Bankruptcy: What you need to know.

It can happen to anyone. One set back, an unexpected problem, a lay off,  illness, death of a spouse or partner.  These and many any other reasons can make it impossible for you to pay those mounting bills. Don’t panic and don’t lose hope. Call us before you reach the breaking point. We may be able to help you get a fresh start and stop those harassing calls from creditors.  Let us help you feel less stressed and less scared. Your initial consultation is free of charge and we offer payment plans to accommodate your tight budget.  We have helped people in Melbourne, Viera, Rockledge, Cocoa, the beaches, Palm Bay and all of Brevard Couunty, Florida.  Schedule your free initial consultation (321) 690-2363 or send us an email advocates@cortazzolaw.com 

 

 Overview

Did you know that Abraham Lincoln, Walt Disney, Attorney F. Lee Bailey and Donald Trump have all filed for bankruptcy? The truth is that many celebrities, politicians and other famous people have also filed for bankruptcy protection.  Bankruptcy is a right afforded to every United States citizen under the Constitution.  The intent of our bankruptcy laws is to provide a fresh start for people who are in financial distress or are struggling because they can no longer afford to pay their bills. Whether this is accomplished by filing a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13  depends on each individual case, and the result of the Chapter 7 Means Test.  Bankruptcy law and procedures are complex. We have helped debtors on the Space Coast and in Orlando not only get a fresh start, but often save their homes and benefit by hundreds of thousands of dollars in principal reductions and mortgage lien strip offs.

 

 If you're worried about saving your home or investment property-

Frequently, people will come to us ready to walk away from their homes or investment properties We have been able to drastically increase their financial picture, save their homes, and restructure their debt through employing strategic bankruptcy applications, such as modifying their loans in bankruptcy court, removing second mortgages, and cramming down investment properties to their fair market value enabling them to be owned free and clear in five years.

 

 Is Bankruptcy right for me?

We are dedicated to helping our clients achieve a fresh financial start. We represent people struggling with debt and who are harassed by aggressive debt collectors and lawsuits. Bankruptcy may very well be your best option if you are facing overwhelming debt. If you are in debt, it is important that you speak with an experienced and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. We will help you determine whether bankruptcy is right for you, and, if it is, what chapter of bankruptcy is best for your situation. We do this by providing an analysis of your financial situation. We will meet with you and give you our advice about what the best course of action is for you and then you tell us how you would like to proceed.

 The way we look at your situation

We understand your concerns and worries. It‘s scary to face the possibility of financial loss. We are committed to helping you understand bankruptcy, foreclosure, creditor harassment, and consumer fraud. We help our clients understand the law that applies to their situation and what alternatives are available to them. Our objective is to help our clients make an informed decision about their legal options. Living with debt is stressful and demoralizing. Every day, we have the satisfaction of helping people attain peace of mind- the peace that comes with being debt free.

 

If bankruptcy is not right for you, we will tell you. We will give you the information you need to decide what is best for you.

Bankruptcy can provide you with relief from your suffocating financial obligations. Maybe you have lost your job, had your hours reduced, suffered from illness or injury, had a business failure, or simply find yourself with credit card balances that climb higher every month, despite your best efforts to pay them.  You may have done everything possible, and yet, you still feel weighed down by the burden of debt. You don’t have to spend the rest of your life struggling financially and dealing with creditors. The purpose of bankruptcy law is to aid people who are unable to pay their debts. There is no shame or social stigma in filing for bankruptcy, Our clients are teachers, police officers, engineers, professionals, business owners, nurses- people just like you –hardworking people who need a break so they can get on with their lives.

 

 How Bankruptcy Can Help You

  We hear it over and over.  When we tell our clients that the Judge entered their Discharge Order, our clients tell us that are relieved and happy again-they get their lives back. This could happen for you too.  In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors are relieved of the obligation of paying most types of debts. Creditors can’t harass you any more, they can’t file lawsuits against you for your discharged debts or contact you to collect discharged debts. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the fastest, most decisive method of getting rid of most debt. 

 As we stated above, in certain circumstances, and for some people, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be the best, or only, option. A Chapter 13 repayment plan will last between three to five years. During this time, you have the protection of the Bankruptcy Court. Creditors can’t take any action against you, or your property, without first getting permission from a bankruptcy judge. It takes much longer than a Chapter 7, but the end result of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the same – a discharge of most types of debts.

Don’t panic and don’t lose hope. Call us.  Talk to us about getting a fresh start and stopping those creditor calls. Let us help you feel less stressed, less scared and instead, hopeful.

If you are struggling with debt, call Attorney Arna D. Cortazzo (321) 690-2363, or fill in the online contact form. We will address whatever questions and concerns you have. If it looks like bankruptcy is right for you, we will discuss your circumstances in detail, and help you understand the bankruptcy process in Florida.  We will review all relevant information, including your debts, assets and income. Your 30 minute initial consultation is free and we can talk in person or on the phone if you prefer.  We offer payment plans to help you, if you decide that bankruptcy is right for your situation.

