Is Bankruptcy Right for You?

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After months of talking to bankruptcy attorneys and looking for one that was honest and trustworthy, I was fortunate enough to find Sun Coast Law. They were completely honest from day one, and was so thorough in walking me through the process. The staff is incredibly easy to work with, and they are so detailed to make sure you have everything complete, correct, and ready to go. I can honestly say that what seemed to be the hardest choice of my life turned out to be the easiest, worry free process. I truly am grateful to have had such a great team working for me.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Florida


If you experience a sudden loss of regular income, you can expect the days ahead to be tough. Changes in finances can be the result of recent unemployment, disability, or divorce. 
No matter the reason, we know the struggle of barely getting by is real.
At Sun Coast Law, we know that by the time you recover your monthly income, you are often in a mountain of debt. Late payment fees and high-interest rates make it challenging to bring accounts up-to-date. 
If you can no longer meet basic needs or stay current on monthly payments, contact our law firm.
Our lawyers will help you get back in good standing with creditors and to experience debt relief. 
Before filing for bankruptcy, set up a free consultation to talk with one of our lawyers.
Our firm will share the ins-and-outs of building a bankruptcy case. We can help you get back to having financial independence.
The experienced attorneys at Sun Coast Law are experts in all facets of bankruptcy law. 
Our team can help you explore every option to put you on the road to financial freedom. This includes reviewing U.S. bankruptcy codes, chapter 7, and chapter 13. 
We have helped many clients better understand their credit reports and bankruptcy options. Together, we help restore finances and build credit scores. 
Our lawyers will be there for you during every step of your bankruptcy proceedings. 
We are eager to bring financial balance back into your life too.
Sun Coast Law offers the best bankruptcy advice and representation. We are here to help you get through this difficult time. 
Our attorneys will guide you on how to make month-to-month and year plan payments. We will determine if chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for you and your financial situation. 

Is Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy the Best Choice For You?


If you are in deep financial trouble or it is on the horizon, the chapter 13 plan might be the best bankruptcy option. 
To find out if you are eligible, you must take a "means test" and meet all its requirements.
The "means test" determines if your income is below the median income of your state. If it is above the median of Florida's income, it may disqualify you from filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Instead, you must take a different route and file for chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Some borrowers may choose to skip chapter 7, as it can cause you to give up assets. By choosing chapter 13, you can keep them instead.
For instance, you can use the court-ordered loan modification program. It lets you keep your loan with your mortgage lender. 
Chapter 13 also allows you the opportunity to keep your mortgage payments current. 
Many people avoid foreclosure with the help of our bankruptcy lawyers and the court. 
Additionally, chapter 13 lets you address tax debt, giving you more time to repay the IRS. 

Why File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?


Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not for everyone, but there are several reasons it might be right for you. 
The U.S. bankruptcy code, chapter 13, is also a wage earner's plan. It enables individuals with a regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. 
If you file for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can pay debts over time, which usually takes three to five years.

How Chapter 13 Works


Under chapter 13, a petitioner will submit a reorganization plan. This will safeguard your assets against repossession or foreclosure.
Filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy is much different from a chapter 13 case. Under chapter 7, you can liquidate all assets except those protected.
 
Child support and alimony payments are among the debts that are non-dischargeable in bankruptcy. Student loans and unpaid taxes are on this list too.
To qualify for chapter 13 bankruptcy filing, you must have only $394,725 or less in unsecured debt. This includes items like credit card bills and personal loans. 
You also can only have $1,184,200 or less in secured debts. This includes mortgages and car loans. 
These figures adjust periodically to reflect changes in the consumer price index.
Chapter 13 provides an "automatic stop" for all the collection efforts. The court will order secured and unsecured creditors to stop collection calls.
Creditors can no longer foreclose on your home or request payment of any other debts. 
Chapter 13 suspends all debts owed. This includes car payments, real estate, and non-exempt property. 
Creditors cannot touch utilities or place garnishments on your wages during this time.
An automatic stay gives the court time to consider the plan, but it does not drop the debt. The goal of the "stay" is to free enough of your income to make regular mortgage payments and keep your house.

The Chapter 13 Process


First, contact us for a bankruptcy attorney. We will provide you with a free evaluation and estimate to file. The costs of filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy petition are:

  • $310 filing fee
  • Variable bankruptcy attorney fees 

Applicants must pay the filing fee to the bankruptcy court.  They also need to provide the court with:
  • A list of creditors and their claims
  • Disclosure of the amount and sources of the debtor’s income
  • A list of the debtor’s property, as well as an accounting of all contracts and leases in the debtor’s name
  • A breakdown of the debtor’s monthly living expenses
  • Tax information. This includes a copy of the debtor’s most recent federal tax return and a statement of any unpaid taxes.

