Are you drowning in debt and hoping to get back on track financially so you can escape money-hungry creditors and start rebuilding your life? If so, declaring Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be a good option for you. There are numerous negative connotations surrounding bankruptcy declarations.
However, filing for bankruptcy can be an excellent way for those burdened by massive debt to pay back creditors and look toward a brighter financial future. Though the bankruptcy process can be overwhelming, an experienced and compassionate Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in Florida from The Rivera Law Firm can help you determine whether bankruptcy is a good option. Fill out our online contact form or call our office to get started.
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in West Palm Beach, FL?
Several different types of bankruptcy options may be available depending on the circumstances of your case. When you declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you repay your creditors over time. Generally, this involves a repayment plan approved by the court that spans approximately three to five years.
This is an advantage over Chapter 7 bankruptcy petitions, which may require you to liquidate your assets. Additionally, most people do not qualify for Chapter. Instead, they must file Chapter 13 to rid themselves of debt, eliminate or modify secured debts, and reasonably catch up on payments. Another benefit of Chapter 13 is the ability to discharge unsecured debts that may not be dischargeable when declaring Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Florida Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Eligibility
You must be a Florida resident to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida. To be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you cannot have more than $465,000 of unsecured debt or $1.4 million of secured debt, like a car loan.
Anyone with debt exceeding these limits will be prohibited from pursuing Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some examples of secured debts could include any debt where your creditor has an interest in your property, such as car loans or mortgage payments. Examples of unsecured debt held by unsecured creditors could include:
- Credit card debt
- Medical bills
- Personal loans
- Student loans
- Back child support
- Certain tax obligations
When you declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must also have enough income to stay current on secured creditor payments as part of your repayment plan. You must be able to make these payments throughout your bankruptcy declaration for the remaining debts to be discharged. Any disposable family income must go towards your unsecured and secured creditors over the term of your repayment plan.
What Happens When You File Chapter 13 in Miami or West Palm Beach?
When you declare Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a trustee will be appointed to your case. It is their responsibility to oversee your repayment plan and evaluate it to determine whether it is feasible or needs adjusting. You will pay your debts to the trustee, who will then distribute the payments among your creditors based on the terms of your Chapter 13 reorganization plan. Trustees are generally compensated up to 10% of your monthly payments.
You should also be prepared to work with your Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney to craft a repayment plan. This describes how much you will pay each month to specific creditors over a predetermined time. You can surrender collateral for certain types of secured loans if you want to avoid paying creditors. The creditor cannot pursue further collection efforts once the collateral has been surrendered.
When collateral is not surrendered, you will be expected to pay your debt as described in your Chapter 13 plan. Once you declare bankruptcy, there will be an automatic stay, where creditors will be prohibited from continuing their debt collection efforts for the duration of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
How to File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Florida
Whether you are interested in pursuing bankruptcy in West Palm Beach, Miami, or anywhere in Florida, you can do so with help from an experienced Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer. We can help you complete the necessary forms and documents, including a list of your and your spouse's income and expenses. This helps determine a reasonable monthly payment to cover your outstanding debts. You must also attend credit counseling with a court-approved credit counseling agency.
We will also ensure your repayment plan considers reasonable daily living expenses, child care, and other necessary costs. We will not include certain luxury items in your repayment plan, as all disposable income must go to your creditors. We must start your payment plan as soon as possible, as it is due within 30 days of your Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing.
If you are filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy in West Palm Beach or Miami, you can visit the Florida Southern District Bankruptcy Court at 1515 North Flagler Drive, West Palm Beach, FL 33401.
Once your bankruptcy petition has been filed and your reorganization plan has been made, you should be prepared to attend your 341 meeting. This refers to a meeting with your creditors that occurs approximately one month after you have declared bankruptcy. This is the creditor’s opportunity to ask you questions or challenge your repayment plan.
However, creditors rarely attend these proceedings. If there are no challenges to your Chapter 13 repayment plan, the court will review your case and determine whether your petition should be approved. If so, you should begin making payments within several weeks of approval.
Contact a Florida Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney for Help
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case can be intimidating. After all, you have probably heard that filing for bankruptcy makes you a failure or will haunt you for the rest of your life. However, in some instances, declaring bankruptcy is the right decision based on your financial circumstances.
You have an opportunity to avoid financial ruin. Take advantage of it with help from an experienced Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney at The Rivera Law Firm. Schedule your initial consultation when you fill out our online contact form or call our office.