The financial curveballs of life can meet you unexpectedly, making it difficult for you to pay bills, repay debts, or meet your financial needs. When going through a difficult financial situation, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains one of the available options to achieve debt relief and get the clean slate you need. If you're thinking about filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to consult with a knowledgeable Florida bankruptcy attorney for detailed guidance.
The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. is dedicated to offering experienced legal assistance and support to clients in consumer and business bankruptcy matters. Attorney David K. Blazek and his staff can discuss your unique financial situation and educate you about your possible options to get debt relief. They will guide you through every legal process involved in filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to help you out of debt and onto a more stable financial path.
The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. is proud to serve clients in Tampa, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, as well as Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus, Georgia.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy or ("liquidation bankruptcy") is a debt relief option available to individuals and businesses experiencing financial distress. Filing for Chapter 7 allows the consumer to wipe out most of their general unsecured debt and seek a clean financial slate.
A Florida bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee (an independent contractor) to oversee your entire bankruptcy case. The trustee's role is to collect and sell your non-exempt assets (assets that can be sold in a Chapter 7 case). The net proceeds from the sale will be used to pay your creditors.
Non-exempt assets include second homes, bank accounts, vacation homes, second cars, family heirlooms, cash, stocks, bonds, and other investments. Thankfully, you will be allowed to hold on to your exempt assets, including your primary home, car, household appliances, clothing, and furniture.
Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you:
Wipeout most of your general unsecured debt, such as unsecured personal loans, medical expenses, and credit card debt.
Achieve relief from certain financial obligations, excluding spousal support and child support payments.
Activate an "automatic stay" on your existing debts, which stops all debt collection efforts, creditor harassment, and wage garnishment.
Prevent debt collectors from repossessing, foreclosing, or evicting you from your home.
Help rebuild your credit score gradually over time
Even with the fact that Chapter 7 can do several things for you, there are certain things it can't do. These include:
It won't leave you destitute. You will be allowed to retain your major assets, such as your primary home, clothing, motor vehicle, and furniture pieces.
Except in rare circumstances, it won't eliminate your student loan debt.
It won't eliminate some debt, including fines and penalties, divorce settlement debts, fraudulent debt, criminal restitution, or federal, state, and local taxes.
It won't remove your responsibility to pay child support and spousal support (alimony).
Qualifying for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida requires passing the bankruptcy "means test" and attending a credit counseling and debtor management course.
The bankruptcy means test will evaluate your financial records, remove some payments and expenses, and determine your amount of disposable income. Here are the possible scenarios:
If your income is lower than the median income for your household size in Florida, you automatically pass and can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
If your family income is more than Florida's median income for your household size, you will be required to complete the bankruptcy means test.
If your disposable income is really low and unable to service your outstanding debt, you may qualify for Chapter 7.
If, after deducting expenses and bills, you still have a decent amount of disposable income, you can explore other options, like repaying your outstanding debt through a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
As mentioned above, in order to qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your income must be lower than Florida's median income for your household size.
One-person household — $53,182
Two-member household — $66,748
Three-member household — $71,689
Four-member household — $85,203
*Add $9,000 for each household in excess of four members.
The figures listed above are for cases filed on or after May 15, 2021, but they're updated regularly. An attorney can assess your financial situation and determine your eligibility for Chapter 7.
Additionally, consumers who want to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy are required to complete a session with an approved credit counseling provider within six months before filing their bankruptcy case. You will also need to take a debtor management course from a U.S trustee-approved agency in Florida before your bankruptcy discharge is issued. Both courses take about two hours and can be completed online.
Going through financial difficulties can be challenging, but you're not alone. According to statistics from The American Bankruptcy Institute, there were 37,452 total business and non-business bankruptcy filings in Florida in 2020, including 27,688 Chapter 7 filings. When considering filing for bankruptcy, consulting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney is important for proper guidance and to help you make important decisions in your bankruptcy proceedings.
The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. has the experience and resources to assist and guide clients through the complexities of bankruptcy proceedings. Your legal counsel can review your financial condition and determine whether Chapter 7 is the right bankruptcy option for you. Your attorney will help file necessary legal paperwork and assist you with your documentation. Attorney David K. Blazek and his staff can guide you through every stage of your bankruptcy process and assist you in making informed financial decisions going forward.
If you're facing financial difficulty and considering filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, contact The Law Offices of David K. Blazek, P.C. to schedule a consultation. Attorney David K. Blazek can offer you the help you need. The firm serves clients throughout Tampa, Florida, and the surrounding areas of Miami, Jacksonville, Orlando, as well as Atlanta, Macon, and Columbus, Georgia.