Bankruptcy Law Fort Lauderdale, FL
If you are struggling to stay afloat in a sea of escalating debt, you may feel as though you are isolated and alone in your quest for financial liberation. Debt can have a negative impact in both our daily routines and future financial endeavors, whether the liabilities are related to credit card use, back taxes or mortgage payments. What may begin as a few late payments can quickly escalate into a collections issue, and before long, you may find yourself completely submerged in what you owe.
Being in debt is hard enough when you have a job, but what about the millions of people in South Florida who have been laid off, experienced a pay cut or have had their schedules drastically reduced? Many people can’t even imagine what life would be like without the endless creditor letters, harassing collection agency calls and threats of repossession and foreclosure. Though it may feel as though you have nowhere to turn to for assistance, there is a way for debtors in Fort Lauderdale to obtain the relief they deserve – bankruptcy.
Bankruptcy is a federal process by which a debtor declares they are unable to pay off what they owe to lenders. In doing so, the debtor may become eligible to reduce or even wipe out their financial obligations entirely. In Florida, there are a number of bankruptcy petitions that can be filed by both individuals and businesses who are looking to lower their debts, but it’s important for potential applicants to understand that the process of applying for bankruptcy protection – and actually getting approved – is not as easy as merely filling out a form. There are several restrictions and qualification standards that influence an applicant’s eligibility, including income, occupation, length of time in debt, and asset holdings, which can be both misleading and confusing. There are also dozens of forms that must be completed, documentation to prove you are in debt by as much as you claim and unable to make timely payments to debt collectors or the IRS, and above all else, you must successfully pass the “Means Test,” which compares your income to the average within your earning block.
Though bankruptcy can be the powerful catalyst you have been waiting for to attain that fresh, debt-free start, if you don’t know the full extent of your rights, you may end up owing more money than you did to begin with. Having an experienced bankruptcy lawyer on your side can mean the difference between attaining a swift and successful resolution for your case and becoming submerged even further into debt. Since 1986, Steve Glerum has dedicated his life to helping individuals overcome their financial barriers and will put his expertise to work for you.
On the very first consultation, Glerum Law will provide you with all the information on the state’s unique bankruptcy laws you need to thoroughly understand the process and your legal rights, insight into what you can realistically expect during proceedings if you are approved, and what your future debt-free life can bring.
Let’s explore Florida’s Bankruptcy Laws further.
Getting Started with Your Bankruptcy Petition
Before you can file a petition for bankruptcy protection in Florida, you must undergo credit counseling. The 2005 Bankruptcy Act stipulates that all debtors filing for bankruptcy on or after October 17, 2005 must undergo credit counseling six months prior to filing. Once that’s taken care of, then it’s time to take the Means Test to determine if you are eligible for bankruptcy protection. If your average income for the six months prior to filing for bankruptcy is lower than the Florida average for a household of the same size, then you qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection and you can be on the road to financial recovery.
Florida’s Bankruptcy Exemptions
Once your case is underway, there are certain assets that must be liquidated in order for your debts to be discharged. However, Florida Bankruptcy Law allows for several exemptions and will protect many of your belongings and accounts from creditor seizure. Below is a list of some of the many exemptions you can expect, but with bankruptcy lawyer Steve Glerum’s help, you may be able to add additional exemptions.
- Personal Property – $1,000 – $4,000
- Motor vehicle – $1,000
- Child Support
- Worker’s compensation
- 401(k) plan
- 403(b) plan
- Social Security benefits
- Stock retirement benefits
- Unemployment benefits
- Disability benefits
- Personal injury damages
- Health aids
- Health savings account
- Hurricane savings account
- Public assistance
- Pre-paid college fund
- Veteran’s benefits
If you would like to learn more about your rights under the Florida Bankruptcy Law, contact Glerum Law today to schedule a free consultation.