To receive chapter 13 bankruptcy protection, you must undergo credit counseling.
Shortly after filing, you must present a repayment plan. It requires the approval of a bankruptcy judge. They will hold a hearing to determine whether the program meets the bankruptcy code. 
Creditors may raise objections to the plan, but the court has the final say.
Debtors can make up negligent payments over time. Under chapter 13 rules, they cannot miss any new mortgage payments from the time of filing.
The debtor must also work with a trustee who distributes payments to creditors. You do not have any direct contact with his or her creditors under Chapter 13. 
You must stick to the basics of your settlement, which permits no late repayments. You can choose to speed up your payments, allowing you to seek an early discharge from the agreement. 
If your financial situation worsens, it is up to you to inform the bankruptcy trustee. The dismissal of your case can happen if you do not follow the terms of your case.

Meeting Chapter 13 Qualifications


If you are a sole proprietor or business, you cannot file for chapter 13. It also forbids stockbrokers and others from filing, even if their debts are personal.
Individuals who can show they have the means to pay down debts are eligible to file. They must disclose their sources of income. 
The submission of this information to the court must happen within 14 days of filing a petition.  Income can come from several sources. This includes:

  • Pension income
  • Social security payments
  • Unemployment compensation
  • Royalties
  • Proceeds from a property sale.

You also need to be current in your tax filings. It requires you to submit proof you have filed state and federal tax returns for the past four years. If you cannot do this, it can delay your case until you can. If you cannot produce this information, it will dismiss your case.
The bankruptcy court will review debt and income statements, meet with creditors, and schedule a hearing. This is how they will decide whether the plan is acceptable. Once you complete the repayment plan, it will discharge the Chapter 13 case. This typically takes three to five years.

Discover the Benefits of the Chapter 13 Repayment Plan


Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are consolidating debt so that you can easily manage payments to creditors. 
Some provisions included in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy are:

  • A plan to repay a percentage of unsecured debt like medical bills and credit card debt.
  • Judgments against you within a specified amount of time.

Once you meet your repayment terms, some unsecured debt may be discharged. Our attorneys will work with you to determine how much money you can afford to pay creditors. 
We may determine if you can make one combined payment to the bankruptcy trustee. They will distribute monies accordingly to each of your creditors.

Benefits of Chapter 13

  1. It is a plan that may require you to only repay a portion of your unsecured debts.
  2. You may settle debts like medical bills, credit cards, and judgments for pennies on the dollar.
  3. Unsecured debts are discharged once you have met the repayment terms.
  4. Our lawyers will work with you to determine how much you can pay creditors.
  5. The trustee will approve the combined payment amount and then dispense it each month.

It is time to stop avoiding the inevitable and face the condition of your finances. You do not need to worry any longer, as you will not have to go through the bankruptcy process alone. 
Our team of lawyers at Sun Coast Law will provide you with all the information you need. Contact us today.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney


Declaring bankruptcy is a major decision. You don’t have to make it alone. Protect yourself and your assets by talking to our experienced chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers today.
To speak with an Orlando Bankruptcy Attorney or help with Foreclosure Defense, please call (800) 535-3215
We offer affordable, flat fees and are ready to help you regain control of your finances once and for all.

FAQ's

Q:
What happens when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
A:
This is really best for those that are experiencing a temporary gap in income, perhaps due to job loss, a divorce, an injury or illness and is having trouble making ends meet. A Chapter 13 is also beneficial for those that simply have accumulated more debt than they can reasonably pay back, yet they still make too much to qualify for a Chapter 7.

Q:
What is the difference between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7?
A:
In a Chapter 7, all of your debts are discharged and you do not have to pay any of them back. In a Chapter 13, you have to pay back some of your debts and the remainder is discharged. A Chapter 13 is not as generous in that respect.

Q:
Can the IRS take my tax refund if I filed Chapter 13?
A:
No, but the Chapter 13 Trustee assigned to my case can take any tax refund.

Q:
What is the average monthly payment for Chapter 13?
A:
There is no average payment. Monthly payments are based entirely your household income minus “allowable” living expenses. These variables are always different for each person that files.

Q:
Does Chapter 13 ruin your credit?
A:
It does negatively effect your credit while you are in the Chapter 13. However, after the bankruptcy is over you can have good credit again within 6 months assuming you use our credit restoration program.

Q:
What is the income limit for Chapter 13?
A:
There is no income limit for a Chapter 13.

Q:
Can you keep your car if you file Chapter 13?
A:
In most instances, yes. Chapter 13 is not a liquidation like a Chapter 7, so by and large you will get to keep your assets. However, there are more technical factors that need to be considered and cannot be described in detail here.

Q:
How long does it take to rebuild credit after Chapter 13?
A:
Your credit score will just naturally go higher as time goes on after the bankruptcy is over, but that may take 18-24 months. There are things that can be affirmatively done by you to boost your score back to “good” again within 6 months. We offer a credit restoration program that does this.

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