How to Declare Bankruptcy in Florida
Bankruptcy is a serious financial decision for anyone needing relief from creditors who are making life difficult. Berkowitz & Myer understands that financial problems happen for a many reasons, and creditors are not concerned about those reasons. The debtor needs immediate protection when the creditor demands immediate payment. That protection comes from the U.S. bankruptcy code, but it is important to understand that bankruptcy is different in each state. The state you file in can make a difference. Having an experienced bankruptcy attorney in that state is important. The attorneys at Berkowitz & Myer are experts at helping clients file bankruptcy in Florida.
PERSONAL FINANCIAL INFORMATION
The first step in any bankruptcy is making a detailed list of all personal assets, including real estate. All outstanding debts should also be listed, including debts that are in good standing. Total debt still matters in a bankruptcy case, even though the need for bankruptcy protection can come from a single factor or creditor. The itemized list should be complete, including locating tax returns for the past two years at least. This can be done with help from a bankruptcy attorney who understands the details that may impact developing a workable repayment plan.
THE FLORIDA MEANS TEST
Bankruptcy in Florida begins with completing the state financial means test. The test will provide an income evaluation and is measured against the average median income in Florida. The test can have a greater filing impact for individuals who earn above the standard state income level, as the result will determine which chapter of bankruptcy is appropriate.
This qualification is very important for individuals who have a home needing protection through the bankruptcy process. Accurate income information is a must in every case.
An acceptable repayment plan should also be reasonable in ability to complete. Repayment agreements range from three to five years and must be completed for maximum debt discharge. All Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings require a five-year repayment plan.
FLORIDA EXEMPTION PROTECTION
Florida bankruptcy laws list specific exemptions that may protect certain personal assets. The chapter of bankruptcy allowed will determine that protection, as individual filers will use either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 generally addresses unsecured debt, while Chapter 13 deals with protecting assets. This difference in chapters primarily protects real estate holdings when a repayment plan is accepted by the court, which is a central requirement in a Chapter 13 filing.
The Florida exemptions list is significant and includes some specific personal property. This is another part of the filing where an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help develop a plan for maximum protection.
Bankruptcy in Florida may be the best choice for individuals who have recently moved to the state. Residency rules require individuals to file in the state in which they have lived the biggest portion of the past 180 days. The 91-day requirement can be achieved while the plan is being considered in most cases. Florida bankruptcy laws may protect more assets than previous residence states, and the median income may also be higher in Florida. This could be an advantage for individuals who have relocated for employment reasons.
Regardless of the personal situation, anyone in Florida needing to file bankruptcy should call Berkowitz & Myer today at (727) 344-0123 or fill out the form on this page for an honest and dependable assessment for a bankruptcy repayment plan that exempts the most personal property while eliminating as much of your debt as possible.