennies on the dollar, depending on their financial situation.
Some benefits of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case include:
- Allows you to get rid of unsecured debt for a fraction of what is to pay to the creditor.
- Can stop foreclosures and repossessions so that you can keep your home and vehicles.
- In some cases, a debtor may be able to get rid of a second mortgage for a fraction of what you owe the lender.
- You may also be able to lower your car payments by modifying the term of the loan and the interest rate through a Chapter 13 plan.
- You have up to 60 months to pay back due taxes in a Chapter 13 case.
- If you owe alimony or child support, you can stop a contempt action and pay the past-due support through your Chapter 13 plan. However, you must pay all future support payments on time.
- If you have equity in an asset that exceeds the allowed bankruptcy exemptions, you can protect that asset by filing a Chapter 13 case.
Some disadvantages of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case include:
- A typical Chapter 13 plan is a 60-month repayment plan. Therefore, you are in Chapter 13 for over five years.
- During your Chapter 13 case, you cannot transfer substantial assets, refinance loans, or incur new debt without court approval.
- The percentage you must pay toward unsecured debts is based on several factors, including your income, assets, and certain recent financial transactions.
- A Chapter 13 case can help you save your home, car, and other assets. It can also help you get out of debt for less than you owe right now.
Your Florida Bankruptcy attorney also checks to see if you are eligible to file under Chapter 7.
What is Involved in Filing Chapter 7 in Florida?
You may have heard stories about people losing everything they own when they file for debt relief under Chapter 7. This bankruptcy myth is not true. Most debtors do not lose any of their property when they file a Chapter 7 case. Let’s look at the pros and cons of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case to help you understand the filing procedure under this chapter of bankruptcy.
Some benefits of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case include:
- Most Chapter 7 cases can complete within four to six months after the filing of the bankruptcy petition.
- You are not required to repay any portion of unsecured debts that are eligible for a bankruptcy discharge.
- Bankruptcy exemptions typically protect all your property, so that you do not lose any property if you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case.
- You can surrender collateral in full satisfaction of a lien without worrying about the lender obtaining a deficiency judgment for any remaining balance owed after the collateral is liquidated.
Some disadvantages of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case include:
- You could lose an asset if the bankruptcy exemptions do not cover the equity in the asset and you cannot afford to “buy back” the asset from the Chapter 7 trustee. Again, most Chapter 7 cases filed in Florida do not result in the loss of property to the Chapter 7 trustee.
- You must remain current on your mortgage and car loan payments to keep the assets. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case stops foreclosures and repossessions for a short time. You must catch up on the payments and remain current to keep the collateral.
- Likewise, you do not have 60 months to pay back taxes or unpaid support payments when you file a Chapter 7 case.
- You must meet strict income requirements to be eligible for a bankruptcy discharge under Chapter 7. If you “fail” the Means Test, you are not eligible for a bankruptcy discharge in Chapter 7.
Before you file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition, you need to consult with a Florida bankruptcy attorney. Once you file a Chapter 7 case, you are not entitled to dismiss the bankruptcy case voluntarily without court approval.
You can also find more information about filing for bankruptcy relief on the FAQ section of our website.
Seek Advice From an Experienced Florida Bankruptcy Attorney
If you are struggling with debts that you cannot pay each month, you may benefit from filing for bankruptcy relief. However, filing a bankruptcy case is a complex matter. You should only file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case after consulting with a bankruptcy lawyer. A bankruptcy case gets rid of debt; however, you need to consider all debt relief options before choosing bankruptcy as your path to eliminate debt.
Tony Turner represents clients throughout Orange Park, Jacksonville, Lake City, Deland, Augustine, and the surrounding areas. If you need an affordable solution to your debt problems, call now for a free case review.
Contact The Law Office of Tony Turner for a free consultation. An experienced Florida Bankruptcy Lawyer is a must. Call (904) 679-2020 or use the online form.