Do You Need a Lawyer to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy | St. Petersburg | Berkowitz & MyerWhen you are having trouble paying your bills, the first thing you want to do is cut out any unnecessary spending. While it may make sense to start cutting your own grass or eating out less, trying to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy without the assistance of an attorney is generally not a good idea. In fact, the government’s own position on the matter is that “seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal outcomes.”

Fortunately, you can schedule a completely free consultation with one of the attorneys of Berkowitz & Myer to discuss your options and find out if filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy could benefit you. To schedule an appointment with a lawyer, send us an email or call our office today.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:

How an Attorney Can Help in a Case

There are many ways that an attorney can be of assistance if you are having trouble paying your bills and considering bankruptcy, some of which are described below.

  • Evaluate your financial situation – It is important to remember that bankruptcy is not a “one-size-fits-all” solution and may not be appropriate in certain cases. In fact, sometimes, people are ineligible to file at all because of their debt level or income. Even if you can file, that does not necessarily mean that you should. Bankruptcy does have some downsides. It is important to ensure that the positives outweigh the negatives before making a decision. That decision could affect you for years to come.
  • File your bankruptcy petition and help you develop a repayment plan- Filing for bankruptcy is not as easy as heading down to the courthouse, filling out a form, and giving it to the clerk. In order to file, you need to provide detailed information about your finances. You also need to include a complete listing of your debts and sources of income. In addition, you will have to propose a repayment plan that complies with certain provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. An attorney will be able to help you manage all of these tasks. Ensuring that your filings are complete and accurate. Making sure your repayment plan is feasible and will be accepted by the court.
  • Address changed circumstances if they arise – Chapter 13 repayment plans can last anywhere from 3 to 5 years. If your financial outlook changes (for better or worse) during this time, your lawyer can address the matter with the court. They will make sure that your repayment plan is adjusted accordingly.

Call the St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Attorneys at Berkowitz & Myer Today to Discuss Your Case

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a complicated process that can be difficult for consumers to navigate. That being said, it can also provide much-needed financial relief to individuals who have gotten behind on their bills. It may even be able to help stop foreclosure or repossession. To discuss your financial circumstances at no cost with an attorney, call our office today at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Basics of Chapter 13—What You Need to Know

While many people are familiar with the term “bankruptcy,” significantly fewer understand what exactly bankruptcy is and what it entails. The information below is intended to help people who are just beginning to explore bankruptcy as a path to financial freedom better understand the things that they are reading. The best way to find out whether bankruptcy is right for you, however, is to discuss the matter with one of the St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyers at Berkowitz & Myer as soon as you can.

Bankruptcy Petition

A bankruptcy proceeding begins when an individual or a business files a bankruptcy petition, which basically informs the court that the debtor is attempting avail himself or herself (or itself) of the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. A bankruptcy petition will contain a variety of information, including the debtor’s name, address, the chapter under which the bankruptcy is being filed, the debts that are to be included in the bankruptcy, and the debtor’s income.

The Automatic Stay

The automatic stay is a court order that goes into effect the moment a debtor files for bankruptcy. It prevents creditors from taking actions to collect on a debt, including making phone calls, sending letters, repossessing property, foreclosing on a mortgage, or initiating a lawsuit. In addition, any lawsuits against the debtor will be put on hold for the pendency of the bankruptcy, unless the other party successfully moves to have the stay lifted with regard to a particular lawsuit.

Discharge

Discharge is generally the most obvious benefit of filing for bankruptcy. When debts are discharged, it means that the debtor is no longer under any obligation to pay them back. Many types of debts are regularly discharged in bankruptcy, including credit card bills, medical debt, unpaid rent, utility bills, certain tax debts, personal loans, business loans, and civil judgments.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the most common type of consumer bankruptcy. It is known as a liquidation bankruptcy because it involves the liquidation of all of a debtor’s non-exempt assets in order to pay back creditors. In many cases, however, Chapter 7 bankruptcies are “zero asset,” meaning that debtors do not have any non-exempt property which can be sold. In cases like these, debtors are able to obtain a discharge without having to give up any of their assets.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is another type of consumer bankruptcy. Under Chapter 13, a debtor enters into a court-approved repayment plan that will last anywhere from three to five years. At the conclusion of the bankruptcy, most (if not all) remaining debts will be discharged. Importantly, in Chapter 13, debtors are protected from any collection attempts while they are making payments. For this reason, many individuals use Chapter 13 to keep their homes or other valuable assets while managing their debt.

