Tampa Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Backed by More Than 25 Years of Combined Legal Experience
If you are struggling to make ends meet due to excessive debt, you may be eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. With more than 25 years of combined legal experience, our team is equipped with the tools necessary to effectively reduce your debt. As members of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys, we remain knowledgeable of the latest developments in bankruptcy law, advocacy, and protection for our clients.
Talk to an experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney in Tampa at Bankruptcy Defense Group. Contact us online or call (813) 644-3730 for a free initial consultation.
What Are The Benefits of Chapter 7?
Are you fighting against debt and are considering bankruptcy? If you are unsure of which chapter to file, below are some advantages to filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
The benefits of Chapter 7:
- An automatic stay is effective after you file. It stops creditors from contacting and collecting from you. It also ends wage garnishments.
- You get to keep most of your property -- typical assets such as your car, clothes, furniture are exempt.
- Any property you acquire after filing will not be part of the bankruptcy estate
- There is no repayment plan. You are simply not responsible for repaying debt after it is discharged.
- There is no limitation to how much debt you have. Under Chapter 13, your debt cannot exceed the limits.
How Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Works
Chapter 7 is the most common bankruptcy filing in this country. You may have heard it referred to as “liquidation” bankruptcy or “straight” bankruptcy. In this type of filing, a person requests that the bankruptcy court forgive most, if not all of their unsecured debts after their “non-exempt” assets are sold and the proceeds are used to pay off their creditors.
Exempted Assets in a Florida Bankruptcy
State and federal law permits certain “exempt” assets or property to be protected from liquidation.
Each state as well as the federal government allow certain assets or property to be protected from liquidation; these are called “exempt” assets.
In Florida, these exempted assets include but are not limited to property such as:
- Equity in your home (homestead exemption)
- Equity in your car/vehicle
- Personal property up to $1,000
- Tax refunds
- Savings for education, health care, or hurricanes
On Florida's Wildcard Exemption
Florida allow individual debtors who do not use their homestead exemption to claim up to $4,000 in property under the wildcard exemption. Joint debtors can claim up to $8,000.
The wildcard exemption is typically used by debtors who do not own a home. However, homeowners may be able to claim this exemption if they have no equity in their home.
The value of property you can exempt under the wildcard exemption is based on the fair market value of that property.
Paying Off Debt in Chapter 7
Once the bankruptcy trustee sells whatever non-exempt assets you have, the funds are used to pay off your creditors. In many cases, few or no assets are subject to liquidation. Also, in many cases, creditors will receive only a small portion of the debt you owe them. However, the balance of what you owe is discharged and those creditors can never again attempt to collect on the debt.
Once you initially file for a Chapter 7, the bankruptcy court imposes an “automatic stay” that prohibits your creditors from contacting you in any way for collection purposes. They can then only go through the bankruptcy court to collect on your debt. This effectively stops creditors from harassing you for payment.
Qualifying for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Not everyone qualifies for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing. To determine who qualifies, a person’s income and household size is compared against the median income in Florida. If the income is equal to or lower than the median, a person will qualify. If the income is above the median, a “means test” is permitted to allow deductions of certain expenses from the income. After these additional deductions, if the person still does not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, then the option of filing for bankruptcy under Chapter 13 will be explored.
Legal Guidance From Our Tampa Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers
At Bankruptcy Defense Group, we offer step-by-step guidance from inception to resolution of your case. Our competent team of attorneys will assist you in navigating the many rules and regulations governing bankruptcy filings. We are here to help transform your financial crisis into a clean slate. Our goal is for you and your family to regain financial stability and a better future.
End your debt crisis with smart legal help from our firm. Call us at (813) 644-3730 today.
Many of our clients have come across the same initial questions as they begin their journey to financial freedom. Visit our FAQ page to get some quick answers.