Helping You Navigate a Fresh Start to Your Financial Future
Life is full of unexpected challenges, and sometimes our financial situations can become overwhelming. Suppose you are burdened with mounting debts and are struggling to keep up with monthly payments. In that case, it’s important to have our Florida Chapter 13 lawyer on your side who can provide the guidance you need.
Here’s a brief overview of what you need to know about Chapter 13:
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as ‘reorganization bankruptcy’ or a ‘wage earner’s plan,’ allows individuals to restructure their debts and establish a manageable repayment plan spanning three to five years.
- Before filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida, you must meet specific eligibility requirements, including having a regular source of income and complying with waiting periods if you’ve previously filed for bankruptcy.
- The benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy include retaining assets, stopping foreclosure, and creating a manageable repayment plan. It allows for the catch-up on missed mortgage payments and discharging remaining balances on eligible debts.
- Fresh-Start.Law, P.A. is dedicated to helping individuals regain control of their financial future through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers provide compassionate guidance, personalized service, and tailored repayment plans.
With our deep knowledge of Florida bankruptcy laws and dedication to your well-being, our Florida bankruptcy attorneys will work tirelessly to create a personalized solution tailored to your needs. Let us be the local ally you can rely on as we navigate the path to financial stability and a brighter future together. Contact our Altamonte Springs law office to schedule a free consultation & full case review. Where there is a willing & capable lawyer, there is a way!
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy, often referred to as ‘reorganization bankruptcy‘ or a ‘wage earner’s plan,’ is a legal process designed to help individuals and some small businesses in the United States restructure their debts and establish a manageable repayment plan. It involves creating a court-approved repayment plan spanning three to five years to repay all or a portion of debts.
This form of bankruptcy allows debtors to retain their assets while working toward the repayment of their outstanding obligations over a specified period. This option is more suitable for individuals with a steady income and the ability to make regular monthly payments to creditors.
How Is Chapter 13 Any Different from Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
In the realm of Florida bankruptcy law, there are two main kinds of bankruptcy that you can file: Chapter 7 and 13.
Chapter 7, also called ‘liquidation bankruptcy,’ offers the opportunity to discharge eligible debts by liquidating non-exempt assets. It is typically suitable for individuals with limited income and substantial unsecured debts. The process is relatively swift, often taking just a few months.
On the other hand, Chapter 13 enables debtors to retain their assets while addressing missed payments or resolving arrears. The legal provisions pertaining to Chapter 7 can be found in Florida Statutes Section 222.01 et seq., while Florida Statutes govern Chapter 13 Section 222.11 et seq.
Seek legal guidance from a bankruptcy attorney to fully comprehend the distinctions, eligibility criteria, and ramifications of each type of bankruptcy in your situation. If you need legal assistance filing for the correct bankruptcy chapter, our Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers are here to tender their services. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss your options over a free consultation today!
How to Determine Chapter 13 Eligibility?
Before you can do anything, you need to prove eligibility. These milestones help highlight you as a committed entrant in the bankruptcy process. To be considered for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida, you must:
- File as an individual or married couple
- Have a regular source of income (even if self-employed or operating an unincorporated business).
- Have unsecured debts below the debt limit set by the Bankruptcy Code.
- Comply with waiting periods if you have received a previous bankruptcy discharge (varies depending on the type of bankruptcy previously filed).
- Complete a credit counseling course from a federally approved agency within 180 days before filing.
- Have filed federal and state income tax returns for the previous four years.
- Have no prior bankruptcy dismissals.
What Financial Problems Warrant Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a valuable tool for individuals facing specific financial problems. While it may not be appropriate for all situations, it can provide relief and help address certain financial challenges.
First, you must realize you have a mounting debt problem you cannot manage. There is no shame in that reality because our Florida Chapter 13 lawyers are here to back you up with dependable legal counseling & representation.
Here are a few signs that (a) you are headed toward bankruptcy despite a substantial income and (b) you need legal assistance with filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy:
Overwhelming debt refers to a financial situation in which an individual is struggling with unmanageable debts. The level of debt is so substantial and unmanageable that it becomes a significant burden and challenge to address.