Call Berkowitz & Myer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you are having trouble paying your bills in spite of earning a regular paycheck, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Berkowitz & Myer, we will review your financial situation at no cost to you in order to determine whether you may be able to benefit from filing for Chapter 13 or any other type of bankruptcy. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyers, call our office today at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Basics of Chapter 13—What You Need to Know

Bankruptcy Attorney St. Petersburg

While many people are familiar with the term “bankruptcy,” significantly fewer understand what exactly bankruptcy is and what it entails. The information below is intended to help people who are just beginning to explore bankruptcy as a path to financial freedom better understand the things that they are reading. The best way to find out whether bankruptcy is right for you, however, is to discuss the matter with one of the St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyers at Berkowitz & Myer as soon as you can.

Bankruptcy Petition

A bankruptcy proceeding begins when an individual or a business files a bankruptcy petition, which basically informs the court that the debtor is attempting avail himself or herself (or itself) of the provisions of the Bankruptcy Code. A bankruptcy petition will contain a variety of information, including the debtor’s name, address, the chapter under which the bankruptcy is being filed, the debts that are to be included in the bankruptcy, and the debtor’s income.

The Automatic Stay

The automatic stay is a court order that goes into effect the moment a debtor files for bankruptcy. It prevents creditors from taking actions to collect on a debt, including making phone calls, sending letters, repossessing property, foreclosing on a mortgage, or initiating a lawsuit. In addition, any lawsuits against the debtor will be put on hold for the pendency of the bankruptcy, unless the other party successfully moves to have the stay lifted with regard to a particular lawsuit.

Discharge

Discharge is generally the most obvious benefit of filing for bankruptcy. When debts are discharged, it means that the debtor is no longer under any obligation to pay them back. Many types of debts are regularly discharged in bankruptcy, including credit card bills, medical debt, unpaid rent, utility bills, certain tax debts, personal loans, business loans, and civil judgments.

Chapter 7

Chapter 7 is the most common type of consumer bankruptcy. It is known as a liquidation bankruptcy because it involves the liquidation of all of a debtor’s non-exempt assets in order to pay back creditors. In many cases, however, Chapter 7 bankruptcies are “zero asset,” meaning that debtors do not have any non-exempt property which can be sold. In cases like these, debtors are able to obtain a discharge without having to give up any of their assets.

Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is another type of consumer bankruptcy. Under Chapter 13, a debtor enters into a court-approved repayment plan that will last anywhere from three to five years. At the conclusion of the bankruptcy, most (if not all) remaining debts will be discharged. Importantly, in Chapter 13, debtors are protected from any collection attempts while they are making payments. For this reason, many individuals use Chapter 13 to keep their homes or other valuable assets while managing their debt.

Call Berkowitz & Myer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

If you are having trouble paying your bills in spite of earning a regular paycheck, you should speak to an attorney as soon as you can. At Berkowitz & Myer, we will review your financial situation at no cost to you in order to determine whether you may be able to benefit from filing for Chapter 13 or any other type of bankruptcy. To schedule an appointment with one of our experienced St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyers, call our office today at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

Chapter 13 Terminology—Who’s Who in Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy Attorney St. Petersburg

If you’re reading about bankruptcy online, there’s a good chance that you’re coming across a lot of terminology that’s new or unfamiliar. In particular, you may be coming across the names of various parties that are involved in bankruptcy and be confused as to exactly who they are. Below is some basic information about the main players in a bankruptcy case and their role. For more information, please call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in St. Petersburg.

