Filing for Bankruptcy in Miami

Counsel from an Experienced Bankruptcy Lawyer

Federal law regulates bankruptcy, which means most states follow the same process. However, Florida law still comes into play, particularly when dealing with property exemptions and how much you have to repay creditors. If you are currently deciding whether or not you should file for bankruptcy, you need to reach out to an experienced Miami bankruptcy lawyer. The attorneys at Orshan, P.A. have handled all types of bankruptcy cases and have extensive knowledge in all facets of related laws.

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What to Expect in the Filing Process

Bankruptcy PetitionBankruptcy can be a confusing and exhausting time. By understanding what to expect before and during the filing process, you can be better prepared to get through this time. Read the sections below to find more insight on the bankruptcy process in Florida.

Mandatory Credit Counseling

When you want to file for bankruptcy, Florida law requires that you attend and complete a credit counseling course with a pre-approved agency. This counseling is enforced for both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings. Prior to filing, you must complete the credit counseling course and a personal financial management course.

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You may be asking yourself, why? The purpose of these courses is the enlighten those filing for bankruptcy about their financial options and determine whether or not you are able to pay your debts in a payment plan. However, just because the counselor of the course recommends you pursue a repayment plan, doesn’t mean you have to. Choosing to hire a Miami bankruptcy attorney to advise you on what to do instead can be incredibly beneficial.

Passing the Means Test for Chapter 7

When seeking to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you are required to compare your income to the average Floridian income with a similarly sized household. This is known as the means test. If your income is below the average, then you are eligible to file for Chapter 7. If your income exceeds it, you may still qualify if you have limited disposable income each month.

The median for cases filed after November 1, 2016 in Florida are:

  • $44,021 for single households
  • $54,655 for two-people households
  • $59,881 for three-people households
  • $71,480 for four-people households
  • Add $8,400 for each household member that exceeds four

*These numbers are subject to change. Speak with our Miami bankruptcy attorney for a more accurate idea on where you fall on the means test.

You are exempt from taking the means test if your debts are not primarily consumer debts or if you are a disabled veteran that incurred debt during active duty. Contact Orshan, P.A. to learn more about exemptions and whether or not you qualify.

Planning Out Your Debt Repayment in Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is available to all consumers, regardless of the amount of debt held. However, a three-year repayment plan is involved, so it is better suited for individuals that have enough resources or monthly income to pay off these restructured debts.

The amount paid through your payment plan is determined by:

  • Where you live
  • Whether your property is nonexempt or not
  • Your expenses and income
  • The type of debts you need to pay

In this type of bankruptcy, you often get to keep a majority of your property, including your home. That is one reason many people may want to turn to Chapter 13 bankruptcy as a solution. Only a skilled and experienced bankruptcy attorney in Miami can inform you on whether or not this option will be most beneficial to your situation.

Florida Property Exemption Laws

Foreclosure SignOne of the most important aspects of bankruptcy is determining which assets are exempt and which will need to be used to pay off creditors. Florida also has its own unique property exemptions laws, and fortunately it is among the most generous states.

Properties that are exempt under Florida law include:

  • Personal property under $1,000, including furniture, art, electronics, etc.
  • Prescribed health aids
  • Prepaid health savings accounts and medical savings accounts
  • Health savings, hurricane savings, and education savings

As a homeowner, you may exempt all of your equity unless it is over half an acre in an urban area, or 160 acres elsewhere in the state. We can provide additional insight on other exemptions you may qualify for.

Attending Required Debt Courses

After you have filed, you are required to attend a mandatory debtor education course before you are handed your discharge. Just as with the beginning credit counseling, you must make sure to enroll in a state-approved course to be given credit.

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Need legal help? Our seasoned bankruptcy firm is here!

Filing for bankruptcy is hard, but the good news is that you do not have to go through it alone. Our skilled Miami bankruptcy lawyers can help you navigate the confusing and overwhelming process.

If you are currently wondering if you should file for bankruptcy, be sure to call our office today! A paralegal will meet with you for a free case evaluation. Following that, our skilled legal team can help you decide if moving forward with bankruptcy is the best option for your case.

Need trusted advice on your financial situation? Call Orshan, P.A.

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