Now more than ever before, there are lots and lots of people facing financial strife and hardship, especially in the pandemic. However, with everything happening, people tend to have a lot on their plates and maybe do not have time to casually understand what options are available for them when it comes to getting some financial relief. While it may be commonly known that filing for bankruptcy can be one of the best ways for the everyday person to take back some control over their financial life and health. Though this knowledge is simple and available, there is still a huge lack of information available to the general public about how exactly Florida bankruptcy works, and what kind of information that you need to get your case started and set yourself on the path to a better financial life.
What You Need To know
When it comes to filing for bankruptcy in Florida, one of the first things that will come to mind for a lot of people is what they will lose if they do so. The good news for the people afraid that they will lose everything they own; you will not. Actually, you may end up losing very little depending on your specific situation. Finding out which of your assets you will be able to protect when filing for bankruptcy is easy because you just need to look at the Florida exemption laws for guidance. All of the property that is listed here (as well as the federal nonbankruptcy exception list) are able to be kept throughout the process. However, there is also a factor that is the type of chapter you file for. This will also help determine what kinds of property will be nonexempt.
A Closer Look At Property Exemptions
One of the most commonly filed for bankruptcies is Chapter 7. When you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the trustee that has been appointed to manage your case will sell off any property you own that is not exempt in order to benefit or pay off your creditors. However, when you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are able to keep all of your property. Though, there is a catch to Chapter 13 exemptions. The catch is that you must pay the nonexempt property value to your creditors within a three- to a five-year payment plan under the Chapter 13 guidelines.
Common Exemptions In Florida
When it comes to filing for bankruptcy in Florida, these are some of the most commonly used property exemptions. It should be noted that when spouses file for bankruptcy together, they are able to double the amount of any of these properties that are owned together – except for the homestead exemption.
Florida Homestead Exemptions
With this exemption, a filer is able to protect an unlimited amount of equity within a residential home that is larger than half an acre (within municipalities) or up to 160 acres elsewhere.
Florida Motor Vehicle Exemption
With this exemption, a debtor is able to protect up to $1,000 in one motor vehicle.
Florida Wildcard Exemption
If you are filing and you do not use the homestead exemption, you are still able to protect the property of your choosing with a value of up to $4,000.
Further Florida Bankruptcy Information
When it comes to filing for any type of bankruptcy in the Sunshine State, there is some information that you need to know besides the property exemptions that are available to you.
Means Testing In Florida And Credit Counselling
When it comes to state-specific information, there are two major pieces of information you need when filing in Florida: The state’s means-testing and the credit counseling providers that are approved by the state.
When it comes to filing for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will be required to have income qualifications in order to be deemed as passing the means test. If your family’s income is below the Florida median income line, you will be deemed as passing the means test and will be able to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. You may also be able to subtract some standard expenses in order to get under the median income line. There are similar calculations that need to be done in order to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as well.
Bankruptcy Education Providers
When the filer is an individual, they must take two financial courses. One course must be taken before filing for bankruptcy and another one before they receive debt forgiveness (or a discharge). You can find a complete list of state-approved credit counseling and debtor education classes on the U.S. Trustee’s website.
Bankruptcy filing fees or fee waive
When filing your Florida bankruptcy paperwork, you will need to pay a fee with the court. However, you may be qualified to receive a fee waiver. Contact us today for more information.