Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer
The Law Office of David M. Goldman, PLLC has bankruptcy lawyers in our Jacksonville, and Ponte Vedra Beach offices that are located in Duval and St. Johns County, Florida, but offer services to clients in the following surrounding counties: Baker, Bradford, Clay, Columbia, Duval, Flagler, Hamilton, Nassau, Putnam, Saint Johns, Suwannee, and Union. Our Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyers may be able to help with a liquidation or reorganization of your debt under the Federal Bankruptcy Code. The Jacksonville bankruptcy courts are in the middle district of Florida, but Florida bankruptcy courts are separated into three districts: the Northern, Middle, and Southern District. The Jacksonville bankruptcy court is located in downtown Jacksonville.
The Federal Bankruptcy Code allows relief from personal debt through a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (a strict liquidation of assets) or through a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (a reorganization of debt by creating a repayment plan). Which chapter of bankruptcy you file largely depends on your income, debts, assets and financial goals.
There are few certainties in life. No one is completely protected from potentially having to file for bankruptcy to protect themselves from creditors. Most people do not realize that filing for bankruptcy may become a real possibility, even if they work hard, try to make good financial decisions, and try to plan for the future. Today there are too many unknowns in our lives that could create a bad financial situation for our families, despite having made decisions with the best intentions. The Law Office of David M. Goldman is here to help you get back on your feet. We understand you do not want to be in this position, but also know we may be able to help through negotiations with creditors, and protecting your assets. When you call our office, you will meet directly with an Attorney, not a paralegal or an administrative assistant. You will work directly with an experienced bankruptcy attorney; not an administrative assistant, paralegal or other office staff member. The attorney will have a face-to-face conversation with you to go over your entire financial situation and help you determine which options are available to you. Not only will an attorney help you decide if bankruptcy is the best option for you, an attorney will assist you throughout the entire process: from preparing and filing your petition, to preparing you for all hearings and attending them with you and dealing with all issues and requests from your assigned Trustee.
We do not play games with Bankrucpty Fees. We do not lure in clients with super low initial fees, but then ask them to pay thousands of dollars after their case is filed. Our fees are fair and you will know exactly what you will pay for your bankruptcy case when you have your meeting.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville
The most common bankruptcy filed in the United States is a Chapter 7. Those who are allowed to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Florida and around the country include companies, married couples, and individuals. A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is designed to wipe out all of a person's unsecured debt, such as credit cards and medical bills.
To qualify for this, a person must have a low disposable income over the last 6 months. Those who earn too much money, or have excess disposable income, may be required to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy or find a way to lower their income, instead. In Florida, a debtor must pass a Bankruptcy MEANS test, which means the debtor's family income cannot exceed the average family median income in your geographic area.
Once a bankruptcy is filed in Jacksonville or the Middle District, a trustee is appointed to administer your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. This bankruptcy trustee is responsible for selling a debtor's nonexempt property. If the debtor does not own any nonexempt property, his or her creditors will receive nothing. This type of bankruptcy is designed to help low income debtors climb out of debt. The type of property generally targeted includes luxury items such as new TVs, appliances, electronic equipment, and expensive cars.
In a Florida bankruptcy, residents are not allowed to use the Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions. Some argue that Florida has some of the best bankruptcy exemptions in the country for homeowners. Florida residents must instead use Florida's specific bankruptcy exemptions, which include the following:
- Florida's homestead exemption: Allows debtors to exempt an unlimited value in that person's homestead property. In order to qualify for this exemption, a debtor must have owned the property for at least 1,215 days prior to filing their Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The homestead exemption is limited to $146,450 for those who cannot meet this requirement.
- Personal property, bankruptcy exemption of $1,000: Includes such items as jewelry, furniture, art, and electronics up to a total of $1,000.
- If a debtor does not use Florida homestead exemption, they can take a personal property, bankruptcy exemption of up to $4,000.
- Other bankruptcy exemptions include prepaid medical savings accounts, prescribed health aids, and educational savings.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville
This form of bankruptcy is designed for debtors with regular income who are able to pay back a portion of their debt to their creditors. This means debtors will usually pay back some of their debt through a court approved repayment plan over a course of 3 to 5 years. This is known as a Chapter 13 Plan. In Jacksonville, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is most attractive to those with many assets because they may avoid having his or her property seized or liquidated. The bankruptcy exemptions available in a Chapter 13 are identical to those available in a Chapter 7.
Another benefit of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it can stop or toll a foreclosure. This is great for debtors who are behind on their mortgage payments and wish to save their home. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy will not stop the foreclosure process of a home unless you bring your mortgage current through your Chapter 13 plan, but the automatic stay call toll (stop) it for 120 days. If you are looking to save your home and reduce your monthly mortgage payment, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy by itself will not allow you to reach this goal. You will need to have a modification as discussed below.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and Mortgage Modification MediationOne of the main advantages of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy over a Chapter 7 is that you may be able to participate in Mortgage Modification Mediation. If you are behind on your mortgage payments, want to keep your home, are facing foreclosure and have tried over and over to no avail to obtain a modification of your mortgage, Mortgage Modification Mediation within a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may be your answer. Mortgage Modification Mediation may finally give you the opportunity to sit down with a representative of your mortgage company and obtain the modification you have been seeking. If a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy makes sense for you, after a Jacksonville bankruptcy attorney files a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition with the Bankruptcy Court, they can also file a motion asking the Court to allow you participate in Mortgage Modification Mediation. If the Motion is granted, mediation must be held within ninety (90) days from the date of the Bankruptcy Court’s Order.
