that you can not discharge credit cards
in bankruptcy anymore. Is that true?
are the changes that were made to the
much does it cost to hire an attorney to
represent me in a Bankruptcy?
are the Court filing fees for Chapter 7
and Chapter 13?
have to hire a lawyer to file
the difference between Chapter 7 and
property can I keep if I file a Chapter
keep my home in a Chapter 7 Case?
keep my car in a Chapter 7 Case?
there a way for me to keep non-exempt
assets in a Chapter 7 Case?
file a Chapter 7 if I have filed one in
a Chapter 13 but it was dismissed by the
Court. Can I file another one?
to pay some of my credit cards and not
list them in the case. Can I do that?
be able to get credit again after I file
long does a Chapter 7 take?
I heard that you can
not discharge credit cards in bankruptcy
anymore. Is that true?
NO!!!!!!! The President signed a bill which
significantly changed the bankruptcy law and
the law went into effect on October 17,
2005. Although the bankruptcy law was
changed, it did not eliminate Chapter 7 nor
did it make credit card debt not
dischargeable. I have heard that some debt
collectors are telling consumers that they
can not discharge debts in bankruptcy
anymore. If a debt collector has told you
that, call me right away as that debt
collector has violated your rights under the
Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
and you may be entitled to damages.
What are the changes
that were made to the bankruptcy law?
The most significant change to the law is
the means test. The means test is a
calculation using the previous 6 months of
income for the debtor, co-debtor or
non-filing spouse. You take the previous 6
months for the household and multiply it by
2. If the total is less than the medium
income for a family of that size, you
probably qualify for Chapter 7. If the total
is over the median income for a family of
that size, additional calculations are
necessary. However, even if you make more
than the median income, you may still
qualify for Chapter 7. There are many more
changes to the law but the means test is the
most significant. It is very important that
you consult, and preferably hire a qualified
consumer bankruptcy attorney before filing
How much does it
cost to hire an attorney to represent me in
Since there are different types of
Bankruptcy (Chapter 7 and Chapter 13), the
fee will depend on which chapter of
bankruptcy is right for you. Most attorneys
do free initial consultations. During the
consultation, the attorney will analyze your
financial situation, make a recommendation
of which chapter of bankruptcy is right for
you and then quote you a fee.
What are the Court
filing fees for Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
Currently, the Court filing fee for a
Chapter 7 is $299 and for Chapter 13 it is
$274. The Court filing fees are usually in
addition to the attorney's fee.
Do I have to hire a
lawyer to file Bankruptcy?
No. You have the right to represent yourself
in your bankruptcy case. However, I don't
recommend it. There are many pit falls which
even inexperienced bankruptcy lawyers can
fall into. Now that the law has changed,
there are even more mistakes that can be
made. Therefore, it is best to seek the
advice and counsel of an experienced
bankruptcy attorney who is qualified to
guide you through the process.
What is the
difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13?
In a Chapter 7, Debtors list all their debts
and all their assets. They are permitted to
retain certain exempt property, while the
remaining assets are liquidated by the
trustee. The trustee will distribute the
funds from the liquidation to holders of
claims (creditors) in accordance with the
provisions of the Bankruptcy Code.
Accordingly, potential Debtors should
realize that the filing of a petition under
chapter 7 might result in the loss of
non-exempt property. However, most chapter 7
cases are what we call no asset cases. This
means that most Debtors will be allowed to
keep all of their assets and will then
receive a discharge of all their unsecured
Chapter 13 is designed
for individuals with regular income who wish
to repay a portion or all of their debt over
an extended period of time. Chapter 13 may
be appropriate for Debtors who seek to
retain certain non-exempt assets through a
repayment plan. An attorney will also
usually recommend Chapter 13 if you are
delinquent on your mortgage payments and
wish to save your home, if you owe Federal
Income Taxes, if you have enough disposable
income to pay at least 20% of your unsecured
debts by making payments over a 3 year
period, or if you have fraudulently used
your credit cards.
What property can I
keep if I file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
You are only allowed to keep your exempt
assets when you file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
Florida has opted out of the Federal
exemptions. Therefore, we must look to
Florida law to determine which assets are
exempt. Most of the exemptions can be found
in Florida Statute Chapter 222. However,
there are still some federal exemptions
which apply to Florida residents and they
can be found in 11 U.S.C. '522 (d) (10).
Can I keep my home
in a Chapter 7 Case?
Yes. Your home is exempt so long as it is
your personal residence plus 160 contiguous
acres if located outside a municipality or
your personal residence plus 2 acre within a
Can I keep my car in
a Chapter 7 Case?
Florida law allows each debtor to exempt
$1,000 of equity in an automobile. If a
husband and wife are filing a joint
bankruptcy case, they are each entitled to
use the $1,000 vehicle exemption. Equity is
the value of the car less the amount owed to
the bank or finance company. For example, if
the car is worth $6,000 and you owe $5,000
to the bank, you have $1,000 of equity and
will be able to keep the car.
Is there a way for
me to keep non-exempt assets in a Chapter 7
Case? The answer to this question
depends on which Chapter 7 Trustee is
assigned to your case. Some Trustees will
allow you to buy back the bankruptcy
estate's interest in your non-exempt assets.
If the Trustee agrees to allow you to buy
back the estate's interest, they will either
require lump sum payment or sometimes
monthly payments not to exceed 6 months.
Can I file a Chapter
7 if I have filed one in the past?
Yes, if you received a discharge and it has
been at least 8 years since the other case
was commenced. If it has been less than 8
years since your other case was commenced,
you still may qualify for relief under
Chapter 13 of the Code.
I filed a Chapter 13
but it was dismissed by the Court. Can I
file another one?
Yes, so long as the case was dismissed
without prejudice. If it was dismissed with
prejudice you must wait 6 months before you
file another case.
I want to pay some
of my credit cards and not list them in the
case. Can I do that?
The Bankruptcy Code requires that you list
all of your debts. You are not allowed to
leave out some creditors and list others.
Also, creditors will periodically pull your
credit report and they will find out you
filed bankruptcy. When they do, they will
likely cancel your card and you will not
have the ability to make charges. However,
the Code also states that after the
discharge is entered, you can voluntarily
repay any debt you choose to, even one
discharged in the bankruptcy.
Will I be able to
get credit again after I file bankruptcy?
Yes. Most of my clients receive pre-approved
credit applications in the mail shortly
after their bankruptcy is discharged.
However, you will probably have to pay
higher interest rates.
How long does a
Chapter 7 take?
Once a case is filed, a meeting of creditors
will be held in about 30 days. Once the
meeting has been concluded, the creditors
have 60 days to object to discharge. If no
objections are filed before the deadline,
the discharge will be entered shortly
thereafter. Usually 60-90 days after the
conclusion of the meeting of creditors.