Call us today for a free consultation!
Chapter 7 Lawyers
If you are struggling with debt and do not know how you will ever pay back all your creditors, filing for bankruptcy may be the right option. The most common form of consumer bankruptcy is referred to as Chapter 7.
The bankruptcy process is complex, and even one minor mistake made during the filing process can result in a dismissal of your case. Our St. Petersburg Chapter 7 attorneys at Boss Law are here to provide the guidance you need. We can begin by evaluating your situation in a free consultation. During this meeting, we can help you understand your debt relief options and assist you in making a decision as to whether filing for bankruptcy is the right move for your future.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 is often known as a fast-track or straight bankruptcy. Typically, the process takes four to six months from start to finish. This form of bankruptcy involves the liquidation of non-exempt assets and property. The proceeds from the sale of these assets go towards paying off your creditors.
The whole process is overseen by a court-appointed trustee. This trustee will handle the liquidation of your property as well as distributing the payments to your creditors. After all the funds are used, your remaining unsecured debts will be discharged. That means you won’t be required to pay them, and your creditors will be prohibited from pursuing payment.
What Assets Can I Keep in Chapter 7?
Although Chapter 7 requires that you liquidate some assets, you will still be able to keep certain assets that you will need on a day-to-day basis. This is so that you have the necessities to rebuild your life and start fresh once your bankruptcy is over. Assets that are exempt in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy include:
- Vehicles up to a certain value
- Household furnishings
- Tools of the trade
- Public benefits.
The Pros of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Get immediate relief – The day you file for Chapter 7, all debt collectors must immediately stop harassing you (or even contacting you). This is known as the “automatic stay.”
Complete the process quickly – Unlike Chapter 13 or debt consolidation, typically there is no repayment plan in Chapter 13.
Keep your home – In Florida, you will not lose your home in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This is because the equity in your home is not “counted” as an asset in Chapter 7.
Retain your retirement – IRAs, 401ks, pensions, and annuities are considered exempt in Florida. That means these assets are not “counted” in Chapter 7.
Stop foreclosure or eviction – The filing of bankruptcy will at least temporarily stop a state court action, including foreclosures and repossessions.
Recover rapidly – A person’s credit score will generally improve dramatically after completing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The debt to income ratio has been reduced, and the negative reporting by creditors immediately stops.
The Cons of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
To qualify for Chapter 7, a debtor must pass the “Means Test.” The Means Test determines whether your average monthly household exceeds the Florida median income. If it does, you may not qualify for Chapter 7.
Some properties, such as boats, motorcycles, cars, and jewelry, are not “exempt” in Chapter 7. This means you could lose these valuable assets.
Chapter 7 does not wipe out student loans.
Chapter 7 does not wipe out all IRS or state taxes.