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March 2016 Archives

Making a Chapter 13 plan work

Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves an individual making payments to creditors through a trustee pursuant to a court-approved plan. These payments may be made either directly to the trustee or through deductions from a Florida worker's paycheck. Payroll deductions may be more convenient for all parties, and it may increase the chances of making timely payments and completing the plan.

Chapter 13 hardship discharge

Florida residents who have difficulty paying their bills have several options for debt relief. Among those are different types of bankruptcy protection. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 are personal bankruptcy options that offer similar benefits, but work differently. While Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of a debtor's non-exempt assets with the proceeds being used to pay creditors, chapter 13 involves repayment of all or some portion of the debt pursuant to a court-approved plan.

Bankruptcy and the homestead exemption

Florida residents who are filing for bankruptcy may be able to keep their homes under their state's homestead laws. In fact, of all the states, Florida is one of the most protective in helping people keep their homes. Even without filing bankruptcy, registering some property as "homestead" usually prevents creditors from taking it.

Foreclosure can happen to anyone, even millionaires

Foreclosure is not about failure. Losing a home is not limited to the rich or the poor. From the world-renowned actor to the "man on the street," anyone can experience severe financial problems caused by irresponsibility or circumstances beyond their control.

Florida homeowners might get relief from secured debt liens

A recent federal appeals court decision might provide hope for Florida debtors seeking to remove the lien of a secured debt by filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Care should be taken by debtors seeking to stop foreclosure by removing a creditor's lien on real property based upon the court's ruling. The unique facts upon which the appellate court based its decision might limit its application in other cases.

The stress and fear that come with out-of-control student loan debt

If you have significant and unmanageable student loan debt, you are not alone. A growing number of post-secondary education attendees and graduates face the same financial stress. In spite of government programs created to improve management of monthly payments, defaults are at record levels.

Debts that can't be discharged in Chapter 13 cases

While many debts may be discharged through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there are some that will not be. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, Florida debtors are subjected to a court-approved payment plan that lasts from three to five years with most debt balances remaining after the plan has been completed discharged.

Former NFL player's bankruptcy is discharged

Florida fans of former NFL player Bob Whitfield may be interested to learn that four and a half years after filing for bankruptcy, he has cleared his debts. On July 1, 2011, he filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. At the time, he claimed his only income was just under $3,500 in disability while his expenses were more than $7,000 monthly.

The Chapter 13 filing process in Florida

The goal of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to allow someone to get out of debt by creating a repayment plan that will help him or her pay off what is owed. After filing bankruptcy, some debt may be written off, and people may additionally benefit from lower monthly payments. Since paying off debt is at the heart of this type of filing, individuals are required to submit a repayment plan within 15 days of filing for Chapter 13.

The statewide economic impact of home foreclosures

While foreclosure of your home brings uncertainty, options exist as you face a lengthy and stressful process.Florida is one of a handful of states that requires foreclosures to take place before a judge in a courtroom. Defendants can raise legal defenses to the action without the cost of filing a lawsuit. Referred to as judicial foreclosure, the proceedings can last several years.

Bankruptcy laws can provide a way to a different and better future

At some point or another, a significant percentage of residents in and around the Fort Lauderdale area will experience financial hardships. For example dealing with a job loss, medical emergency or accumulating student loans can quickly lead to the accrual of thousands of dollars in debt. In cases where an individual struggles to make monthly payments or is only able to make minimum monthly payments, it’s important to consider possible debt-remedy options.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plans

Florida residents who are considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy are sometimes confused about how their financial obligations will be consolidated into a three- to five-year repayment plan. Bankruptcy fees and most outstanding taxes are considered priority debts, and they take precedence over secured debts like car loans and mortgages. Unsecured obligations like credit cards and payday loans are factored into the repayment calculations last.

Required education for filing bankruptcy

For many years, people in Florida and around the country could file for bankruptcy without being required to go through any process that would educate them about their financial options. This changed in 2005, when laws were passed that made credit counseling from an approved agency prior to filing mandatory. People are now also required to finish a course in financial management before a discharge will be issued.

Foreclosure numbers better, but still fairly high

It's tempting to think that the foreclosure crisis has passed. It's been long enough, for example, that a recent Oscar-winning film, "The Big Short," has been made about the housing bubble's burst in 2008, leading to millions of foreclosures and causing a major hit to the economy.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plans

When Florida residents file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, they must submit a repayment plan within two weeks of their petition. This plan must disclose how much the debtor will be paying to the bankruptcy trustee. Payments are generally made on a monthly or biweekly basis, and the plan lasts from three to five years in most cases. When these payments are received, they are distributed to the debtor's creditors by the bankruptcy trustee pursuant to the terms of the plan. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, unsecured creditors generally receive less than the full amount owed.

Consumer protection from harassment by debt collectors

When Florida residents receive phone calls from debt collectors, they are often harassed. Harassment by debt collectors is prohibited by the federal Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. The law defines both harassment by debt collectors as well as who is considered to be a debt collector.

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