St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Lawyers
Your bankruptcy case progresses in steps, beginning with the first day you step into our office. We will immediately work to STOP harassment by the debt collectors. If necessary, we will bring a lawsuit on your behalf against them to enforce your legal rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. We will prepare your bankruptcy petition and make sure that all of the necessary documentation accompanies your petition. You will always be involved in the process so that you will know the status of your case at all times.
What to Expect From the Bankruptcy Process in Florida?
As soon as your case is electronically filed with the court, a trustee is appointed. The trustee’s role is to determine what assets you may have that are not protected by the bankruptcy laws. Assets that may not be protected by the bankruptcy laws can either be sold by the trustee, or a payment arrangement can be made by the debtor to pay these monies to the trustee to avoid personal items from being taken. The trustee then distributes the proceeds of the non-exempt assets to creditors. In most cases there are no assets to liquidate. However, should the trustee identify assets that are not protected you will have been made well aware of this before the filing of your bankruptcy petition. We at Berkowitz & Myer will explain what bankruptcy exemptions are available to you well before you file.
If you have filed a Chapter 13 case, the trustee is responsible for reviewing your proposed repayment plan, making recommendations to the court regarding the feasibility of that plan and distributing the payments to your creditors under the terms of the plan. You will be sending your Chapter 13 payments directly to the trustee every month along with any other documents that are required by law. Again, we at Berkowitz & Myer will help you through every step of this process.
What is 341 Hearing in St. Petersburg? (Meeting of the Creditors)
This mandatory meeting, which is held in all bankruptcy cases, usually occurs within four to seven weeks of the filing of your case with the court. The purpose of this meeting is to give creditors a chance to ask questions. It should be noted that it is extremely rare that a creditor appears as the questions are primarily asked by your trustee. The trustee may ask you questions about particular items on your petition usually focusing on assets or income. Any questions that the trustee may ask have already been discussed with your lawyers at Berkowitz & Myer. Most meetings only take a few minutes.
Some clients feel some level of anxiety or fear leading up to the meeting with the bankruptcy trustee, but there is little reason to have apprehension or trepidation. The meeting will take place in an office building and will be conducted in a large room. The trustee is not a judge, and the setting is informal. We will be with you at the meeting should you have any questions or concerns. After the meeting, most of our clients comment on how simple the process was and that they had no reason to have anxiety or fear from the 341 meeting.
How to be prepared for your 341 Meeting
You must bring a state issued photo identification and your social security card to the meeting. If you cannot find your social security card the trustee will accept an original w-2. There are other documents that need to be provided to the trustee well before your meeting can take place and those will be included with your bankruptcy petition when it is filed with the court.
Attending your Hearing for Confirmation for Chapter 13 cases
If you file a Chapter 13 case, you may need to attend an additional hearing. This is called a Hearing on Confirmation and takes place several months after your Meeting of Creditors. At the Hearing on Confirmation, the trustee will make a recommendation to the judge as to whether your proposed payment plan is sufficient to satisfy the requirements under the Bankruptcy Code. If you have been making your payments promptly and if the plan if feasible to both you and the creditors the judge will then give final approval to your payment plan.
How long your case takes to complete
Before filing a bankruptcy petition in the State of Florida, debtors must complete a credit counseling course. Additionally, after the meeting of the creditors, they will have to complete the post-petition course before they receive a discharge from their debts. This course can be conducted online or over the phone.
In a Chapter 7 petition, your case is usually completed in approximately 90 to 120 days after the meeting of creditors. At that time, you will receive a single page document titled Discharge of Debtor from the court. The discharge order is the official court order relieving you of your obligation to pay these debts. Remember that the discharge of debtor in a Chapter 7 case may not relieve you of all of your debts. We at Berkowitz Law Group can inform you as to which debts may not be dischargeable in Chapter 7.
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the discharge order is issued upon your successful completion of your repayment plan. This amount of time will vary depending on the length and type of your Chapter 13 plan.
We look forward with meeting with you in person to discuss your individual financial situation and help you determine how the bankruptcy laws can best help you regain control of your finances and get a fresh start.
Complete the form on the right side of this page or call Berkowitz & Myer now at 727-344-0123 to schedule a free case evaluation