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Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy Lawyer Tampa, FL

For some struggling with debts, taking the step to reach out to our bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL from Carolyn Secor, P.A. will be critical to starting fresh. There are many reasons people may need financial relief, and there are several reasons why bankruptcy will be in your best interest. Taking the proper steps towards resolving and settling debts is critical, and Carolyn Secor, P.A. is prepared to assist you with moving through this process.

We know that many have concerns about how bankruptcy will impact their credit. Still, there are many ways a person can begin the process of rebuilding their credit immediately after bankruptcy. With our legal assistance, you will be able to say goodbye to crushing debt and endless calls from creditors for good. 

Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyer

Why Bankruptcy?

Many people cringe at the thought of filing for bankruptcy, but it’s essential to be aware that this option truly helps people clear the slate of the debts they may be struggling with. Chances are if you are unable to pay your bills, are experiencing constant calls from creditors, or are behind on your mortgage, it will be critical to take action in some way. There are alternatives to bankruptcy, and weighing out available options will be vital.

Accessing the assistance of our bankruptcy lawyer ensures that the best decision is made based on your situation. If you have a large amount of debt and are having difficulty finding a solution, start by calling our office so that we can assist. 

What is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy law is going to allow debtors who are unable or partially unable to pay outstanding debts to rid themselves of these debts and obtain a fresh start. This was started by the Supreme Court to allow for a future unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of pre-existing debt as set forth by Local Loan Co. v Hunt 292 US 234, 244 in 1934.

Federal bankruptcy laws going to consist of statutes published in the bankruptcy code in addition to federal bankruptcy law there are state statutory laws on bankruptcy that address areas that are delegated to states that are not covered by federal law. If you have questions about bankruptcy and what is reach out to a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, Florida.

What are the differences between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?

Being of the goal of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to discharge debts, you might be wondering what the main differences are and the eligibility requirements. The main differences are the eligibility requirements for both bankruptcies are different, the wings of time that the types of bankruptcies are going to take, whether you are going to need to repay your debts or not, and how much property you can keep.

In chapter 7 bankruptcy you do not have to commit to paying your debts but in chapter 13 bankruptcy you have to file a debt repayment plan with the bankruptcy court. In chapter debt is going to be repaid over a 3 to 5-year period and you have to have income that is sufficient to make full timely payments. You won’t receive a discharge until you have completed your plan. Typically you do not lose your property in a chapter 13 bankruptcy as long as you can account for repayment of any arrearages as well as payments that come due during the plan.

In contrast to the chapter 7 bankruptcy, a trustee can take the property you oh that is not exempt from the collection they can sell it and distribute the proceeds to your creditors said the accreditors are repaid to the extent possible. Often times exemptions in chapter 7 vary from the state but often you are able to keep some or all of the equity in your home, car, and personal property. Only those who pass a means test can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and assuming you best that means yes and include all of your debts in the paperwork you are likely to be fully discharged from debt within 4 to 6 months.

When looking for advice on filing for bankruptcy, talk to a bankruptcy lawyer who can inform you on what type of bankruptcy you qualify for if any. You should always discuss your open debts openly with your lawyer so that they know exactly what they are dealing with and what you are dealing with. Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer is going to take a lot of stress off of your shoulders because they are going to know how to help you do all of the processes, attend all of the meetings and file all the paperwork.

Common Misconceptions About Filing Bankruptcy

Only Financially Reckless People File for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy does not mean you are a bad or irresponsible person. It might be comforting to know that you are not alone and that millions of people file for bankruptcy every year. Job loss, illness, and divorce are the most common reasons that people file for bankruptcy. You shouldn’t despair if you find yourself in this position. Instead, you should consult with a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, like Carolyn Secor, P.A., who is capable of guiding you safely and securely through the process.

Your Credit Will Be Permanently Damaged

There is no doubt that filing for bankruptcy will have an impact on your credit and your ability to borrow money. The good news is that you are not destined to have bad credit forever. Most people start to see improvement in their credit score about 12 to 18 months after receiving their final discharge. Depending on which chapter you file, it could take seven to 10 years to return to good standing, but it might very well be worth it in the end. Once you have erased all of your debts and taken the proper steps to rebuild your credit, you could be in a much better financial position than you were before.

