Articles Posted in Bankruptcy

filing bankrputcy with Parker & DuFresneMany people are concerned with the negative stigma that surrounds bankruptcy. They want to know who will find out if they decide to file. While a bankruptcy is publicly recorded, typically only creditors or bankruptcy attorneys will actually view this information. You probably shouldn’t worry too much about your friends, neighbors, or others in your social circles finding out.

What’s Included in My Bankruptcy Record?

The information on file will include copies of any documents related to the filing. Values of assets, creditors’ claims and information on any funds exchanged in the process will be listed. It will also include notes about meetings and phone calls.

filing bankruptcy in Jacksonville with Parker and DuFresneWhen filing bankruptcy, you’re probably concerned with safeguarding certain important assets. Will establishing a trust protect your assets from creditors? The answer will depend on several factors, including the type of trust you have. There are two types of trusts, revocable and irrevocable. Below we’ll discuss the purposes of each and how they apply when you’re filing for bankruptcy.

Revocable Trust

A revocable trust, or living trust, is the type of trust commonly used in estate planning. One of its primary purposes is to help your family avoid the stress and costs associated with probate after your death. Any assets included in this trust are not subject to probate court. This saves considerable time and hassle for the beneficiaries of your estate. The assets in the trust will be distributed according to your wishes.

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.

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

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.

jail for unpaid debtIt is quite unusual to go to jail for an unpaid debt. Debtors’ prisons were abolished in the 19th century in the United States, and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits debt collectors from threatening you with criminal prosecution.

In the state of Florida, you can’t be put in jail for failing to pay a debt or judgment. What can happen when you fail to pay a debt is that it will be reported to credit bureaus, and it will become part of your credit history for up to seven years. It is also possible that your property is seized and your wages may be garnished. But since debtors’ prisons were found to be unconstitutional and biased against people with lower incomes, you are not likely to face jail time over an unpaid debt.

However, you should be aware that there are certain situations that can lead to jail time in relation to an outstanding debt. These include:

will bankruptcy stop irs garnishmentFalling on hard times financially can also lead to falling behind on your taxes. When your tax debt becomes extremely delinquent, the IRS may issue a garnishment on your wages. This garnishment, or levy, allows the IRS to take part of your wages each pay period. A garnishment will continue until you: A. make other arrangements to pay off your tax debt; B. your debt has been paid in full; or C. the levy has been released. Overwhelmed by the thought of losing your wages, you may wonder if filing for bankruptcy will relieve you from an IRS garnishment.

Filing for bankruptcy can in fact offer some relief from the stress of an IRS garnishment. Once you file bankruptcy, a court ordered automatic stay will immediately go into effect. This stay will stop any type of debt collection, including garnishments and seizures, for the duration of the bankruptcy case. However, since bankruptcy will not get rid of most tax debts, how your garnishment is affected after the case is over will depend on which type of bankruptcy is filed: Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, all of your dischargeable debts will be wiped out. Since most tax debts are not dischargeable, they will remain. The IRS garnishment will, however, be temporarily halted due to the automatic stay while your bankruptcy case is processed. When your case is over, you will still owe on your tax debt. For this reason, while Chapter 7 can offer a window of relief, it does not offer a long-term solution to the situation.

refuses to pay child supportDealing with a former spouse who is not paying their court-ordered share of child support can be an unfortunate hassle. Left with this financial and emotional burden, you may feel like you’ve made every attempt to collect but just aren’t getting anywhere. You may even be at the point where you’re asking yourself, “is withholding visitation an option?”

The answer to that question is no. You cannot refuse visitation if your ex is not paying child support. While you may be able to have your ex-spouse’s visitation rights modified in court, withholding visitation rights is considered custodial interference. Child support and visitation rights are two separate issues that should not be confused.

  • Child support is determined in court, and must follow the guidelines of the Child Support Enforcement Act. These guidelines vary from state to state. The factors that are looked at include the child’s needs (health care, education, child care, etc.), the income and needs of the custodial parent, the paying parent’s income and the child’s standard of living before the divorce or separation.

student loan bankruptcyIf the debt from your student loans is overwhelming you, you’re not alone. According to the Institute for College Access & Success, an independent non-profit organization, 68% of students who graduated from both private and public colleges in 2015 had student loan debt. The debt average had risen 4% since 2014 to a whopping $30,100 per borrower in 2015.

While it can be challenging, it is not impossible to have student loan debt discharged in bankruptcy. In order for your student loan to be discharged, you must be able to prove that it is causing undue hardship. Courts use certain tests to make this determination. The most common is called the Brunner Test, in which courts will look for you to meet the following three criteria:

  1. You are unable to maintain a minimal standard of living for you and your dependents if you are required to continue paying your student loans.