 

What is a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is the most common bankruptcy option available to most people. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is often referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy. By filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy you may be able to eliminate most or all of your debts and have a fresh start in as little as a few months. Chapter 7 is not available to everyone. The bankruptcy court uses the “Means Test” to measure income and expenses to determine if someone qualifies for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy relief. Some of the debt that may be eliminated in Chapter 7 are:

  • Medical bills

  • Credit card debt

  • Wage garnishment

  • Business debt that was personally guaranteed

  • Legal judgments

  • Repossessions

  • Collection agencies

  • Student Loans

Florida has its own set of exemptions available to someone seeking Chapter 7 Bankruptcy protection. It’s important that you consult with a qualified and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney that can help educate you as to what your rights are prior to filing for bankruptcy.When you file bankruptcy in Florida you may also use certain federal exemptions in addition to your Florida exemptions. Again, you should consult with a qualified and knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney. In the Middle District of Florida, Orlando Division, we are now working with debtors who have Department of Education (government) Student Loans.  We are attending mediations and helping our clients with student loan debt.

Call us at 321 690-2363 to discuss your options.

 

Can I file a Chapter 7?

The 2005 amendments to the Bankruptcy Code included a “means test” intended to make it more difficult for wealthy consumers to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your income is below the median family income for your household size, you need not worry about the “means test.” Most people who are considering bankruptcy want to file a Chapter 7.  There’s good reason. In a Chapter 7, there is no requirement to repay your debts. The time from filing to finish is normally about 4 months.  Chapter 7 can wipe out most common debts (other than student loans) unless it’s a debt you want to keep – like the mortgage on your home. Chapter 13 has its own advantages, but most people choose it over Chapter 7 only it certain situations. Unlike a Chapter 7, Chapter 13 can stop a foreclosure and let you get caught up on the missing payments. Chapter 13 can allow you to keep some especially important items of property that you might lose in a Chapter 7. While Chapter 13 is usually much better than not filing bankruptcy, most people want to file a Chapter 7.

Are you wondering if you’ll be able to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7?  Most people find that they can file a Chapter 7.  Determining who can file for bankruptcy is complicated. Here’s a condensed explanation of how the Chapter 7 means test works:

      The Chapter 7 means test compares your gross monthly income to a family of the same size as yours in your state. If your income falls below the median amount, you can usually file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

  • The median income is based on the size of the family.

  • The threshold for Florida as of April 1, 2016, ranges from approximately $44,000 for a family of one to $84,000 for a family of six.

     If your income is higher than the median amount, a calculation of your monthly expenses, income, and debts is used to determine whether you can file under Chapter 7.

       Even if your income exceeds the median income based on the number of people in your family, you may still qualify for Chapter 7 if you do not have enough disposable income to make a significant monthly payment to your credit card debts and other forms of standard unecured debts.

 A debtor’s disposable income is evaluated after allowing for a number of deductions from your gross income, which include the following:

  • Standard mandatory payroll deductions

  • Secured obligations (e.g. mortgage, financed vehicles)

  • Priority unsecured debts (e.g. child support, alimony, certain taxes, etc.)

  • Necessary living expenses in amounts allowable under IRS regulations

  • Certain extraordinary expenses that occur regularly

  • Certain expenses based on actual amounts paid

Debtors that do not have enough income remaining after these amounts have been deducted qualify for Chapter 7 under the means test. Debtors who do not qualify for Chapter 7 under the means test, can file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Call us so we can evaluate your situation and advise you about your eligibility under the Chapter 7 means test. Contact us today to schedule your free 30 minute consultation.

 

Is Chapter 13 right for me?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is often called a reorganization bankruptcy. People who file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy often do so to benefit from the many advantages of saving their homes, reducing their mortgages, and restructuring mortgages on multiple properties so that they become more affordable. A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy usually involves a repayment plan that is spread out over an average of 5 years, so that people can keep their assets and make their debt situation more manageable. In a Chapter 13, many types of debt can still be liquidated, while simultaneously allowing for the restructuring of mortgage or automobile debt. Due to the multitude of options available, a Chapter 13 allows consumers much more flexibility and provides for many beneficial options. In addition, individuals who simply cannot qualify for a Chapter 7 due to too much income also often file chapter 13. The benefits to filing a Chapter 13 for homeowners are considerable. The benefits are especially attractive to people with multiple properties or investment properties. If you are a homeowner or property investor trying to save your home or investment properties in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, there are many tools available. For example, you may be able to strip off (eliminate) a second or third mortgage or other lien on the home, cram down a first mortgage on an investment property and pay what the property is worth instead of what you owe, as well as catch up on missed payments by spreading them out over 5 years to bring your mortgage current. While there are no income limitations to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, there are limits to how much secured debt you can have and still qualify for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. It is important that you consult a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer to discuss the many benefits of filing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. 

We have been helping people on the Space Coast, Viera, Melbourne, Palm Bay, Cocoa and the beaches and in Orlando

since 1995. 

 

 

                                                       Call us so we can talk about your debt and your needs.  

                                                       Let us help you evaluate your situation so you can decide what's best for you. 

                                                       Call us at (321) 690-2363 or email us at advocates@cortazzolaw.com   

                                                       Contact us today to schedule your free 30 minute telephone or videoconference consultation.

 

 

 

      

    We want you to tell us about your situation. This is your story of who you owe money to, how you got here and what your goals are.

    Take advantage of our free consultation, by telephone or video conference- you don't have to leave your home, and tell us about

    what is going on. We will come up with a plan designed just for you. So let's go! Call us today.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Gavel and paperwork Florida

       Arna D. Cortazzo

Protecting Floridians' Rights for over 30 years.