Creditors Will Take All of Your Belongings

This is a common fear that has little grounding in reality. Depending on where you are located and how you are filing, many of your assets will be protected by law. These laws are called bankruptcy exemptions and they were created to help people who have fallen on tough times and need help. Why, then, should you consult with a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL? An experienced lawyer like Carolyn Secor, P.A., can make sure that you have protection for your assets. 

A Single Chance Is All You Get

Some people think that you can only file for bankruptcy once in your life. The truth is that there are time constraints that regulate how soon people can file bankruptcy based on the date they last filed. These constraints prevent you from filing multiple bankruptcies in quick succession, but there is no limit to how many times you file as long as the necessary time has passed. If you are wondering whether you might be eligible to file bankruptcy for a second time, consider speaking to a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, today.

Taking The Right Next Step

Should it be in your best interest to file for bankruptcy, it’s critical to choose the right type of filing. Typically when filing for personal bankruptcy, there are primarily chapters to choose from: 

Chapter 7 (Liquidation)

For those who need a fresh start and do not have the means to repay their debts. To file for Chapter 7, you must qualify by having income below the state’s median and by passing the means test. Typically in Chapter 7, all unsecured debts are discharged. The process is shorter to resolve and often is complete within a 6-month timeframe (sometimes sooner).

Chapter 13 (Reorganization)

For those filing for bankruptcy whose income falls above the state median. This can be a better option for those looking to retain some of their assets, such as their home or car. Chapter 13 allows the debtor to make payments towards their debts over 3-5 years. At the end of that timeframe, unsecured debts that are leftover may be discharged. 

Chapter 9 (Municipalities)

Chapter 9 bankruptcy is for towns, cities, school districts, and counties. Municipalities that file for bankruptcy under this chapter have protection from creditors as they create a plan for debt adjustment.

Chapter 12 (Farmers and Fishermen)

This type of bankruptcy was established to support family fishermen and farmers who are going through a financially difficult time. Under Chapter 12, the individual in debt creates a plan to pay back their creditors over the course of 3-5 years. 

Chapter 11 (Reorganization)

Chapter 11 is available to both businesses and individuals. In comparison to Chapter 7, the debtor is in control of business operations and doesn’t have to sell off assets. A business owner can strive to have a more financially stable and healthy business. 

Chapter 15 (Foreign Debts)

Added to the bankruptcy code in 2005, Chapter 15 bankruptcy offers a way to deal with cases including more than one country. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a cooperative solution between foreign courts, a foreign debtor, and the United States bankruptcy court. A debtor who has foreign assets in more than one country will likely be encouraged to file for Chapter 15. 

Is It Time To File?

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy is a serious one, and shouldn’t be done lightly. It can significantly reduce debts, but will also impact your credit for up to ten years. Those who are in true need of a resource that gets them on the path to financial stability may benefit from filing for bankruptcy. But, how do you know that it’s time to do so? Here are a few red flags that you should probably consult with a Florida bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa as soon as possible:

  • You are unable to pay minimum payments for debts
  • You spend more money than you make on a regular basis
  • You have had to choose between paying for debts or necessities of living
  • You skip some bills each month
  • You don’t see yourself earning more money in the near future
  • You have to deal with relentless calls from collection agencies and creditors
  • You are being sued by a creditor

If the above applies to you or a loved one, then it is recommended you speak with a bankruptcy lawyer promptly before your financial situation worsens. Early intervention and learning about your options can make a difference in the long-term for your financial stability.

Contact our Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyer

4 Easy Steps To Start a Bankruptcy Claim

Nearly one million Americans every year file for bankruptcy in court. If you are ready to consider filing for bankruptcy, here are a few tips on where to go next. The courts need to get involved to begin the process of resetting your debt record. Scheduling a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL, may be the next step, but what needs to be done now to get things started?

