What Is Bankrupcty?
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Fundamentally, bankruptcy is a legal proceeding brought by individuals and businesses who might be seeking a “fresh start” to free themselves from past financial problems and move forward with their lives unhampered by the pressure and discouragement of pre-existing debt.
When a person who owes more money than he or she can currently repay (a “Debtor”) then a bankruptcy filing may allow the debtor to either repay a portion of the money owed over time or have the entire debt forgiven.
For individuals considering a bankruptcy filing, most will end up filing either a Chapter 7 (commonly referred to as a “liquidation” bankruptcy) or a Chapter 13 (commonly referred to as a “reorganization” bankruptcy). The Bankruptcy Code and Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure will help determine which type of bankruptcy a debtor will be eligible for.
BANKRUPTCY FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
How can bankruptcy help my financial situation?
Bankruptcy is a legal process which may allow you to have most of your debt forgiven and give you are fresh start.
Will I be able to keep my car or my house?
It depends. In some cases if you have too many assets you may be required to surrender some of your property in exchange for having your debt forgiven. In other cases, you may be able to keep your home, but you may be required to make monthly payments instead.
Will bankruptcy stop the harassing phone calls from debt collectors?
Bankruptcy puts an end to collection efforts and gives you back the peace of mind. The moment a bankruptcy petition is filed it stops all collection efforts, harassment, letters, and telephone calls. Creditors will not be legally allowed to collect to contact you any further.
If I cannot afford to pay my bills how am I supposed to pay for a bankruptcy attorney?
The overall cost of the Bankruptcy process depends on your case. At Starr Law Offices we offer payment plans to help you with the cost of attorney's fees.
I heard that I may have to complete an education course, is this true?
You will be required to complete two short courses, one before your petition is filed, and one before your discharge in order to get your debt forgiven. The courses take an average of 60 minutes, they can be completed online, and are available in English and Spanish. Our office will provide with more information on the required courses and where to go.
Will I have to go to court?
Typically, most Debtors will go through the entire bankruptcy process without appearing in front of a Judge. Debtors are required to attend a "meeting" with their creditors in front of a U.S. Trustee. During this meeting, a U.S. Trustee will ask you some questions to verify that the information in your petition is correct. You will be required to provide photo identification and your social security card.
*Currently as a result of COVID-19 all proceedings are conducted online via Zoom or Telephonic Conferences.
If I file for bankruptcy, will it stop an eviction or foreclosure?
In certain cases, an emergency bankruptcy petition may be filed to prevent a foreclosure. In order to see if this applies to you it is best to consult an attorney. How a bankruptcy petition affects evictions and foreclosures is a complex issue that depends on your specific financial situation and overall debt.
Disclaimer: The information provided should not be cited or relied upon as legal authority or interpreted as legal advice. It is highly recommended that legal advice be obtained from an experienced bankruptcy attorney prior to filing. For more information on the Bankruptcy process please visit the United States Bankruptcy Court Middle District of Florida (http://www.flmb.uscourts.gov/faqs/).