Filing bankruptcy in FloridaBankruptcy is the federal court procedure offering a person or business the opportunity to eliminate or restructure their debts. Debts that can’t be paid may be forgiven, and creditors may get some amount of repayment depending on the filer’s ability to pay. Filing bankruptcy in Florida can be a difficult decision, but it provides the opportunity to start with a clean slate.

The Bankruptcy Process in Florida

Most of the bankruptcy process is governed by federal bankruptcy laws. This means that filing bankruptcy in Florida is much like filing in other states. There is some Florida-specific information that you’ll need to submit. There are also Florida exemptions to be aware of. The basic process of filing in Florida follows these steps.

filing chapter 13 bankruptcy in JacksonvilleIt can be devastating to lose your home in a foreclosure. Fortunately, filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is an excellent option that can save your home. Chapter 13 can give you the opportunity to reorganize your debt to make it more manageable. This debt includes payments you are making on your mortgage.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 is also known as a wage earner’s plan. You will be able to determine a plan to repay all or part of your debts. With the help of an experienced Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer, you propose a plan to repay your creditors. The amount you are required to repay is based on several factors, including your income. The time-period for this repayment plan is typically three to five years.

parental rights of unmarried fathersNavigating child custody, visitation and child support is complicated and can be emotionally trying. Unmarried fathers may feel frustrated that they don’t have the same rights as other parents. Dealing with this difficult subject is much easier if you know your paternal visitation rights in Florida. Contacting a family law expert in Jacksonville can help. Here are some important facts that you should be aware of.

Do I need to establish paternity in Florida?

Married fathers are automatically considered the biological father of any children born during the marriage. If you’re an unmarried father who is not named on the birth certificate, you’re known as a putative father. You may petition to have your name added to the birth certificate, but you will also have to establish your paternity. You do not have any rights to your child until it is proven to the court that you are the biological father.

renting after bankruptcyMany clients ask us how a bankruptcy filing will affect their ability to rent a home or apartment. While bankruptcy can certainly make it more difficult to rent, it is not impossible. Potential landlords will take several factors into consideration when renting to you, including past bankruptcies. With some basic knowledge, there are ways you can improve your chances of renting your next home while in bankruptcy.

Renting before filing

If you have not filed yet, you might want to consider doing a pre-bankruptcy rental search. If you know ahead of time that you will need a new home due to surrendering your house in bankruptcy, think about locating a rental before filing. This way, your credit score is not yet affected by the bankruptcy filing and will not disqualify you from getting the rental you are interested in.

filing for bankruptcy
If you and your spouse are contemplating filing for bankruptcy, you may wonder if you are required to file jointly. Married couples can, in fact, file separately. When filing for bankruptcy in Jacksonville, married couples have the following options when choosing to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13:

  • One spouse files individually
  • Both spouses file individually

jacksonville divorce attorneyEnding a marriage is a hard choice to make, and unfortunately, it is not always a mutual decision. When one party wants a divorce, and the other does not, it can be an incredibly frustrating situation. In Florida, only one spouse has to want a divorce for a request to be granted, but it does create a few complications. If you find yourself in this position, here are the steps you and your Jacksonville divorce attorney will go through to complete the process.

Filing for divorce.

If your spouse does not wish to sign a petition for an uncontested divorce, you will need to file for a contested divorce. You will then need to have your spouse served with papers. This should be done by a sheriff’s deputy in the county in which your spouse lives or by a professional process server. This way it is clearly documented that the petition has been delivered in case you need to request a default judgment after 20 days without a response. In a contested divorce, it is very wise to hire an attorney who specializes in divorce due to the complexities of the type of situation. The emotional and financial consequences are too high to risk not having professional representation.

family law attorney in JacksonvilleChild support can be a difficult and emotional issue to navigate. The main purpose of child support is to ensure that the needs of children of divorced parents are being met. If you’re going through a divorce you may be confused about how child support figures are calculated, and it may be a major source of conflict between you and your former spouse.

Parents facing a divorce are often concerned about the amount they should expect to pay or the amount which they will receive. It’s important to know that each state has its own guidelines, and your family law attorney in Jacksonville can help you understand these.

Florida law uses an “Income Shares Model” for determining child support, which attempts to calculate how much would have been spent on raising the child if the parents were not divorcing. That amount is then divided between the parents based on their income. To determine this, an income affidavit must be filed by each parent listing their gross income. Gross income includes but is not limited to:

can creditors take my houseIf you have fallen behind on paying your bills, you may be wondering if you could lose your home. When facing financial turmoil, this is naturally what folks fear most. Fortunately, your home is safe from any creditors who do not have a mortgage or lien on it. Credit card companies and other unsecured loan holders can’t come and simply take your property or home after missing a few payments.

A creditor will first start making collection attempts by mail, phone calls or other methods. If these attempts are unsuccessful, there is a good chance that they will file a lawsuit against you. By doing so, the creditor is hoping to get a judgment which would allow them to transition from being an unsecured creditor a to secured creditor.

A judgment is issued by the court, and it states that the creditor has won the lawsuit and has a right to collect a specified amount of money from you. A creditor can get a judgment against you if you don’t respond to a complaint, don’t comply with a judge’s order, lose a summary judgment motion or lose a trial. Once a judgment has been issued, you become a judgment debtor and they become a judgment creditor.

jacksonville divorce attorneyDividing assets in a divorce can be a very difficult process. Things become even more complex when there are significant assets involved or if the couple divorcing is at all hostile. Since all states have different laws regarding the division of assets, it’s important that you thoroughly understand your state’s specific laws. You may want to seek the expertise of a Jacksonville divorce attorney to guide you through Florida’s specific laws.

In a divorce, only marital assets and liabilities are divided. This refers to all property acquired during the marriage, regardless of ownership or title. One of the first things you should do together is complete a list of all marital assets. If you can do so amicably, it makes the entire process faster and easier. Items that must be on this list include: your home, joint property such as land or vacation homes, any vehicles, valuables like jewelry and artwork, household belongings such as furniture and appliances, bank accounts, securities and retirement plans.

In the state of Florida, the law calls for an equitable distribution of marital assets and liabilities. A judge will set aside all non-marital property, also known as separate property. This is any property that each spouse previously owned and brought into the marriage. But be aware that this is not always so straight-forward, as some non-marital assets can become mixed with the marital property. An experienced Jacksonville divorce attorney can advise you on the technicalities of separate assets.

credit reportingNegative information on your credit report can make a big impact on your financial well-being. It can disqualify you from obtaining home mortgages and car loans, cause your interest rates to soar and may even keep you from getting the job you want. It goes without saying that you would want any negative information removed from your credit report as soon as the time limit for that debt has been reached.

So, what is that limit and how long will negative info remain on your credit report? It is important to be familiar with the two important time lines for debt—the statute of limitations and the credit reporting time limit.

The statute of limitations is the limited amount of time creditors or debt collectors have to file a lawsuit to collect a debt. It is what protects you from being sued for an old debt. The time period varies from state to state. In the state of Florida, the statute of limitations is 4 years on oral contracts and 5 years on written contracts. The clock typically starts ticking after the first missed payment to the original creditor. However, be aware that the limitations period can “restart” if you make a payment toward a debt. Debt collectors will often harangue debtors into making even a $5 payment toward a delinquent account in order to re-age the debt and add another 5 years to the limitations period!