1. Review Bankruptcy Criteria

There are checklists all over the internet for determining if Americans meet the criteria for bankruptcy. Law firms like Carolyn Secor, P.A. in Florida recommend looking at these points. If you meet at least three or four of the following items, consider going to court and hiring a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer: unable to make minimum payments, being actively sued, expenses far exceed income, more income is not in the near future, phone calls are coming in all day long or paying for living expenses like rent or food is becoming more difficult.

2. Get the Paperwork Together

It is going to be very important in the long term to have the correct paperwork in an organized place. Both digital and paper documents should be made easily accessible for a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa. Things like legal identification documents, tax returns, credit card debt balances, outstanding loan balances, lending bank information, and any other information on debts and the entities lending the money will be important to have on hand. Be sure to save past and future correspondence letters, emails, and phone call notes with debt collectors or banks.

3. Break Off Existing Payments

Consider stopping debt payments. If declaring bankruptcy is the solution, then continuing to make payments on any debt may be a waste of money. If you have recently negotiated with a bank to make new payments on a debt, ask your lawyer if these payments also need to stop. The sooner your bankruptcy filing gets to court, the better.

4. Schedule a Free Consultation With a Lawyer

Local lawyers know the system and the people in the courts. A firm like Carolyn Secor, P.A. helps clients repair their credit, choose the proper type of bankruptcy filing and check exemptions. An experienced Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, makes sure the details are dealt with correctly the first time, so you can focus on your life and family instead of paperwork.

Tampa Bankruptcy Law Infographic

bankruptcy lawyer infographic

Rebuilding Credit After Bankruptcy

One of the top worries many people have is the impact bankruptcy will have on their future credit. Keep in mind that if you are already struggling to make your payments and have a high amount of debt, your credit may already be suffering. While bankruptcy will impact your credit, it can also provide the opportunity to start anew. Typically bankruptcy will remain on your credit for ten years but, there are steps you can take immediately to begin rebuilding your credit:

  • Learn from your past mistakes 
  • Keep a close eye on your credit score
  • Get a secured credit card to begin rebuilding credit slowly
  • Try not to carry any debts over; pay everything off each month 

Our law firm is just a phone call away, and with her help, you may be able to resolve many of the issues surrounding your debts. Debt can be all-consuming, and for many, bankruptcy is the right solution to move forward. Don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with our Tampa, FL bankruptcy lawyer at Carolyn Secor, P.A. as soon as possible.

Bankruptcy Lawyer Tampa FL

Bankruptcy is a life-changing experience, but it doesn’t have to be a negative one if you involve the help of a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer. While we have a list of what you should do when you file, you should also know what not to do if you have decided to file for bankruptcy. 

Did you know that if you are found lying about something you could face criminal charges which can be up to $500,000 in fines and 5 years of jail time? This is why having a lawyer, and knowing what not to do comes in handy. You want to avoid all of that so you can get your life back on track and have better control over your finances. 

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Filing 

Lying About Your Assets 

Lying about your assets or your income is a good way to get your case dismissed. You could also be banned from filing on the debts ever again. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is a “means test”, which is a requirement that you disclose all of your assets and income. Now, a bankruptcy trustee will have access to your financial records, so it is unlikely that you can hide something if you wanted to. If you simply forgot something, that is different. It can be added to the list. Lying and trying to give away assets in order to hide them is just going to make things difficult. The bottom line here is just to tell the truth. 

Not Consulting a Lawyer 

Bankruptcy is complicated. That is a simple fact here. To get the most favorable outcome you should talk to a bankruptcy lawyer, as they know the ins and outs that might escape you. Lawyers know how to not only protect you and your assets but also know how to file for bankruptcy in the most efficient way possible. Doing it alone, you could honestly risk your case. In most cases, only about 5 percent of people representing themselves in bankruptcy filings actually succeeded.  

Running Up Credit Card Debt 

You’re just going to have that settled right? The answer is no. After receiving the bankruptcy notification, and the creditor believes you ran up your credit card balance before filing, then they can challenge the request to eliminate some or all of what you owe them. You could end up owing money on your credit cards even after the bankruptcy is over. In order to protect yourself from this, once you choose to file for bankruptcy, you should stop using your credit card. 

