What Should You Consider When Filing for Bankruptcy in Florida?
There are many variables that need to be taken into account before filing for bankruptcy. The process itself can be extremely stressful and demanding due to the difficulties presented by creditors and lending firms, as well as the threat of foreclosure that may apply in some cases.
When it comes to filing bankruptcy, Florida law companies can offer you a lot of options if you are willing to consider hiring a professional attorney who can help you with your case; however, you should still stay informed about the most important aspects that will require your attention.
Are You Eligible?
There are a few important criteria you need to meet in order to be eligible, having to do primarily with your income being lower than a certain amount, whether or not the court determines that you have cheated your creditors or whether you have already filed for a previous bankruptcy in the past.
When hiring a Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer to handle your case, he will likely ask you all about these facts before determining if you are eligible for the type of bankruptcy you may need.
The focus will mostly be on how high your income is, as you will need to present proof that your average income over the past 6 months before filing for bankruptcy is below the median income of a similar household in Florida. Even if your income is higher, you may still be eligible by passing a “means test” that will be used to establish whether or not you can pay your debts.
Other less known eligibility criteria may also apply in some remote cases. For instance, disabled war veterans who earn their income by running a business can often pass more easily when filing for bankruptcy. Also, if you filed a previous bankruptcy request that was dismissed more than 180 days before your new request, you will still be eligible.
How Should You Go about Filing for Bankruptcy?
There are a few extremely important recommendations you need to consider if you are thinking of filing bankruptcy in Florida. Here is a list of some of the most pressing ideas you should keep in mind:
- Firstly, even though many people choose to file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, it is highly recommended to at least ask for legal advice before doing so. The best course of action is to find a reliable attorney or a law firm that allows you to stay in close contact with your lawyer.
- Make sure you do some thorough research before deciding on choosing a particular lawyer. Meet with some of the bankruptcy attorneys that you think would be best for your case, and study a few similar cases in order to know what questions to ask and how to play a more active role in the process of filing for bankruptcy.
- Ask about the prices that law firms and lawyers ask for the services they provide and compare them to find the best option.
- Once you hire a lawyer, present them with your financial information, refer all your creditors to their office and ask about all the details regarding negotiations and meetings.
- Also, if you require foreclosure defense, real estate litigation or other real estate law related services, you should always take an active role in the strategies and methods that your lawyer would suggest, in order to make an informed decision for your future.
Filing for Bankruptcy to Avoid Foreclosure
While bankruptcy can help you keep your home when faced with involuntary foreclosure, Jacksonville foreclosures can be difficult to avoid, and the knowledge of a lawyer who is knowledgeable regarding Florida bankruptcy laws will be necessary if you want to avoid foreclosure by filing for bankruptcy.
There are two ways to do this: either by filing for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In such cases, an Order of Relief will be issued that will force all your creditors to stop their collection activities, and even if your home is already scheduled for foreclosure, the sale will be postponed during the pending bankruptcy process.
Your attorney is the best person who can guide you on the type of bankruptcy you should file. Also, he will get all your papers ready and represent you in the court of law if necessary, so you can get the best possible defense.
If you still have a way to repay your debts, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is your best bet. This method allows you to keep your home in case you are able to repay your creditors over a certain amount of time (generally about 3 years). Also, this process will have less of a negative effect on your long term credit rating.
The Chapter 7 bankruptcy process will completely eliminate your first and second mortgages, as well as your unsecured debts and home equity loans. The downside is, however, that, through this process, you will only be able to postpone the foreclosure, usually for a period of about 4 months – which can be extended in some cases.
Considering Other Alternatives
While bankruptcy may be unavoidable in some cases, there are many other instances in which you can consider a variety of alternatives. You should always ask your lawyer to analyze your financial situation and let you know if you have any other options before filing your documents.
If your credit isn’t in very bad shape, for example, you could consider reducing some of your expenses in order to pay off the remaining debt. You may be able to cash out your retirement benefits, refinance to pull equity off your home or even ask for a loan from a friend or relative.
When it comes to facing foreclosures, Jacksonville Fl lawyers may also help you negotiate with your creditors and find a viable foreclosure defense plan that will help you keep your home without having to file for bankruptcy.
Ultimately, if you can’t hope to pay your debts on time and bankruptcy is the only viable solution, hiring an experienced lawyer will still help you get the best possible outcome out of the situation. So, don’t hesitate to ask for advice from one of the numerous Jacksonville bankruptcy attorney services out there and solve your problems as soon as possible.