The stress that comes with overwhelming debt can be too much for many families to face. Over time, this debt can fray personal relationships and result in a spiral into deeper financial problems.
If you are facing financial strain, you are not alone. According to data provided by the United States Courts, more than 750,000 individuals filed for bankruptcy protection in 2019 alone. Those that ultimately obtained a discharge could receive a fresh financial start.
Many Kissimmee residents seek the protection of the bankruptcy code each year, and a Kissimmee bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help. If you are ready to learn about your options, call (407) 870-1919 to speak with a team member from Bogin, Munns & Munns right away.
The Differences Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13
There are many ways to approach bankruptcy. Some forms of bankruptcy are reserved for those that work in the agricultural industry while others are primarily for corporate entities. Two types of bankruptcies that are commonly used by individuals are known as Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.
Chapter 7 is frequently referred to as liquidation bankruptcy. In this type of bankruptcy, a bankruptcy trustee will liquidate some of the debtor’s assets. After liquidating these assets, the proceeds are shared among the creditors and then the debt may be discharged. The good news about Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that many assets are exempt. Things like your home, vehicles under a certain dollar amount, and family heirlooms will likely not be sold under Florida law. It is not unusual for Chapter 7 debtors to have no assets to liquidate at all.
Chapter 7 cases are often short. In many cases, there are only a matter of months between filing the petition and receiving the discharge. One primary drawback of Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the need for “means testing.” To qualify, a filer must have relatively few assets. Anyone that does not qualify under the means test may be able to pursue bankruptcy under Chapter 13.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as reorganization bankruptcy. This process can take from three to five years to complete. During a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor will file a plan that requires them to make monthly payments to the trustee. The trustee will then forward these payments to the appropriate creditor. At discharge, the goal is for the debtor to be free of many of their debts and to be caught up on expenses like their car payment and mortgage.
Determining the right type of bankruptcy filing is the first important decision to make. A Kissimmee bankruptcy lawyer can help you think through your options. To discuss how to move forward, contact Bogin, Munns & Munns (407) 870-1919 right away.
To consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer serving Kissimmee, call 855-686-6752
Spouses and Bankruptcy
If you are considering bankruptcy, your spouse is under no obligation to file as well. There is nothing in the bankruptcy code that will prevent you from going through the process while your spouse does not. This is a viable option in cases where much of your debt is solely in your name or occurred prior to the marriage.
There are cases when it is best for both spouses to go through bankruptcy jointly, however. If your spouse is also party to much of your debt, your creditors can still pursue him or her after you receive your discharge. Without both of you obtaining a discharge, you could have little to gain from filing for bankruptcy.
Kissimmee Bankruptcy Lawyer Near Me 855-686-6752
The Meeting of Creditors
Most people filing for bankruptcy will not have to appear in court on their own behalf. This is especially true for those that hire an attorney. However, you can expect to appear at something known as the meeting of creditors. The meeting of creditors—also known as the 341 hearing—is an informal meeting that takes place early on in the bankruptcy process.
This meeting is not a court appearance. The judge is not present, and it is not as formal as most bankruptcy court proceedings. Despite the name, the chances are good that your creditors will not appear. They have the right to be there and ask questions related to your debt, but many creditors do not find it worthwhile to appear.
Instead, the meeting is set and attended by the bankruptcy trustee. The trustee will attend these meetings and will typically have questions about your petition. These questions could assist them in identifying assets or understanding your debts. In some cases, trustees can pursue questions if they expect fraud. Most of the time, the meeting of creditors is informal. You are also entitled to have legal counsel present during this meeting.
Understanding Priority Debts
For many people, a bankruptcy discharge can change their lives for the better. Often, the discharge will wipe away that individual’s debt entirely. However, there are certain debts that cannot be discharged through the bankruptcy process. These are known as priority debts.
It is important to understand which of your debts will be treated as priority by bankruptcy law. After all, they will continue to follow you even if you obtain a discharge. The most common examples of priority debts include tax debts, child support, and alimony.
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A Bankruptcy Lawyer May Be Able to Help
If you have never filed for bankruptcy protection before, you likely have a lot of questions. It is reasonable to wonder what will become of your property and what your life might look like after discharge.
A Kissimmee bankruptcy lawyer from Bogin, Munns & Munns can help you consider your next steps. Our team understands the importance of a fresh financial start, and we look forward to helping you work toward your new life. Let Bogin, Munns & Munns help pursue your bankruptcy case. To get started, contact a team member today at (407) 870-1919.