Bankruptcy is a constitutionally mandated solution for people, businesses, and political entities to resolve economic distress. Bankruptcy is simple, humane, and there is also the nice colliary that the attorney's fees are very moderate for the results obtained.
Typically, your economic problems warrant a bankruptcy liquidation or reorganization long before you meet an attorney. We focus on how to get out of the problem and how to stay out of economic distress. There are four types of bankruptcies available to people as of January 1, 2004. The average individual typically invokes Chapter 7 for credit card problems or Chapter 13 for tax and foreclosure problems. Chapter 11 is a corporate reorganization and Chapter 9 is for political entities.
For individuals in Florida, you keep your home in Florida in which you live, your wages and salaries, any cash surrender value of any insurance and retirements, any workers, unemployment or crime victims compensation and $1,000.00 per debtor of personal property with potentially another $1,000.00 of equity in one vehicle per debtor.
Your case progress is simple. There is a code book and a rule book for bankruptcy so it is fairly straight forward. When you decide you cannot pay your debts in a reasonable period of time, you need to decide which attorney to retain for your bankruptcy. Inability to pay debt can be easily calculated and if your debt structure is more than you're going to make in the next calendar year, it might be time to consider this option. Your initial consultation is free, and at that time, our office will provide you with a worksheet so you can answer every question that you will be asked at any time in the future in the bankruptcy process. The office will prepare the pleadings and your requirement is to appear at one court hearing within 30 days of filing with the possibility of additional hearings down the road. The day you file, you get protection from the United States Bankruptcy Court for you and your property by an automatic stay issued by the court. From that point forward, your job is to go out, get rich, become famous, and otherwise go on with your life. Congress gives you the right to do this so you can pay more taxes incidentally. Typically, within 3-5 days, you will receive an order from the court which lets you know what your obligations are, but in our office this is followed up by a letter in plain English reminding of what the court has ordered as well as suggesting that we review everything prior to court. Approximately 30 days into your case, you will go to 5-10 minutes meeting of creditors at which time I will inform you that your most difficult legal obligation is to insure that the parking meter is appropriately paid. Approximately 4-6 months later you will receive a discharge in a Chapter 7 or attend a confirmation hearing in a Chapter 13.
As always, the truth is the most important thing. So long as you advise your attorney of your true state of affairs in your finances, he or she can best inform you on how to proceed. It is important that you understand that tax refunds are not exempt and that money in the bank does count against your exemptions. If you are going to wipe out a creditor, it might be appropriate to close out any bank accounts with that creditor. Bankruptcy wipes out all of your debts except for fines, support and alimony, taxes and student loans. Further, should you have an unhappy creditor, they can sue you fraud, false financial statements, embezzlements, D.U.I. claims, malicious injury or damages and credit abuse.
Chapter 13 is probably my favorite type of bankruptcy. It is an adjustment of debt with individuals with a regulate income and effectively resembles a miniature Chapter 11 reorganization. Chapter 13 is designed to restructure some of your debts and wipe our or minimize others. We would submit a plan of payments to pay debts either in full or in part using your future income. This is especially an effective weapon for foreclosures, tax problems or issues that could become a problem in Chapter 7.
A final note, bankruptcy is unlike state court in that the law and the rules are actually on your side for a change. Not only does it benefit you and your financial affairs, but it is a great boon to the attorney who practices in this area of law as our success rate is above 99%. The less than one percent that we were not successful required strenuous efforts on the part of the debtor to frustrate my actions. So long as you have not gone out of your way to defraud your creditors, bankruptcy is always a reasonable solution for your problems. Please also note that you have been able to file a bankruptcy in America since this country was founded yet women suffrage has only been effective nationwide since 1920. You can make your own conclusions on what was important to our founding fathers. Finally, 1.6 MILLION people have filed nationwide in the last 12 months, so don't foreclosure this option without doing your homework, namely by setting up a free consultation with my office.