If you’ve fallen behind on your mortgage payments and are at risk of facing potential home foreclosure, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you catch up on the mortgage arrears by incorporating them into the repayment plan. This allows you to keep your home and avoid foreclosure.
If your wages are being garnished to pay off debts, Chapter 13 can put a stop to wage garnishment, and the repayment plan can allocate funds to satisfy the debt through a structured process.
There are times when unexpected events or changes in circumstances can lead to repayment difficulties, making it challenging to meet your financial obligations. Whether you’re struggling to make minimum payments, manage credit card debt, or fulfill other financial commitments, it’s essential to address repayment difficulties promptly to regain control of your finances.
If you have valuable assets that you want to protect from liquidation, Chapter 13 allows you to retain those assets while creating a plan to repay your creditors.
Seeking guidance from our Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers near you can help determine the optimal timing for filing. Filing depends on various factors, such as financial situation, income, and the need to protect assets.
It may be time to consult our Florida Chapter 13 lawyer if you’re struggling with mounting debts, facing foreclosure, or experiencing wage garnishment. Time is critical in these proceedings, so don’t waste any. Get in touch with us today & schedule a free consultation to explore your debt relief & management options!
Understanding the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Timeline
The bankruptcy process can seem daunting and overwhelming to many, but with the help of our Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer in Florida, you can trust that the journey will be smooth. Here is a timeline of what to expect when filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy:
- You Have to Consult with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers Near You
It is highly recommended to seek an initial consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer to assess your financial situation, evaluate eligibility, and determine if Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an option for you.
- You Need to Pass a Credit Counseling Course
Before filing, you must complete a credit counseling course from a federally approved agency within 180 days before filing for bankruptcy. The certificate of completion must be included in your bankruptcy petition. The course aims to help you assess your financial situation and explore alternatives to bankruptcy.
- You Are Required to Take the Means Test Calculation
If your income is above the median income for your household size in Florida, you must complete the means test calculation to assess your eligibility for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. The test compares your average monthly income to certain allowable expenses to verify if you have enough disposable income to finance a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
- Once Eligible, You Prepare Your Bankruptcy Petition
Work with your bankruptcy lawyer to gather financial information and prepare the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and other required forms. File the petition with the Florida bankruptcy court, triggering the automatic stay. You will need to pay a filing fee unless you qualify for a waiver based on financial hardship.
- The Court Keeps the Creditors at Bay with An Automatic Stay
Upon filing the bankruptcy petition, the automatic stay goes into effect immediately. The automatic stay provides legal protection that halts most creditor actions, including collection activities, foreclosure proceedings, wage garnishments, and repossession of assets.
- You Have to Devise a Debt Repayment Plan in A 341 Meeting
Attend the meeting of creditors, typically scheduled 20 to 50 days after filing the bankruptcy petition. The bankruptcy trustee and any creditors in attendance can ask questions about your financial affairs, assets, debts, and proposed repayment plan. This plan outlines how you intend to repay your debts over three to five years. It must comply with the Chapter 13 bankruptcy requirements.
- The Court Reviews Your Repayment Plan
After the 341 meeting, a confirmation hearing is scheduled where the bankruptcy court reviews and potentially approves your proposed repayment plan. Creditors have the opportunity to object to the plan during this hearing.
- If Approved, The Repayment Plan Is Executed
If the court confirms your repayment plan, you must begin making regular monthly payments to the bankruptcy trustee, usually within 30 days after filing the bankruptcy petition. The trustee distributes these funds to your creditors according to the approved plan.
- Now You Have to Abide by The Repayment Period
Stick to the terms of the repayment plan, making consistent payments to the trustee over three to five years. During this time, you should continue to meet your financial obligations and fulfill the requirements outlined in the plan. Failure to do so could result in your case being dismissed.
- Upon Completion, You Are Released from The Eligible Debts
Once you have completed the repayment plan, you will receive a discharge order from the court. This order releases you from the remaining eligible debts outlined in the plan, giving you a fresh financial start.
At Fresh-Start.Law, P.A., serving Altamonte Springs, FL, our Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers can guide you through filing. We are here to provide reliable advice and legal representation for all your bankruptcy needs. Contact us today to get started on a path to financial freedom!
What Should I Do if I’m Unable to Fulfill the Terms of the Repayment Plan?
While Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a valuable opportunity to regain financial stability, life’s uncertainties can sometimes make it challenging to adhere to the repayment plan you’ve committed to. If you cannot fulfill the repayment plan of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s important to consult with our Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers near you as soon as possible to assess your situation and guide you through potential solutions.
Modification of Repayment Plan
One option may be to seek a modification of the repayment plan based on changes in your financial circumstances. Our Chapter 13 lawyer in Florida can help negotiate with creditors, propose a modified plan that is more manageable for you, and seek court approval for changes, which may include extending the plan’s duration, lowering the monthly payments, or adjusting the payment schedule.
Conversion to Chapter 7
Conversion to Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be considered if the plan is deemed unworkable. Our Florida bankruptcy lawyer can provide personalized advice and navigate the legal complexities, ensuring compliance with Florida bankruptcy laws.
If you fall behind on your plan payments, and neither modification nor conversion to Chapter 7 is feasible, your case may be dismissed or terminated. However, this option leaves you responsible for your outstanding debts, in addition to any interest that went uncharged when your bankruptcy case was active. This means you lose the benefits of the automatic stay, and your creditors can resume collection efforts.
Why Do I Need an Attorney to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Florida?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is more than just a legal procedure. It provides an opportunity for financial stability and a brighter future. By adhering to the repayment plan and communicating openly with creditors, you can work toward regaining control of your finances.
While it’s possible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy on your own, it’s highly recommended to seek the legal guidance of a bankruptcy lawyer. To find a reputable bankruptcy lawyer, search online, check local directories, or seek referrals from trusted sources. Remember, each case is unique, and consulting with a lawyer is essential to receive accurate guidance tailored to your circumstances.
At Fresh-Start.Law, P.A., our Florida Chapter 13 lawyers are compassionate & committed to helping you out of this difficult situation. We can assist in renegotiating a suitable modification of the repayment plan. We can protect your rights, assist with the complex legal process, and improve your chances of a successful outcome. Contact us today to secure a free consultation & practical legal advice!
What Valuable Insights can our Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers Provide?
Q: What are the benefits of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Altamonte Springs?
A: Chapter 13 allows you to keep your assets while restructuring your debts, stop foreclosure or repossession, and create a manageable repayment plan.
Q: Can I save my home from foreclosure through Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
A: Yes, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help stop foreclosure proceedings and allow you to catch up on missed mortgage payments over time.
Q: Will I have to fully repay all my debts under Chapter 13?
A: The amount you repay depends on various factors, including income, expenses, and the value of your non-exempt assets. In many cases, creditors receive a portion of their debt, and the remaining balances may be discharged at the end of the plan.
Q: Can all types of debts be included in a Chapter 13 repayment plan?
A: Most unsecured debts, such as credit card debt and medical bills, can be included in the repayment plan. However, some debts, like child support and certain tax obligations, must be paid separately.
Q: Can I modify my repayment plan if my financial situation changes?
A: In certain circumstances, it may be possible to modify your repayment plan if you experience a significant change in income or other financial circumstances. Your bankruptcy lawyer can counsel you through the process.
Contact Our Florida Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers Near You Today!
Financial challenges can affect anyone, and when faced with overwhelming debt and the prospect of losing assets, individuals often turn to Chapter 13 bankruptcy as a lifeline to financial recovery.
At Fresh-Start.Law, P.A., serving Altamonte Springs, FL, we are dedicated to helping individuals like you regain control of their financial future. Our team of Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers understands the challenges you may be facing and is here to provide you with compassionate guidance and effective legal solutions. With our knowledge of Florida bankruptcy laws and our commitment to personalized service, we will work tirelessly to develop a tailored Chapter 13 repayment plan that suits your unique circumstances.
Our bankruptcy law firm is committed to providing you with peace of mind during a challenging time. You can focus on your financial recovery while we manage the legal aspects of your case. Let us be your trusted advocates, supporting you every step toward a fresh financial start. Contact Fresh-Start.Law, P.A., today to schedule a free consultation and take the first step towards a brighter financial future.
Our practice areas cover:
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filings
- Repayment Plan Development
- Foreclosure Defense
- Creditor Negotiations
- Asset Protection
- Wage Garnishment Defense
- Court Representation
- Financial Counseling