In order to have the most efficient bankruptcy possible, it is important that you do things correctly. This means that you do have to do your research on finding a lawyer. If you are looking for a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL then reaches out to the team at Carolyn Secor, P.A. as soon as possible so we can start helping you get your finances back on track.

Q: Why does bankruptcy happen? 

A: There are different reasons why bankruptcy happens.  For example; sometimes bankruptcy ends up taking place because an employer takes out a loan on a business, and they fail to plan ahead of time, in relation to aspects that would allow them to pay the loan on time.  However, when this is not the case, financial issues start to arise, and when they do not end up getting resolved, this can end up causing an employer the need to file bankruptcy for their business.  

Q: Who else can fall victim to bankruptcy?

A: It is not just employers who can fall victim to the need to file for bankruptcy, but homeowners can also suffer from this as well.  One of the strongest examples of this would be a homeowner having to borrow a loan to pay off a house. However, expenses end up getting tight down the line, and they do not have the money to pay off the loan.  This can eventually lead to the need to file for bankruptcy, down the line.  Moreover, not all cases are black and white, and as such, a lawyer, such as a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa FL, can assist in assisting. 

Q: How can bankruptcy lawyers assist?

A: What a bankruptcy lawyer focuses on first and foremost, is assessing the case from a multifaceted perspective.  For example; when looking at the cases, some of the questions asked to pertain to the extent of debt that someone is in, how the person ended up getting in debt, and more.  For example; sometimes people end up getting into debt, because when they buy a home, they forgot to accommodate a previous loan that had been on the home, through a different owner.  These are examples of the kind of cases looked at and assessed. This is especially true for companies, such as Carolyn Secor, P.A., which have a strong focus on financial planning based on the extent of the bankruptcy, how to ensure that such situations can be avoided again, and more. This is the kind of work that is important for all bankruptcy companies and lawyers to focus on. 

Carolyn Secor, P.A. Bankruptcy Attorney

8270 Woodland Center Blvd. #540 Tampa, FL 33607

Tampa Bankruptcy Lawyer Google Review

“I would recommend the law office of Attorney Secor 100%. They were very informative and always available to answer all of my questions. Choosing them was the best decision for me. Thank you for being there for me.” – Kathy P.

If you have any more questions about what a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer can do for you, don’t hesitate to reach out to Carolyn Secor, P.A. to learn more. 

What to Expect From Your Bankruptcy Lawyer


While bankruptcy laws aren’t all complicated, they are also not always easy to handle. Your case’s difficulty level depends on whether there is bankruptcy litigation, you own a business, your trustee will sell your property, you go with Chapter 7 or 13, and other facts. Whether your case is complex or straightforward, your bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa, FL, should have the skills necessary to handle it for you. You can find out if your lawyer will be competent by searching their history for experience with similar cases. 

Sound Legal Advice

The contract you sign with your Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, outlines the specific services you can expect. However, you should expect sound legal advice no matter what your agreement says. For starters, they should tell you whether it is in your best interests to file for bankruptcy. They should also tell you whether to file for Chapter 7 or 13, what to expect, and the risks. You should also expect them to answer your questions promptly. 

Paperwork Completion

Bankruptcy requires a lot of paperwork. Fortunately, Carolyn Secor, PA, has specialized software to help prepare and file your paperwork. First, you’ll need to provide all the financial records you have. Then, your attorney will put that into the forms and offer them to you to verify for accuracy.

You may also encounter other forms that need to be filed before a specific deadline. If these are not turned in promptly, you could experience delays, dismissal, or other consequences in your case. Since you want to avoid any problems with your case, you want to make sure your attorney can complete any paperwork that arises. 


You will be required to appear in court at least once during your case. This appearance is known as the mandatory meeting of creditors for your case. In addition, however, there may be other compulsory hearings that you need to attend. For example, you may also have a Chapter 13 confirmation, Chapter 7 reaffirmation, and any other hearings that arise throughout the process.

You should expect your attorney to represent you at all of these and advise about what hearings you can expect. While working with Carolyn Secor, PA, you can expect her to use her intricate understanding to advise you on any potential hearings and represent you at these. If your attorney doesn’t suggest hearings or offer representation, it is time to find someone who does.