Sudden job losses, medical emergencies, student loans and unplanned pregnancies are some of the reasons Florida residents filed for bankruptcy protection. According to the Tampa Bay Times, personal bankruptcies for Floridians increased by 11% during the year 2019. At The Day Law Office, we understand your need to move forward from overwhelming debts, and how for many of the Sunshine State’s residents, the only way to move forward is by having a clean slate.
Individual filers who earn less than $49,000 per year may petition for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and a married couple may earn less than $60,400 per year to qualify. Chapter 7 may discharge all of your personal consumer debts, including past-due bills for credit cards, medical services, payday loans and personal loans. If you own personal property worth more than $4,000, however, the appointed bankruptcy trustee might require you to sell it to repay some of your debts.
You may generally keep your car as long as you are current on your payments; the courts assume transportation is necessary to travel to and from work. The court, however, might view your home as a way to help pay your creditors if there is sufficient home equity available. Florida’s homestead exemption may be an option that allows you to protect the entire value of your primary residence. In order to qualify for the exemption, your property must be less than half an acre in size. You will also need to show that you lived there for at least 1,215 days before filing your petition.
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy will not eliminate 100% of your debts. Those debts generally not discharged include taxes, student loans, alimony and child support. You will still maintain the responsibility for paying them after a successful bankruptcy filing.
Some private and commercial creditors may object to forgiving your debts and might challenge your petition through the court. There are, however, options regarding various relief strategies and which type of bankruptcy petition you can file. It might be to your significant advantage to choose carefully and select the approach that best fits your individual needs and circumstances.
Our page on bankruptcy law provides more information on your options for getting a fresh start on your debts and finances.