For many people, years of overwhelming debt can eventually bring them to a breaking point. The constant threat of eviction, repossession, or civil lawsuits can wear on anyone. Federal bankruptcy law provides these individuals with an opportunity for a fresh financial start.
Thousands of individuals from Orange City and across the country take advantage of bankruptcy protection each year. According to the United States Courts, more than 750,000 individuals filed for bankruptcy in 2019 alone.
If you have questions about the potential benefits of bankruptcy, the team at Bogin, Munns & Munns is ready with answers. An Orange City bankruptcy lawyer can review your financial situation and advise you of your options. To get started, call (386) 860-5200 to speak with a team member today.
Types of Bankruptcy Cases
There are multiple types of bankruptcies. Some, like filing under the protection of Chapter 11, are primarily reserved for corporate entities. For individual filings, two of the most commonly used types include Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often a good option for individuals with few assets or less complicated finances. At the completion of this type of bankruptcy, a debtor could see most of their debts discharged. Compared to Chapter 13, this option is the shorter option given it could complete in a matter of months.
In a Chapter 7 filing, a bankruptcy trustee makes recommendations and liquidates the debtor’s assets. There are certain debts that cannot be discharged through this process, however, including things like tax debt or child support.
Not all assets will be sold. In fact, some people qualify as “no asset” debtors where a trustee does not liquidate any of their belongings. This is due to certain exemptions protecting specific pieces of property. There are exemptions for retirement funds, college savings accounts, automobiles, and residential homes, among other things.
There are strict limits on whether or not a person qualifies for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These qualifications are done through a “means test.” If a person has too much in the way of assets, Chapter 7 will not be an option. An Orange City bankruptcy lawyer can help advise you on whether you qualify. Contact a team member from Bogin, Munns & Munns today to learn more by calling (386) 860-5200.
Where Chapter 7 typically takes a manner of months, Chapter 13 can last up to five years. During that time, a debtor must make and follow a plan to catch up on their debts and make monthly payments to the bankruptcy trustee. Only at the end of this plan will a debtor qualify for a discharge. For that reason, many people that qualify for Chapter 7 may choose to pursue that route instead.
Upon filing for bankruptcy protection, a debtor must also file their plan. This plan must identify how much the debtor will pay to the trustee each month, how long they will make those payments, and how they will make them.
The U.S. Trustee plays an important role in Chapter 13 bankruptcies. Debtors issue their monthly plan payments to the trustee, who then disburses it to the creditors. The trustee has the power to object to the plan if it does not comply with bankruptcy laws.
To consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer serving Orange City, call 855-686-6752
The Importance of the Automatic Stay
One of the most powerful aspects of any bankruptcy case is the automatic stay. The automatic stay prevents creditors from attempting to collect on the debtor. The stay goes into effect automatically as soon as a person files their petition. Once the creditors receive notice of the filing, they must cease collection efforts entirely.
Ceasing collecting efforts can take many forms. Until the stay is lifted, creditors may not file suit against the debtor. An automatic stay can prevent a debtor from being disconnected from a utility service, stop the process of a home foreclosure, and put a stop on wage garnishment, among other protections.
Orange City Bankruptcy Lawyer Near Me 855-686-6752
Appearing in Bankruptcy Court
Many prospective bankruptcy filers are understandably concerned about the possibility of a mandatory court appearance. Most people who have never been called to testify in court are understandably nervous about the prospect of testifying in public about their financial problems. While it is always possible that a debtor may have to testify in court, most do not. One of the benefits of hiring an attorney is that they will be able to represent you at most hearings.
There is one appearance that virtually every debtor must attend. This is referred to as the meeting of creditors. Also known as a 341 hearing, the meeting of creditors is not a formal court hearing. Despite the name, most creditors will not attend. Instead, the meeting of creditors is typically a meeting with the bankruptcy trustee.
Trustees may have follow-up questions about bankruptcy paperwork. This meeting provides the trustee the chance to ask these questions. This meeting is mandatory, and skipping it could result in the dismissal of the case.
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Learn How Bogin, Munns & Munns Could Help
If you are facing financial uncertainty, it is important to remember that you have options. With the help of bankruptcy protections, you could receive a new start on life free of crushing debt.
An Orange City bankruptcy lawyer may be able to help you move forward. To get started, call a team member from Bogin, Munns & Munns today at (386) 860-5200. We have thirteen locations in Central Florida and North Florida to serve you.