What Are the Steps and Requirements to File For Bankruptcy in Florida?


What Are the Steps and Requirements to File For Bankruptcy in Florida?

Bankruptcy processes differ based on a number of factors. The type, or chapter, of bankruptcy you file, your eligibility status, whether or not you can pass means tests, and whether you’re a consumer or a business all play a part in your decision. While the information below should outline some of the basic considerations that will help you determine which bankruptcy process is right for you, don’t go it alone. It’s always best to hire a bankruptcy attorney to help you make the best choice. Only a qualified, experienced Florida bankruptcy attorney can help you through the process with the most successful outcomes.

Business or Consumer?

If you’re a business, you have limitations as to what you can do and which chapters you can file. Usually, if you’re a corporation or something similar, you’ll have to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Chapter 11 is designed specifically for mid- to large-sized businesses and corporations. However, if you’re a sole proprietor, you may be able to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, too. Use the rest of the considerations listed here to help you determine which is best for you. However, for business owners who are not sole proprietors, you’ll probably have to go with Chapter 11. Consumers almost always choose between Chapter 7 (liquidation) and Chapter 13 (payment plan) bankruptcy.

Liquidation or Payment Plan?

If you want to liquidate your assets, get a clean state, be debt free, and start over, then Chapter 7 is the bankruptcy process you want to look into. Chapter 7 allows you to keep necessary things like one home, your car, and similar items but requires that you liquidate other assets such as a second home, second car, or other property that is deemed unnecessary. That being said, most Chapter 7 cases don’t require you to give up any property for one reason or another. You do have to pass a means test for Chapter 7, though. If you make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7, then you’ll have to file Chapter 13. Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debt will be negotiated down and consolidated into a single monthly payment that you’ll pay over three to five years, in most cases. Consult with your bankruptcy attorney to decide which type is right for you.

Is Your Debt Dischargeable?

If you want to wipe the slate clean with Chapter 7 bankruptcy and you pass the means test, you still have to determine if your debt is dischargeable. Some debts can be discharged, such as certain medical bills and consumer credit. However, alimony, child support, tax debts, and other similar debts are not dischargeable. That means if your debt is mostly made up of consumer credit, you’re probably going to obtain some benefit from a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. However, if most of your debt is considered not dischargeable, it won’t do you any good to file for Chapter 7, so Chapter 13 might be best.

Passing the Means Test

Virtually every form of bankruptcy has a means test associated with it. In other words, do you qualify for this form of bankruptcy? You have to pass those tests, which are just a list of requirements, in order to file for that particular chapter of bankruptcy. Ask your Florida bankruptcy attorney which means test you pass and what your options are. Sometimes, you’ll only qualify for one form of bankruptcy and that will be your answer.

Hiring a FL Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy should never be taken lightly. You need to contact an attorney to help you through the process. Your first step will be to hire a qualified Florida bankruptcy attorney to make sure you’re going through the process correctly, picking the right process in the first place, and are prepared for every stage of the bankruptcy process. During the filing process you have to fill out a succession of forms that must be completed with zero errors and filed on very particular dates and, in some cases, times. Your attorney can help you make sure you aren’t disqualified for a simple administrative error.

Never go it alone in the legal system. Only a qualified bankruptcy attorney in Florida can help you navigate the system and obtain the best possible outcome for your particular situation. Get started today and consult with a bankruptcy attorney. Doing so will help you take the first step down the road towards financial freedom and independence.


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