Articles Tagged with debt

a gavel on a bankruptcy court benchMany people worry about what happens after they make the decision to file for bankruptcy. While preparing your paperwork is half the battle, it’s important to be prepared for what occurs after you’ve signed your petition. Here’s what you can expect after filing bankruptcy.

The Automatic Stay is Put in Place.

An automatic stay is a federal court order that goes into effect the moment a bankruptcy case is filed. It prevents creditors from making any effort to collect on debts you owe. You’ll be assigned a case number by the court, which you should give to any creditors that try contacting you. If they persist, they will have to answer to the bankruptcy court.

a married couple linking arms while sitting
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

handcuffs on a white backgroundIt 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:

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.
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