Articles Posted in Chapter 13

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 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.

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

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.

When you fhow to stop creditors from callingace the unfortunate situation of falling behind on your credit card, mortgage, auto loan or other bills, you may also find you’ve become the victim of debt collection harassment. The goal of this type of harassment is to annoy, intimidate or bully a consumer into paying off a debt.

Debt collection harassment can come in different forms—email, direct mail or texts—but it is most often done by constant, repetitive phone calls. These phone calls are often designed to annoy and belittle not only the person who holds the debt, but also whoever happens to answer the phone. At worst they may contain profane language and threats. They might even contact your friends and neighbors about your debt, seeking to humiliate you.

Fortunately, you have rights. While debt collection agencies are legally permitted to collect the debt that is owed to a creditor, they are not legally permitted to use abusive tactics to collect this debt from you. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces something called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. This act prohibits debt collectors from using abusive, unreasonable and/or deceptive practices to collect a debt.

Often times, Debtors are involved in accidents where personal property is totaled or unsalvageable. Many times these accidents occur while a bankruptcy is pending and the Debtor still owes a secured lender for the property. I must note the strategy detailed below is really only relevant to Chapter 13 and Chapter 11 cases. What is substitution of collateral? What the Debtor is generally looking to do is use the insurance proceeds from the accident, apply them to new property, and essentially substitute the newly acquired property as the former secured lender’s collateral.

You may be asking, what benefit is there to doing this? Well, it may allow a Debtor to purchase a new vehicle outright without new financing terms. It’s likely the Debtor will benefit from not having to pay off a secured creditor in full and worry about being able to afford a new vehicle. If the insurance proceeds are less than what is owed on the vehicle, this strategy will not work. You see this scenario most often with work vehicles. However, the issue is also very common in Chapter 11 business cases where business equipment is damaged and needs to be replaced.

Unfortunately, the strategy does not always work smoothly and the creditor may resist the motion to substitute collateral. The good creditor attorneys, who understand the law, will not object. Generally, the insurance adjuster will not release the insurance proceeds without the title being surrendered by the secured lender. This may put the Debtor in an even tougher situation financially especially if the Debtor is relying on a new piece of property for work purposes. Most Debtors cannot afford to wait months for the litigation to get resolved. Arguably, a creditor’s failure to release the title to the insurance company is a violation of the automatic stay (assuming no stay relief has been ordered).