How Bankruptcy in Florida Works

Filing for bankruptcy is an excellent way that you can take control of your financial future. Buying information that you need to start your bankruptcy case can often be confusing. If you’re interested in getting started in the process of bankruptcy in Florida, here are some of the most important documents that you will need.

  • Income data
  • List of properties that can be exempt from your bankruptcy
  • The official forms
  • Credit counselling providers
  • A bankruptcy attorney
  • A local Florida bankruptcy court

Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions

One of the primary reasons that people are hesitant towards bankruptcy is they’re afraid to lose everything on their own. There’s a chance that you may not lose anything at all by filing for bankruptcy. Working with a bankruptcy attorney to determine which assets fall under Florida’s exemption laws can make sure that you will be able to determine what your non-exempt property can be. Here’s how the process works with a bankruptcy in Florida.

Chapter 7

Under Chapter 7, I will appoint bankruptcy trustee to manage and sell any of the property that is exempt in order to establish a benefit to your creditors. 

Chapter 13

You can keep all of your property in a chapter 13 bankruptcy, but there is a catch. You can pay non-exempt property value to your creditors over a 3 to 5-year period. 

Most Common Exemptions in Florida

The Homestead exemption: you can protect an unlimited amount of equity in your residential home. If you have a property, that’s larger than half an acre in a municipality, it may be considered subject to sale.

Florida motor vehicle exemption: you can exempt and protect up to $1000 in one motor vehicle.

For a wild-card exemption: filers who don’t use the Homestead exemption can protect their property up to $4000. For a more detailed list and to see the types of assets that you can protect, contact a bankruptcy attorney today. 

The Means Test in Florida

In order to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to meet the income qualifications in the state of Florida. A means test suggests that your family income is lower than the median income for your state. If you qualify for this means test, you can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in your state. You’ll find the necessary income charts and guidelines for a means test on the US trustee website. 

Bankruptcy Education

In order to file for bankruptcy in the state of Florida, you must also complete to financial courses. One needs to take place before the filing and before receiving a discharge. You can find approved providers under the credit counselling and debtor education portion of the US trustee website. 

The Costs and Forms

There’s a small fee associated with filing for bankruptcy, but it’s usually worth the cost for the future of your finances. 

The official bankruptcy forms will allow you to wipe out your qualifying debt, but you must first disclose every aspect of your current financial situation. On each of the forms you will specify your income, expenses, debt, property transactions etc. these forms are free to download and you can fill out the forms on the U.S. Bankruptcy Court forms webpage. 

Filing fees are another thing you will be responsible for when you file for the paperwork. You could qualify for a filing fee waiver depending on your financial situation and the costs will be different depending on the type of bankruptcy that you’re filing for. 

If you choose to work with the bankruptcy attorney, you can often expedite the process of your bankruptcy and make sure that everything can be carried out accurately. The cost to hire a lawyer depends on the area that you’re filing for bankruptcy, but there are many benefits to working with a bankruptcy lawyer for your case. 

Finding The Right Court For You

If you live in the state of Florida, it’s important to remember that there are three main bankruptcy districts. Florida is divided into a North, middle and southern region. Each of these locations will have multiple courts to service the geographical area. Check the webpage and use your zip code to determine the right court information for your area. Division locations for the northern area of Florida included Pensacola, Tallahassee, Gainesville and Panama City. Middle districts include Orlando, Tampa, Fort Myers, Jacksonville and then the southern district includes Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Miami. 

Be sure to check in on the website to determine which of these locations best suit the area that you’re filing for bankruptcy in. If you would like to learn more about the process of filing for bankruptcy with assistance, contact our team today to learn more about working with a bankruptcy attorney in the future.