The Automatic Stay
Upon filing either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, an automatic stay is put in place for 120 days. This means that creditors cannot try and collect from you. The automatic stay will remain in effect until one of the following things occur:
- A creditor petitions the court for relief from the Bankruptcy’s automatic stay and the court enters an order granting it;
- You receive a discharge in your bankruptcy case; or
- Your case is dismissed.
However, certain debts are not affected by the automatic-stay. These debts include child support, alimony and other similar debts.
If there is a breach of the automatic-stay, we aggressively pursue any violation to help you recover damages.
Main Advantages of Bankruptcy
- Gives you a "Fresh Start." This means your financial liability for your dischargeable debt will be eliminated. Most types of debt are dischargeable under the Federal Bankruptcy Code. However, student loans are never dischargeable and tax debt is only dischargeable in unique situations.
- Can stop Foreclosure proceedings or allow you time to catch up on past due payments.
- A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may suspend foreclosure proceedings for a number of months. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may allow you to save your home.
- Can stop repossessions and wage garnishments.
- Lenders can be prevented from repossessing a car owned by a debtor if he or she files for a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Once a debtor declares bankruptcy, the automatic stay prevents a creditor from repossessing your vehicle. However, the lender may still be able to repossess the car with the court's permission.
- If a creditor is garnishing your wages, the filing of a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may stop the garnishment and you may even be able to have some of your improperly taken wages returned. Although, there are a few exceptions, in most cases, if the creditor wants to continue collection efforts, they must first obtain permission from the court while the automatic-stay is in effect.
- Prevent the elimination of utility service: Filing bankruptcy can prevent your utilities from being turned off. However, you may be required to provide proof you will be able to pay your utility bills in the future.
- May halt an eviction: - Tenants who are facing eviction may be able to continue living in their rental property longer and prevent eviction by filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In general, once a tenant has filed bankruptcy the automatic stay should prevent the landlord from beginning the eviction process for past due rent. However, in 2005, bankruptcy law was revised to add the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention Consumer Protection Act to give landlords more power to evict tenants who file for bankruptcy. Under today's bankruptcy law, when a judgment for possession is issued before a tenant files bankruptcy, the landlord does not have to comply with the automatic stay and may continue the eviction process. Another exception to the automatic stay rule is when a tenant is being evicted for endangering the property or using illegal substances on the rental property.
- Allows you the ability to verify the amount owed to your creditors and reduce/dismiss amounts if they are incorrect.
- Stops harassing telephone calls and mailings from creditors: People who are in debt are likely use d to receiving constant phone calls and mailings from creditors. However, once a person files for bankruptcy this constant contact should come to a halt. If you still receive phone calls and mailings from a creditor, this may be a form of harassment and you have certain rights. Under U.S. Law, when a debtor files for bankruptcy one benefit he or she receives is creditors must stop all collection efforts against the debtor. Creditors who try to collect a debt during a bankruptcy or after a discharge is in violation of Federal Bankruptcy Law.
We can help you further understand:
- What a Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer can do for you?
- What the limitations of bankruptcy are in Jacksonville, Florida?
- What assets are at risk in a Jacksonville Florida Bankruptcy?
- Which assets are not at risk in a Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida?
- If your income can be garnished by creditors in Jacksonville or Florida?
- Whether your home (homestead) is at risk of loss with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida?
- How you can save your home and stop a foreclosure or sale date of your home by using a Bankruptcy in Florida and what non bankruptcy techniques may be available to you?
- Which type of bankruptcy is right for you in Jacksonville, Florida?
- What special provisions are available for Florida or Jacksonville residents in Bankruptcy?
- What property will you be able to keep in a Florida Bankruptcy?
- What needs to be done prior to filing a bankruptcy in Jacksonville?
- What credit counseling is required?
- What property you can own after filing bankruptcy in Jacksonville?
- How often or for what issues you may have to go to bankruptcy court?
- What will happen to your credit?
- How to stop collection efforts or protect yourself from other lawsuits by filing a Florida Bankruptcy.
- Which debts are secured and which are not secured? What does this mean?
- What the process is to keep assets that are unsecured or secured?
- How to keep creditors from bothering you or attempting to collect on debts covered by the bankruptcy?
To schedule a Free Bankruptcy Consultation with a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer call us at 904-685-1200 or Contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer online to discuss your rights and options.
For more information on Jacksonville Bankruptcy you can review our Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer Blog.
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
- Bankruptcy Exemptions in Florida
- Should I file a Bankruptcy?
- Jacksonville Beach Bankruptcy
- Orange Park Bankruptcy Lawyer
- Stopping Wage Garnishments
- 341 Meeting (Meeting of Creditors)
- Top 15 Bankruptcy Issues
- Can a Civil Judgment be Discharged in Bankruptcy?
- Stopping Foreclosure Through Bankruptcy