Have Questions? We Have The Answer!
Do I need to hire an attorney to file my bankruptcy?
- United States bankruptcy law does not force you to hire a bankruptcy attorney. The Southern District of Florida provides a great deal of information for do-it-yourself debtors. With that being said, bankruptcy is a complicated and very specialized area of the law, and just because you can do something yourself, doesn’t necessarily mean that you should. When filing a chapter 7 bankruptcy, it is important to remember that once you have subjected yourself to the jurisdiction of the bankruptcy court, you may not be able to dismiss your case if you change your mind. When it comes to filing bankruptcy in South Florida, you would do well to consider hiring a qualified attorney.
Can married people file bankruptcy jointly?
- Married persons can choose to file a joint bankruptcy petition. Couples that are jointly liable on debts should consider filing a joint bankruptcy.
I am married. If my spouse files bankruptcy and I do not, will I be adversely affected?
- Typically, an individual debtor’s bankruptcy filing will not negatively impact the non‑filing spouse. On occasion, a creditor might mistakenly attribute the filing of one spouse to the other, although this is rare. In those instances, your attorney should be able to clear up the mistake with a letter to the creditor.
Will filing bankruptcy get rid of my credit card debts?
- Very often the answer is yes. But I find that as an experienced bankruptcy attorney, very often the last thing I want to do is file an actual bankruptcy. You may have other options for securing a stable financial future. That’s why it’s important to make an appointment and speak with me directly.
What is this “credit counseling course” I have to take before I file bankruptcy?
- Federal bankruptcy law requires all debtors to take a credit counseling course prior to filing, and a financial management course post-filing. Without completing these courses, your case cannot be filed and you cannot receive a discharge of your debts. This can be an intimidating process, especially for people that are not particularly tech-savvy. Please inquire in person if you will need additional assistance. Most courses take about an hour.
Who can file bankruptcy in the State of Florida?
- Florida residents can file bankruptcy in Florida. However, a debtor can only claim Florida’s exemptions if they have resided in Florida for the previous two years. Otherwise, you must use the exemptions of the state where you lived previously or the federal bankruptcy exemptions. If you have only recently moved to Florida, it is important to advise your bankruptcy attorney of that fact, as it will have an effect on the bankruptcy filing.
I want to get rid of my debt, but I feel like it’s morally wrong not to pay what I owe. What should I do?
- The majority of people that file bankruptcy are hard-working, honest people. Unexpected medical bills, losing your job, or just making simple mistakes in a complicated financial world are just some of the reasons that the bankruptcy laws exist to provide a fresh start. Stop being so hard on yourself. The bankruptcy system is designed to give a fair shake not just to the debtor, but also to the creditors. If a debtor has an asset that can be used to repay some of his or her debts, there are laws that require that to happen.Very often, debts are primarily interest, penalties or fees. Your family and your community benefit greatly by restoring income that would otherwise be effectively lost to them when paid to some collections agency halfway across the United States.
Should I use my IRA and/or 401k Plan to pay my creditors?
- I see this all the time! IRA and 401K plans, along with any other tax qualified plans, are usually exempt assets. Which means that you may be able to file bankruptcy and still keep retirement savings. You worked hard to earn that money to keep yourself secure and perhaps, to one day pass on to your heirs. Please: do not use your retirement plans to pay unsecured creditors prior to meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.