Personal Bankruptcy - Chapter 7 or 13
Your overwhelmed? Cannot pay all the bills coming in? Lost your Job? Being Sued?
There could be an answer for you! But not everyone needs to file bankruptcy. Our firm would love to talk to you and see if bankruptcy is right for you.
Bankruptcy Ch. 7
Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code is often referred to as liquidation bankruptcy. If you qualify for this option, most of your unsecured debts can be discharged (forgiven), including credit card bills, medical bills and similar debts for which there is no collateral. The process can be completed within a few months. The downside is that some of your assets may need to be liquidated in order to partially repay creditors. There are exemptions and exceptions, but you’ll need to speak with a bankruptcy attorney to better understand how they would apply in your specific case.
Chapter 13 Personal Bankruptcy: Reorganization
This is a different approach to bankruptcy focused on restructuring and repaying debt over time. You will work with a bankruptcy trustee to negotiate with creditors and create an affordable repayment plan lasting three to five years. You make just one monthly payment, sent to the trustee, who then distributes the funds to creditors according to the plan.
Chapter 13 takes longer but has a shorter impact on your credit score. Moreover, it is the only option available to you if you don’t qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Ch. 7 - $335
Ch. 13 - $310.00
Most bankruptcy attorneys in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division (which includes Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco, Hernando, Sarasota, Bradenton, and Polk Counties) or the Ft. Myers Division (which includes however, generally charge between $800 to $2,000, to provide representation in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
In addition, the filing fee for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the debtor must also obtain a credit counseling certificate in order to file bankruptcy, and the cost of such certificate ranges from a low of approximately $20 to a maximum cost of $100. The cost of the certificate depends upon what issuing organization the debtor uses to obtain the certificate.
If there is additional representation required apart from that required to prepare the bankruptcy petition, file such petition, and represent the debtor in the normal course of a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the bankruptcy attorney may charge additional attorney fees. An example is when a creditor files an adversary proceeding contesting the ability of a debtor to discharge a particular debt in his or her bankruptcy. A debtor who chooses the representation of a bankruptcy attorney in defending an adversary proceeding may be requested to pay an additional $2,000 to $5,000 in additional attorney fees, depending on the complexity of the litigation, the experience and expertise of the bankruptcy attorney, and frankly, what fees the particular bankruptcy attorney commands from his clients.
In the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, the bankruptcy court awards a maximum of $4,250 to the bankruptcy attorney for representation in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If the debtor enters the mortgage mediation program in an effort to obtain a mortgage modification on his or her homestead, the bankruptcy court may award an additional $1800. Other efforts by the bankruptcy attorney may entail additional attorney fees and costs. Often, a bankruptcy attorney will charge his or her client a certain sum of money before the filing of Chapter 13, and receive the balance of the attorney fees over a period not exceeding sixty months, through the Chapter 13 plan.
For example, if the maximum fee awarded for representation of a debtor in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is $4,250, the bankruptcy attorney may charge the client $1000 in attorney fees, file the bankruptcy, and hope to receive the balance of $3,250 through the Chapter 13 plan. Some bankruptcy attorneys charge the full $4,250 upfront and receive no monies through the Chapter 13 plan.
Filing bankruptcy today can become an expensive endeavor. Each debtor who is confronted with debt, and is considering what avenues to pursue in alleviating or eliminating his or her issues pertaining to such debt, must become their own advocate. Meaning, before you consult a bankruptcy attorney or other professional, learn everything reasonably possible about the nature of the debt, what possible remedies are available, and the possible pitfalls that may be encountered. When speaking with a bankruptcy attorney, with some background of information, one can hopefully make a better determination of whether the advice given by such attorney appears accurate and beneficial.
If you are swimming in a sea of debt, facing foreclosure, facing wage garnishment, eviction and considering bankruptcy or some other option, please contact my office right away. Sometimes things get more difficult and more expensive the longer you wait. I will happily meet with you personally. I will patiently discuss the matters confronting you and suggest what alternatives are best suited to your particular situation. Sometimes, bankruptcy is the best option. Sometimes, other remedies are better than bankruptcy. Sometimes, doing nothing is better than filing bankruptcy. One thing I can guarantee is that I will give you the best solution available within my own knowledge, information, and expertise. That is my duty to you. If you cannot afford the $100.00 consultation fee, still call our office and we will work with you.
FORECLOSURE LAW IN FLORIDA
Are you living in fear of being served a foreclosure notice in Florida? Or are you already in foreclosure? Regardless of the situation, the critical question is the following: how do you fight the foreclosure process and prevent losing your property in Florida.
Read on to find out everything you need to know to either stop the foreclosure altogether or prolong it for as long as possible.
If you have missed a few mortgage payments, you can call your bank to stop foreclosure and ask for a “forbearance”. It allows the homeowner to extend the length of their mortgage so that they can make up for missed payments.
This way, the missed mortgage payments are forgiven and added to the end of the mortgage. If you are already in foreclosure in Florida, it’d be best to hire a reliable foreclosure defense lawyer who can successfully obtain a forbearance for you.
If you have equity and you have never missed any mortgage payments in the past year, then refinancing can be a viable option. However, refinancing is not for homeowners who owe more than their house is worth.
If you are in a position to avail refinancing, contact your bank as soon as possible and discuss your refinancing options. If you have equity in your home, the process will be much easier and you’ll be able to stop the foreclosure.
Deed In Lieu
Another effective way to prevent a Florida foreclosure is by asking for a deed in lieu of foreclosure. If you don’t wish to keep your home anymore and would rather move on with less damage to your credit score, you may be able to give your property back to the bank to stop the foreclosure.
It should be noted that a deed-in-lieu is a very complex process and banks usually only grant it if a skilled foreclosure attorney is handling the matter.
Do you owe more than your property is worth? In that case, the bank may be willing to do a short sale or pre-foreclosure sale. In other words, you may be able to stop the foreclosure by selling your property. Also, please note that the bank will get to keep the amount of the final sale price.
Modification of Loan
This is one of the most common ways homeowners in Florida try to stop a foreclosure. A loan modification can include reducing monthly mortgage payments, lowering interest rates, or even reducing the principal amount.
Even though it’s an effective option, it can be challenging to get a loan modification without the assistance and guidance of an experienced foreclosure lawyer. The bank will ask for a variety of different documents during the loan modification process, and only a professional can tell you what should be – and what shouldn’t be – included.
Even though it is possible to go about stopping a foreclosure on your own, it’s not recommended. If you want the process to be quicker, painless, and successful, hiring a foreclosure attorney should be your next step.
If foreclosure proceedings have already started, or a sale is set, or even if just the fact that the bank won't talk, Ch. 13 Bankruptcy is an option and the Bankruptcy Court has it's own mortgage modification program that works differently than the out of court modification program.
Please reach out to our firm to discuss your options.