Bankruptcy Attorney, Know Your Rights
by Shawn Hungate.
If you have fallen behind on Credit Cards, Medical Bills, Repossessions, Foreclosures, or other personal debts, give me a call. A chapter 7 Bankruptcy is affordable and can help you get a fresh start. Call me to see if you qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. If you do not, there may be other options available that I can help explain to you.
- Eliminate Credit Card Debt
- Eliminate Medical Bills
- Stop Lawsuits
- Get a Fresh Start Financially
Although you will find some information here about a Bankruptcy, it is by no means meant to be a thorough explanation of all the things you need to consider in filing a Bankruptcy.
First of all, if you are reading this, you are likely an individual or a married couple. This means that there are, for the most part, two chapters of bankruptcy relief available to you: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In the most basic terms, a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is an discharge of debt, while a Chapter 13 is a repayment plan.
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can be filed by an individual or a married couple. It can be filed against mainly personal or “consumer” debt, such as credit cards, medical bills, unpaid utilities, and personal loans; or it can be filed due to a failed business. The former (non-business, or “consumer” bankruptcy) is the more common filing and is the kind of Bankruptcy I exclusively practice. This is the Bankruptcy I will be discussing in this blog.
First of all, you are trying to discharge your debt. But what kind of debt can you discharge? In general, back taxes and student loans are common examples of debts that you cannot discharge in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Examples of debts that are generally dischargeable are credit cards, medical bills, unpaid utilities, and personal loans.
So how can you do this? Federal law allows an individual to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy for personal or consumer debt if you pass the “means test”. So what is this “means test”? The easiest way to look at it is this: Is you income low enough that you can’t pay back your debt under a plan structured by the government. Now, in reality, it isn’t that simple. The means test is very specific and can be very complicated if your household income is above a certain amount. In Florida, if you income is below 40,000 a year for an individual or below 50,000 a year for a married couple, than you can automatically pass the means test without having to actually “take” it. Additionally, if your household income is above these amounts, then you should be at least considering the possibility of filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy instead of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
If you qualify for a Chapter 7 and are trying to discharge your debts, you also have to agree that the government, though a trustee, can take your non-exempt property. You may keep your exempt property. So what property is exempt in Florida? The short version is this: Your homestead (where you live), up to $1,000.00 in personal property per individual, and up to $1,000.00 value of a vehicle. If you do not use your homestead exemption, because you either do not own a home or you do not wish to keep your home, you can instead choose to use a $4,000.00 “wildcard” exemption to apply to your property.
Of course, there are a lot of other issues to discuss before you can file a bankruptcy. Don’t try to handle this very complicated procedure on your own. Call me today at 407-846-1LAW (1529) to discuss your specific situation.
Disclaimer: This website contains general information about various areas of bankruptcy. It is highly recommended that persons with debtor/creditor problems seek the advice of an attorney. The information on this website is not intended to be legal advice and viewers should consult with an attorney.