What Are the Requirements for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

If you are considering filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy in St. Petersburg, it is important to know if your situation meets the requirements for filing. Chapter 13 establishes a three-to-five-year plan in which the debtor pays back their debt in monthly installments. Many people choose chapter 13 over 7 if they want to prevent foreclosure, stop debt collection, make up missed payments, and more. If the debtor makes their scheduled payments, at the end of their term, their applicable debt will be discharged.

Regular Income

To qualify for chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor must have a regular source of income as well as disposable income they can apply towards their debt repayment plan. A debtor usually completes a means test to determine how much will be repaid. Everything paid to creditors during chapter 13 has to at least equal the amount the creditor would have received through chapter 7.

Secured Assets

Many debtors in St. Petersburg who choose chapter 13 do so because they have secured assets such as a car or a home they wish to keep. If they have more equity based on their secured assets than they would be able to protect with Florida’s exemptions, then chapter 13 is often a better choice as well.

Making Up Payments Over Time

Chapter 7 liquidates assets to pay back debts when a debtor doesn’t have the money or will not likely have it in the future. Chapter 13 bankruptcy, on the other hand, reorganizes the debt and creates a repayment plan because the debtor can repay the debts, they just need more time. Therefore, those with valuable nonexempt property are more likely to avoid chapter 7 and opt for 13.

Repayment Plan

When filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy, debtors in St. Petersburg must propose a repayment plan schedule that demonstrates how they will repay their debts. This plan will demonstrate how much money will go towards their monthly debt repayment amount after considering other monthly expenses. The plan will also explain how the repayments will be divided up amongst the creditors. For the most part, priority claims are paid in full while unsecured claims are paid in part.

Contact Berkowitz & Myer for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Assistance

If you are considering filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy in the St. Petersburg area, contact the law firm of Berkowitz & Myer. Our attorneys have the education and experience to help debtors through this complicated process. To schedule a consultation with a professional, call us today at (727) 344-0123 or contact us online.

How Much Does Filing for Bankruptcy in St. Petersburg Cost?

Debtors who are considering filing for bankruptcy in St. Petersburg area already facing financial concerns, and may be worried about how much the process will cost. There are various application and administrative fees necessary if you want to pursue chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. These expenses may include credit counseling, debt management education, professional assistance, filing fees, and procedural expenses.

Mandatory Pre-Filing Credit Counseling

Before filing for bankruptcy in St. Petersburg, you have to attend mandatory pre-filing credit counseling. After completing your session, which usually lasts about 90 minutes and often can be done online or via phone, you will receive a certificate. If you file with a spouse, you must both obtain a separate certificate, but you can attend the same session. The fees for credit counseling sessions average about $50 to $75, but this can vary. It is possible to get a fee waiver or reduction before attending. The credit counselor must be court-approved, so check with the court before enrolling.

Preparation and Application Assembly Costs

When filing for bankruptcy in St. Petersburg, you will have to fill out many forms that provide details regarding your income, debts, assets, expenses, collateral, and more. Printing and completing this paperwork, which can amount to around 50 pages of forms, can cost about $30 if you do it yourself. However, because bankruptcy rules are so rigid, any mistakes can set you back, so many people choose to hire an attorney for assistance. This will increase your expenses, but it is worth it for the peace of mind and professional help.

Filing for Bankruptcy with the Bankruptcy Court

The fees for chapter 7 and chapter 13 differ. Chapter 7 fees include a $245 filing fee, a $46 admin charge, and a $15 trustee surcharge, equaling $306. Chapter 13 fees include a $235 filing fee and a $46 admin charge, adding up to $281.

Compulsory Debt Management Education

After filing for bankruptcy in St. Petersburg, before you can receive the discharge paper that declares you free of your debts, you have to complete a debt management course. The purpose of this course is to help debtors learn how to manage their finances and to hopefully help them avoid ending up in bankruptcy court again in the future. Check to see if you qualify for fee waivers or reductions, which can eliminate this additional cost.

Contact Berkowitz & Myer When Filing for Bankruptcy in St. Petersburg

Filing for bankruptcy in St. Petersburg can cost thousands of dollars with added fees and expenses. To make sure that you are organized, on time, and prepared, trust an attorney at Berkowitz & Myer for assistance. Call us today at (727) 344-0123 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation.

How Bankruptcy Attorneys Can Help When You’re in Debt

Improving your financial situation sometimes means declaring yourself bankrupt. Bankruptcy attorneys afford clients better protection and informed guidance when it comes to filing. If you live in the St. Petersburg area, you can get the support and information you need with the help of Berkowitz & Myer. Our law firm acts as a singular point of contact, simplifying the process and ensuring that your case is manageable for your situation. With one point of contact, it is easier for you to communicate and voice your needs during this difficult time.

Berkowitz & Myer also provide clients with additional options and support while a client declares themselves bankrupt. Proper planning beforehand helps to avoid issues like agreeing to a payment plan you cannot fulfill. Business owners and individuals filing under chapter 13 or 7 can simplify the process by relying on experienced legal professionals for assistance. The right lawyer is essential to ensuring your case does not draw out for months without approval.

Which Bankruptcy Chapter Filing is Best for you?

A significant advantage of bankruptcy attorneys is that they can explain the differences between chapter 7 and chapter 13. Depending on your situation, there can be advantages and disadvantages for each chapter. Though some advice recommends filing when your debt surpasses your income, there are easier resolutions for smaller deficits. When the situation becomes too much to catch up to or mediate with collectors, you should you consider liquidation or other options. St. Petersburg residents can file promptly, therefore ridding themselves of aggressive collectors and harassment.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

If you are seeking a quicker resolution, then chapter 7 may be more advantageous. The process is typically more rapid and can completely resolve within months. You will not need to create a long-term repayment plan. This allows you to avoid additional steps like going to court to approve your plan. Bankruptcy attorneys in St. Petersburg can also help clients understand requirements to proceed with their case.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The second option is to undergo chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you require more time to repay debts, then chapter 13 is often preferable. It halts the ability of creditors to engage in collection tactics or legal action against you. St. Petersburg residents can then construct a repayment plan that better suits their financial limitations. Berkowitz & Myer also provide clients with creditor harassment services to protect their rights as consumers.

