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What to Consider When Filing for Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is the legal procedure for dealing with individual or business debt problems in which financial obligations become discharged or restructured. This procedure is covered under Title 11 of the United States Code (the Bankruptcy Code). Bankruptcy can protect you from creditors and debt collectors, and can stop paycheck garnishment and mortgage foreclosure as well. Bankruptcy may be a valid strategy to achieving debt relief, after considering all options. When Bankruptcy is the best solution, Attorney Mark Schleben is very well equipped to help you achieve your goals.

bankruptcy lawyer in largo floridaChapter 7 Bankruptcy, also called “straight bankruptcy”, is when the debtor receives a discharge of all dischargeable debts usually within four months. In the vast majority of cases the debtor has no assets that he would lose so Chapter 7 will give that person a relatively quick “fresh start” without paying back the debt.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, also called “reorganization”, is filed by individuals who have the ability to pay some or all debts. Generally, a significantly reduced amount of the debt must be paid over time. This type of bankruptcy appeals to individuals who have non-exempt property they want to keep. It’s also an option for individuals who have sufficient income to pay living expenses with some amount left over to pay a portion of their debt

Your Bankruptcy Lawyer in Largo, Florida

filing for bankruptcy attorney mark schlebenIf you’re agonizing over debt and financial commitments, The Law Office of Mark Schleben provides bankruptcy debt relief for clients in the west-central Florida counties of Pinellas, Hillsborough, Pasco, Hernando, Citrus, and Marion counties. Handling both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, our law office will help you develop a bankruptcy plan that is best for your individual situation. Attorney Mark Schleben is experienced in every aspect of the bankruptcy process. Our law office can put you back in the driver’s seat and give you more control of your own financial future. We provide our clients with legal support throughout the entire bankruptcy process.

Frequently Asked Questions

At The Law Office of Mark Schleben, we’re happy to answer all of your questions.  Here are a few of our most frequently asked questions.  If you have any other concerns or questions, contact us and let us know!

Bankruptcy is a legal process available for those who are incapable of repaying their financial debt or obligations. When filing for bankruptcy, the person or business can be relieved of some, or even all, of their debt, while also affording protection from creditors and debt.

Bankruptcy can be a complex process, which the average person isn’t equipped to handle alone.  There are also requirements that must be met before filing for bankruptcy, like demonstrating that you’ll be able to repay your debts, as well as complete credit counselling.  The procedural aspects of the bankruptcy process are both ruled by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure and the local rules of bankruptcy courts.  Typically, the debtor’s appearance before a bankruptcy judge is very limited, and sometimes completely avoided if there are no complications or objections.

The cost of filing for bankruptcy varies, based on several factors, such as what type of bankruptcy you file for, and how complicated your case is.  Filing costs for Chapter 7 are slightly higher than Chapter 13.  Besides filing fees, there will be additional fees, like credit counselling fees and possibly a debt education course.

Although the bulk of the bankruptcy cost will be legal service fees, they’re usually worth it. Bankruptcy laws are complicated, and both income and property can be unnecessarily lost.  Although bankruptcy attorneys tend to significantly heighten the cost of filing for bankruptcy with their fees, the goal should be to find an attorney who is both affordable for those struggling with debt, while also allowing them to have confidence in their financial future.

The two common bankruptcy procedures, Chapter 7 and 13, will affect your credit score in different ways, including how long they show up on a credit report.  Chapter 7 bankruptcy typically falls off your credit history after 10 years, while Chapter 10 typically falls off after 7 years.

Although through a Chapter 7 bankruptcy many possessions cannot be lost, it can have significant consequences, like loss of property.  A federal court trustee will supervise the sale of any assets that aren’t exempt, and the sale money goes to your creditors.  Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to keep your property, but you’ll need to partially or completely repay your debt.  A three- to five-year repayment plan will usually need to be negotiated.  Because much of the debt is repaid over time, Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often a more favorable option.

There are unfortunately certain debts that cannot be discharged when filing for bankruptcy, such as:

  1. Child support
  2. Alimony
  3. Most unpaid taxes and student loans
  4. Tax liens or fines that are owed to the government
  5. Court fines and penalties
  6. Reaffirmed debt

If you have any of these debts before you file for bankruptcy, they’ll usually still need be paid.

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