If you are drowning in credit card debt, medical bills, payday loans or other types of unsecured debt, Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be your path to a fresh start. This type of proceeding, also known as liquidation, can allow you to permanently wipe out debt in a matter of months.
Keep Your House and Property Through Bankruptcy
Many people believe that filing bankruptcy will result in losing their home and property. That is simply not true. Bankruptcy is a form of financial help and a powerful tool for permanently eliminating insurmountable debts.
When you pursue a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, the law permits you to keep certain types of property, called exemptions. You may even be able to keep property that was financed through a lien or security interest through a process called reaffirmation.
This means you can keep:
- Your house if you have owned it for more than 40 months (or, if owned for less than 40 months, there is a dollar limit of $125,000 per spouse)
- Your 401(k) and pension plans
- Your Social Security benefits and Supplemental Security Income
- Any worker’s compensation benefits
- Prepaid college tuition accounts
- The majority of other assets and belongings
Stop Creditors, Foreclosures, Collection Efforts, Repossession and Wage Garnishment
Among other benefits of bankruptcy, filing Chapter 7 will stop creditors in their tracks. They can no longer contact you, harass you or otherwise attempt to collect on your debts. Additionally, filing bankruptcy will halt foreclosure proceedings, repossession efforts and wage garnishment.
Chapter 7 requires minimal court appearances. As soon as you file, you can start taking steps toward rebuilding your credit and building a more financially stable life after bankruptcy.
Who Can Qualify?
Eligibility for Chapter 7 is based, essentially, on income. A means test that takes into account your family size, income and expenses will determine whether you qualify. A bankruptcy lawyer can help you determine this.
For those who do not qualify, Chapter 13 may be a viable option.
The federal government passed new bankruptcy reform legislation in October 2005. However, don’t be discouraged! Most studies indicate that the new law affects less than 15% of individuals who could have filed previously. If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debts and considering filing bankruptcy, it is highly probable that you fall into the category of the 85 percent of people who are still eligible to file.