Updated: Jul 16, 2019
There are many things to consider before deciding filing for bankruptcy. You and your attorney should discuss exactly what your goal is so that your bankruptcy attorney can find the best legal option for you. However, there are 10 questions that recurring when considering whether bankruptcy is the path you should take.
#1 - Do I qualify for a bankruptcy?
This is a loaded question and it deserves a full analysis by your attorney. First and foremost, your bankruptcy attorney should ask what your ultimate goal is. Depending on what your needs are, the proper bankruptcy chapter should be discussed.
Chapter 7 - Your income should be discussed with your attorney to determine whether you "fit" in a Chapter 7. Perhaps your income is too high and a Chapter 13 should be discussed. You, as the client, should be completely open with your attorney in disclosing all of your assets and income. Another important information that needs to be discussed is the type of debts you owe.
Chapter 13 - Your income is just as important as the total amount of debt you owe. Limits change and your attorney needs to discuss the limits with you; however, the amount of unsecured debts you can include in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is approximately $395,000 and approximately $1.2 million in secured debts.
#2 - Can I discharge child support or alimony debts in a bankruptcy?
Simply put: "No." Child support or alimony unpaid amounts cannot be discharged in a bankruptcy.
#3 - Will my car and house be taken away if I file for bankruptcy?
No...unless you want to. If you want to keep your car and home and make payments, then you can always do that, given that you can in fact make the monthly payments. However, you need to discuss your goal with your attorney and your attorney should be able to find solutions for you. However, if you don't want to keep your house or car, you can also do that.
#4 - How can I afford to pay a bankruptcy attorney if I'm filing for bankruptcy?
This is a very good question. However, please know that our firm is willing to work with you and we offer a payment plan. The last thing we want is add yet even more stress to your life with a heavy attorney invoice. We can always find a solution that works for both of us. Call us to ask about our payment plans! 305-467-8532.
#5 - How will my credit score be affected by my bankruptcy?
If you are considering to file for bankruptcy, chances are your credit is already damaged. Most people filing for a bankruptcy have already missed either house, credit card, or car payments and their credit score has already been damaged. Filing for bankruptcy will definitely affect your credit score in the short run; however, in the long run it can increase your credit score. It is up to you to build your credit after a bankruptcy and we can guide you on how to do that after filing your bankruptcy with us.
#6- Can I qualify for a mortgage or auto loan after a bankruptcy?
Absolutely! Lenders take into account many factors, including credit score. Although you may have to pay a premium or a bigger down payment in order to obtain credit, obtaining a mortgage after a bankruptcy is not off the table. Also, remember that every lender has different requirements. Perhaps a local lender has more relaxed guidelines, as opposed to the bigger financial institutions.
#7 - How long does a bankruptcy last?
Chapter 7 - Typically 3-5 months.
Chapter 13 - Typically 3-5 years.
#8 - Can I continue using/paying one of my credit cards after I file for bankruptcy?
No. You cannot give preferential treatment to a creditor and treat other creditors in the same category differently.
#9-Does my spouse have to be included in my bankruptcy?
No. Your spouse does not have to be included in your bankruptcy. However, many times, it would be beneficial for both spouses to be included in a single bankruptcy case. There are also other things that need to be taken into consideration, including the non-filing spouse's income.
#10 - If I file for bankruptcy, will my children be taken away?
No. You cannot lose your parental rights in the state of Florida simply by filing for bankruptcy. Stripping someone of parental rights is a long and complicated process and only a judge may do this. Simply filing for bankruptcy has nothing to do with what kind of parent you are to your children.
Call or text us for a free consultation 305-467-8532