The Debtor

The debtor is the person filing for bankruptcy (the person who owes debts). In Chapter 13, the debtor is always an individual (businesses cannot file for bankruptcy) and is seeking to restructure his or her personal debts. Married couples are able to file for Chapter 13, jointly, however, and will be referred to collectively as “debtors.”

Creditors

In a bankruptcy case, creditors are the parties to whom debts are owed. Common examples of creditors listed in a Chapter 13 case include credit card companies, healthcare providers, mortgage lenders, utility companies, and banks.

Bankruptcy Trustee

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee is the individual who is assigned by the court to administer your case. Some of the responsibilities of the trustee include the following:

  • Look at your proposed repayment plan and determine whether it complies with the requirements set forth in the United States Bankruptcy Code.
  • Review any claims made by creditors and object to any that lack sufficient documentation or are improperly made.
  • Conduct the meeting of creditors, which you are required to attend. At this meeting, you will be placed under oath and asked questions regarding your assets, income, or other relevant information.
  • Receive bankruptcy plan payments and distribute them amongst creditors

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

Bankruptcies are filed in specialized federal courts known as United States Bankruptcy Courts. These courts only hear bankruptcy cases and have jurisdiction over your case from the moment it is filed to its conclusion.

Your Bankruptcy Attorney

Finally, if you are filing for bankruptcy, it is highly advisable that you do so with the assistance of an experienced lawyer. In fact, on the United States Courts official website, it states that “[i]ndividuals can file bankruptcy without an attorney, which is called filing pro se. However, seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal outcomes.”

An attorney can review your financial situation, collect any necessary paperwork, prepare the documents that you need to file with the court, represent you at the meeting of creditors, and generally protect your rights along every step of the way.

Call Berkowitz & Myer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

Financial problems can often be alleviated through Chapter 13 bankruptcy—particularly when you have regular income but have fallen behind on your payments. The lawyers of Berkowitz & Myer will review your financial situation at no cost to you and let you know whether we believe that you could benefit from pursuing bankruptcy. To schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers, call Berkowitz & Myer today at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

The Pros and Cons of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Attorney St. Petersburg

There are many misconceptions about bankruptcy. Some people are worried that filing means that they have failed in life and that they will be left penniless and unable to ever secure financing or a loan again. On the other hand, others fail to recognize that bankruptcy is a major decision and file without considering the fact that doing so will likely affect them for years to come.

Chapter 13 one type of bankruptcy that is often utilized by people who earn a steady paycheck but have fallen being on their bills. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For more information, call our office today to speak with a St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyer.

Chapter 13: The Upsides

One of the main benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy (as opposed to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy) is that it allows debtors to keep their assets. In Chapter 13, you enter into a court-approved payment plan that allows you to pay all or some of your debts over the course of three to five years. Homeowners can wrap any mortgage arrears into their payment plan, meaning as long as they stay current on their mortgage during the course of the plan, they will be able to stay in their home. In addition, at the conclusion of a Chapter 13 plan, most (if not all) of a debtor’s remaining debts will be discharged, which means that they are under no obligation to pay them.

Chapter 13: The Downsides

Filing for any bankruptcy is not without cost. The fact that you filed will remain on your credit report for years and negatively affect your credit score, making it more difficult to obtain financing and increase your interest rates if you do. In addition, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may make it more difficult to get a job, as employers who run credit checks may see a bankruptcy as a sign of irresponsibility. In addition, in some cases, filing for Chapter 7 may be able to eliminate more debt than filing for Chapter 13.

So, Should You File for Chapter 13?

The decision to file for Chapter 13 is should be carefully considered. Some of the factors that can determine whether Chapter 13 is right for you to include your total debt load, the types of debt you have, your income, and the kinds of assets that you have. The best way to determine whether it is right for you is to consult with an attorney who is familiar with bankruptcy law and will explore all of the options available to you.

Call Berkowitz & Myer Today to Speak to a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Lawyer

The lawyers of Berkowitz & Myer will review your financial situation at no cost and let you know whether we believe that filing for bankruptcy would benefit you. To schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in St. Petersburg, call our office today at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

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