Answering Your Bankruptcy Questions
For those looking to file for bankruptcy, a lot is on the line and this may be the last hope, so it is crucial that it works. At the Tampa-based Law Offices of Buddy D. Ford, P.A., our lawyer can offer a wealth of knowledge in this area of the law, as well as review your financial situation and guide you through the process from beginning to end. The following are questions that you may have regarding bankruptcy. If you have further questions, call us at 813-302-1258 to schedule an appointment with a qualified attorney.
How can filing for bankruptcy help?
Countless individuals, families and businesses are feeling the effects of financial uncertainty. Many are unable to keep up with their bills and are only continuing to fall more and more behind. Bankruptcy is the final option for many and while it can feel like an extreme solution, it is often the best way of getting a new financial start. It can wipe out certain debts and can also make it possible to keep up with payments by reorganizing debt. For those running a business, it can help them get back on track or find a way to close their business without all of their debts following them.
Will I lose everything?
A lot of people worry about filing for bankruptcy because they have heard that they will lose everything they own. This is not always true, and determining which assets are liquidated is done on a case-by-case basis. For those filing under Chapter 13, you will likely keep most or all of what you own. For those filing under Chapter 7, you may get to keep many of your belongings. The Bankruptcy Code includes a list of exemptions on the federal level. Florida provides for additional exemptions as well. Your case should be reviewed by a professional who can better determine what you are likely to experience after filing.
Can bankruptcy stop foreclosure?
Yes. This is a great option for those who fear they may be losing their property. After filing for bankruptcy, the court orders an automatic stay, which prevents creditors from contacting you and puts the process of foreclosure on hold. However, creditors will eventually be able to move forward with the foreclosure, although the automatic stay can provide you with the time you need to catch up on payments or to renegotiate the terms of your mortgage. There are also other options, including a short sale for those looking to be freed from the debt of a mortgage.
What is the difference between Chapter 7, Chapter 11 and Chapter 13?
Chapter 7 is the more traditional and well-known form. Through this type, it is more likely that assets will be liquidated and used toward debts. It provides more of a fresh start for those in serious debt. Because it is a more extreme form, the government prefers that it be used for those in significant debt who have little way of getting out of it on their own. Chapter 11 can be filed by anyone, but is more often used by larger businesses that are looking to reorganize. Chapter 13 can also be filed for by anyone and reorganizes debt, as opposed to liquidating assets. This is for individuals with a source of income. Their debts are combined and they make monthly payments toward them.
How does bankruptcy affect my credit score?
Bankruptcy will negatively impact your credit score. This is one of the disadvantages to filing. The bigger picture should be looked at, though. For those with serious debt, their credit score can be affected anyway and maybe for a longer period of time. Through bankruptcy, you can get back on your feet. We work with clients to help them prepare for life after bankruptcy and learn how to not fall back into debt.
Can anyone file for bankruptcy?
Yes. Anyone is able to file for bankruptcy, though they may not be eligible for all forms. Chapter 7 has income restrictions. In general, to qualify for Chapter 7 a person must make less than the average income in a geographic area. If a person does not qualify for Chapter 7, other forms of debt relief may still be available.
Contact Us With Your Questions
We are a debt relief agency. We help businesses and individuals file for debt relief under the Bankruptcy Code.