Talk to the Bankruptcy Attorneys at Berkowitz & Myer Today

With professional guidance from our bankruptcy attorneys, clients may be able to avoid losing their home or vehicle. A lawyer can help you decide which chapter filing is most beneficial for you. You can contact Berkowitz & Myer today online or by calling (727) 344-0123.

When to Seek Out Creditor Harassment Lawyers in St. Petersburg

Unfortunately, many people who are facing debt problems have to deal with the accompanying stresses of creditor harassment. Creditors often use collections agencies to go after debtors and collect payment. These agencies tend to use whatever methods necessary, however drastic, to get money from debtors. In the past, collectors have resorted to threats, harassment, and other tactics. Harassment is illegal, however, thanks to the FDCPA and the FCCPA (Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act), which are both national and state-wide acts that prohibit certain actions. If you have been dealing with violators of the FDCPA or the FCCPA, contact creditor harassment lawyers in St. Petersburg right away.

What to Do When You Are Being Harassed by Debt Collectors

If you are facing issues with debt collectors, call your creditor harassment lawyers in St. Petersburg, and take the following steps to protect your rights:

  • Record information about the calls you receive. Take note of the time and date of every call as well as the name of the person you speak to. You should also make notes regarding what you talked about, and any threatening, humiliating, or harassing things they say. If you can, you may also want to take a screenshot or picture of the caller ID that shows the date and time you receive the calls. This is especially important if they are calling repeatedly, or before 8:00 am or after 9:00 pm.
  • Save messages and voicemails. While you cannot record anyone without their consent, you should keep any phone messages or voicemails that collection agencies leave.
  • Hold onto notices and letters. Keep copies of all mail correspondence you receive from collection agencies, including the envelopes. Some envelopes are misleading to consumers, and this evidence can be useful for your team of creditor harassment lawyers in St. Petersburg if your case escalates.

Familiarize Yourself with the FCCPA and the FDCPA

It is wise to familiarize yourself with the Florida Consumer Collection Practices Act (FCCPA), which prohibits certain behaviors to protect the rights of consumers. The FCCPA supplements the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act), which is a country-wide act that prevents abuse in the debt collection industry. The following are violations of the FCCPA:

  • Using or threatening to use force
  • Impersonating a law enforcement officer or government agency representative
  • Harming a debtor’s reputation
  • Using profane, obscene, or harassing language
  • Speaking to the debtor’s employer without permission without a final judgment
  • Talking to the debtor’s family with a frequency considered harassing
  • Calling the debtor after 9 pm or before 8 am

Call Your St. Petersburg Creditor Harassment Lawyers at Berkowitz & Myer

The FCCPA also prohibits communication with debtors if the debtor has an attorney’s representation in relation to the debt in question. To speak with creditor harassment lawyers in St. Petersburg, call Berkowitz & Myer. Our team will ensure that you know your rights.

To schedule a consultation, call us today at (727) 344-0123 or contact us online.

Injury Attorneys Report: St. Petersburg Area is Most Dangerous for Cyclists

According to a recent report from the Wall Street Journal, Tampa Bay is one of the most dangerous places for riding a bicycle. In fact, Pinellas County, home to St. Petersburg, was reported as the deadliest of all. With 108 cyclist fatalities in Florida in 2017, that number is only expected to increase. Not every accident ends in a fatality, however. Many victims end up with extensive injuries and benefit from the counsel of experienced injury attorneys.

What to Do If You Are in a Bicycle Accident in St. Petersburg

If you are in an accident while riding your bicycle in St. Petersburg, the first thing you should do is check for injuries and seek medical treatment. As a bicyclist, you are more vulnerable than motorists, so the risk of injury is higher. Even if you don’t believe you have any major injuries, you should still visit a medical professional. It is best to document the treatment you received in case you decide to file a claim.

Gather Evidence

You should also file a police report after the incident. Take care only to report the facts of the case, even if you are angry or stressed by the events. You may say something the at-fault party could use against you. While you are at the scene, take pictures or video of the accident scene, injuries, and property damage. Don’t forget to collect the insurance and contact information for any others involved, including their name, address, phone number, driver’s license info, insurance info, and VIN. It is important to gather contact information for anyone who witnessed the incident as well. If you go to the hospital before you can gather evidence and information, ask a trusted individual or contact your injury attorneys for assistance.

The more evidence you can document from the accident in St. Petersburg, the better your injury attorneys may be able to defend your case if you file a personal injury claim.

Contact Insurance

After you seek treatment and file a police report, the next step is to contact the insurance company of the responsible party and file a claim. Often, the at-fault party’s insurance will concede liability, which means the next step is to determine how much compensation the victim will receive. The insurance company may attempt to settle, but consult your injury attorneys before accepting any settlement or signing any agreement. Accepting a settlement will disqualify you from bringing a claim in the future.

Work with the Injury Attorneys at Berkowitz & Myer

If you have been injured in a bicycle accident, contact the injury attorneys at Berkowitz & Myer in St. Petersburg, Florida. Our team can help you understand your legal options as well as help you file your personal injury claim. We will use our experience and skills to help you receive fair compensation. Call us today at (727) 344-0123 or contact us online to schedule a no-cost consultation.

no-cost consultation: (727) 344-0123