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General Bankruptcy FAQ

General Bankruptcy FAQ

Will a Bankruptcy stop creditors from calling me?

Yes. No creditor is permitted to contact you in any way after you file your bankruptcy petition and we, as your Bankruptcy Attorneys, will make sure of that.

Can a Creditor collect after a debt has been discharged?

No!  If a credit attempts to collect a debt after it has been discharged, the debtor can file a motion with the court, reporting the creditor's actions.  The Bankruptcy Court will determine if the creditor violated the discharge order and if it determines it has, the Court could award the Debtor money, including actual damages, attorney's fees, and sometimes punitive damages, in extreme cases.

If your debt has been discharged, and you have your Creditor calling you again, you can call our office and we will spring into action, as your Bankruptcy Attorneys, and help you stop this, even if another attorney filed the Bankruptcy on your behalf.

Will a Bankruptcy ruin my Credit?

A Bankruptcy, no matter under which Chapter it is filed, will appear on your record for some time.  

Now, that said, if you are filing a Bankruptcy, the probability is that your credit was already ruined for some time before you file.  

A Bankruptcy could actually help your credit in the long run.  By discharging your debts, you get a fresh start.  In no time, your credit score will be higher than when it was before you filed for Bankruptcy, and within two years you can request credit again.

How long will a Bankruptcy stay in my credit report?

A Bankruptcy can stay in you credit report for up to ten years.

Can I be liable for a debt after my discharge?

Yes, in certain circumstances. 

If a debtor signs a reaffirmation agreement, a legally binding contract between the debtor and the creditor, the debtor agrees to be liable once again to the creditor after the entry of the discharge order.

This agreement must always be approved by the court, in order to discourage a creditor from trying to coerce a creditor into signing such agreement.

If I am married, do we have to file together?

No. Sometimes only one spouse may file. You may be able to file without your spouse if you have been married a short time or if all the debt is in your name alone. 

Chapter 7 FAQ

Chapter 7 FAQ

What is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is a way to legally eliminate, or cancel, your debts.  Chapter 7 gives you a fresh start in your economic life, with certain limitations.

A Bankruptcy is NOT for:

  • a person who runs up their credit cards with the intent of shortly thereafter going into bankruptcy; or
  • a person who has transferred or hidden assets for the purpose of hiding it from his/her creditors.

A Bankruptcy IS for the honest debtor who, for different life events, find themselves overwhelmed by debt.  There is no requirement to show how you became indebted, but the Trustee could challenge the Bankruptcy if there is evidence that the debt was acquired fraudulently.  We will be more than happy to become your Chapter 7 Attorneys and help you navigate through the bumpy road of the Bankruptcy process.

If I filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy before, can I file another one?

A debtor cannot file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy more than once every 8 years.

What qualifies me for a Chapter 7?

To determine whether you can file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you have to pass the means test.

The meanest test compares your average monthly income, for the previous six-months, against the median income of similar households in Florida.

If your income is below the median income, you automatically qualify.

What is the maximum income I could have in order to qualify for Chapter 7?

In order to qualify for a Chapter 7 case, you cannot have an income larger than Florida's median income level.

Depending on how many people earn money in your home, Floria median income level can range from $41,214.00, for a household with a single-earner, to $65,260.00, for a household with 4, or more, income earners.  As your Bankruptcy Attorneys we will sit down and analyze your complete financial situation and, together, we will determine what is the best course for you.

What debt can be discharged in a Chapter 7?

Other than detail a long list of Debts that can be discharged, most of the time it's easier to list the types of debts that are not dischargeable.

Debts that are not Dischargeable are:

  • Child Support;
  • Alimony;
  • Most Tax Debts;
  • Most Student Loans; and
  • Secure Debts (Debts that are secured by an asset)

In situations where a Chapter 7 cannot help, a Chapter 13 may be your solution.

How long does it take to discharge my debts under a Chapter 7?

A typical Chapter 7 case could take anywhere from four to six months from the day you file, until the time you receive your discharge.

Despite, remember that every case is unique, and any number of things can make your case take longer.

Chapter 13 FAQ

Chapter 13 FAQ

What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 is less about elimination of debt and more about reorganization of an individual’s finances.

The Chapter 13 process requires that the debtor make a monthly payment to a Chapter 13 Trustee for a period of 36 to 60 months.

The Trustee then distributes that money to the debtor’s creditors who have filed proper claims.

In summary, a Chapter 13 is a Bankruptcy case where you have to pay into a monthly payment plan, for managing debt, that lasts three to five years and usually results in a discharge.  Not every Attorney handles Chapter 13 cases, but we have plenty of experienced to guide your case smoothly through the Chapter 13 process.  We would be more than happy to become your Chapter 13 Attorney.

If I filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy before, can I file another one?

Yes, but you need to wait two years, after you received your Chapter 13 discharge, to be able to file for another Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. 

If I filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy before, can I file a Chapter 13?

If you have received a discharge in a previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you must wait 4 years from the date you filed your Chapter 7 Bankruptcy to file and a receive a discharge in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

What qualifies me for a Chapter 13?

In order to be able to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the debtor must:

  • not be a Business Entity;
  • not be barred by a prior Bankruptcy;
  • have not had a previous Bankruptcy case dismissed within the previous 180 days;
  • have fulfilled the Credit Counseling Requirement;
  • not have too high of a debt;
  • have filed his/her income tax returns; and
  • have sufficient income to pay debt.

After careful analysis of your financial situation, we will let you know if a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is the best option for you.

What is the maximum income I could have in order to qualify for Chapter 13?

There isre income requirement in order to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.  Now, there is a debt requirement where the secured and unsecured debt must not exceed a certain amount.

Is bankruptcy counseling required to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Yes. The federal government requires you to obtain a Pre-Filing Bankruptcy Credit Counseling certificate from an approved credit counseling agency before you file for bankruptcy. The federal government also requires you to complete a Post-Filing Bankruptcy Debtor Education course in financial management prior to discharging any debts. 

What debt can be discharged in a Chapter 13?

Other than detail a long list of Debts that can be discharged, most of the time it's easier to list the types of debts that are not dischargeable.

Debts that are not Dischargeable are:

  • Child Support;
  • Alimony;
  • Most Tax Debts;
  • Criminal Penalties;
  • Penalties owed to a government agency;
  • Debts and Creditors you don't list;
  • Fraudulent debts;
  • Most Student Loans; and
  • Secure Debts (Debts that are secured by an asset), among others.

In situations where a Chapter 7 cannot help, a Chapter 13 may be your solution.

How long does it take to discharge my debts under a Chapter 13?

A typical Chapter 13 case could take anywhere from three to five years from the day you file, until the time you receive your discharge.

Despite, remember that every case is unique, and any number of things can make your case take longer than expected.  Now, how ever long it takes we will be right there, next to you, as your Bankruptcy Attorneys.

What is the Mortgage Modification Mediation (MMM) Program?

If successful, the MMM program, within a Chapter 13 case, is an alternative to foreclosure.  However, it has specific requirements which can cause it to fail due to lender inflexibility or a variety of other factors.  

In mediation, The Rivera Law Firm make sure that all requirements are met, as to maximize the opportunity to reach a positive conclusion, giving our client the best chance of  coming out of the mediation with a Modification of their Mortgage.

Personal Injury FAQ

Personal Injury FAQ