Author Archives: Michael Faro

Palm Bay Resident Financial Emergencies Solved by Filing Bankruptcy

Learn about your options when filing a Bankruptcy in Palm Bay, Florida

An important benefit of filing for bankruptcy protection is that the automatic stay goes into effect immediately upon the filing of your petition. The stay prevents creditors from continuing any collection efforts against you while your case is pending. Thus, all harassing telephone calls, demand letters and collection lawsuits against you must stop. For somebody who has been harassed by collectors for a long time, this can provide significant relief.

Have a financial emergency? Speak with a Bankruptcy Attorney to learn about your options.

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Palm Bay

Below are a few of the types of emergencies that the automatic stay can help a debtor handle:

Foreclosure

If you have fallen behind on your mortgage payments and your lender is threatening a foreclosure action, filing a personal bankruptcy can immediately (but temporarily) halt the proceedings. At a minimum, it will buy you additional time to remain in your home. It will also allow you extra time to try to negotiate a settlement or a deed-in-lieu of foreclosure with your mortgage lender. Finally, it permits us to help you avoid negative tax consequences.

Utilities

If you have missed payments on your electric, gas, telephone service, or other utilities, the automatic stay can prohibit your services from being disconnected for at least twenty (20) days. This may not seem very important, but when it is extremely hot or freezing cold outside, having electricity to run your air conditioner or heater is significant. While delinquent utility bills are not a sufficient reason to file for bankruptcy protection, they typically are a sign that you have other financial problems as well.

Garnishments

If a debt collector has obtained a judgment against you, it is likely that you have garnishments pending against your bank account and/or wages. The automatic stay stops all garnishments. Additionally, you may be able to eliminate or discharge the underlying debt linked to the garnishment action.

Evictions

If you rent your home and you have fallen behind on payments to your landlord, filing for bankruptcy can provide you some relief from an eviction action. However, if your landlord has already been awarded a judgment against you, the automatic stay will not halt the eviction process. However, if your landlord has not obtained a judgment, the bankruptcy filing will provide us time to negotiate with your landlord.

The above are only a few examples of the financial emergencies that a bankruptcy filing can assist you with. We can review your individual situation and help determine if filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is the best debt relief strategy for you.

Bankruptcy Palm Bay | Bankruptcy Melbourne | Bankruptcy Attorney Brevard County

If you live in the Palm Bay or the Melbourne area and are interested in learning more about how a bankruptcy filing will impact your debt, contact Faro Crowder, PA to schedule an appointment.  Our office is conveniently located on Sarno Road in Melbourne.  We offer free initial consultations for bankruptcy and foreclosure defense.


Can I file Bankruptcy if I am Unemployed?

Filing Bankruptcy while Unemployed | Attorney proudly serving Viera, Florida

If you have recently lost your job or you have been unemployed for a while, you are probably delinquent on your bills and debt collectors are harassing you. If you have considered filing for bankruptcy protection but you are concerned that you won’t qualify if you don’t have a job, it is important to understand that now may be the ideal time for you to file a case.

Bankruptcy Viera Florida, Bankruptcy Attorney serving Viera

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Viera, Florida

Every individual’s situation is unique, so it is essential to have an experienced attorney review your circumstances to determine the best strategy for you to take. While you are unemployed, you may be “judgment proof.” This means that you do not have any non-exempt assets or funds that a creditor can attack in collecting the debt from you. As a result, your creditors may not be taking any collection actions against you.

The Means Test | Bankruptcy Viera

However, while you do not have a job you will likely pass the means test and qualify for a Chapter 7 filing. The means test is a mathematical formula used by the bankruptcy court to ensure that you are not abusing the bankruptcy process in attempting to discharge your debt. The means test looks at your income from the prior six months to determine whether or not you have the ability to repay your creditors. If you have been unemployed for several months and show no income during that time, you may be eligible for a Chapter 7 filing when you otherwise would not qualify.

Your future income may be considered by the trustee even if you pass the means test. In other words, if the trustee thinks you are capable of paying your creditors, he or she has the ability to object to your discharge of debt. However, if you are not receiving any income, there is a very small likelihood that the trustee will file this type of objection.

If you are unemployed and read to obtain relief from your overwhelming debt, let us help. We can review your individual finances and determine whether or not a bankruptcy filing or other form of debt relief would benefit you.

Contact Faro & Crowder, PA to learn about your Bankruptcy Options in Viera, Florida

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals, families and businesses across the State of Florida.  We also offer free initial consultations for foreclosure defense and defense against debt collection.


Student Loan Borrowers – Watch Out for Harassing Debt Collectors!

We have all heard that student loan debt is a huge problem facing our nation. Students are graduating from college with thousands of dollars in student loan debt and then they struggle to find a decent paying job in their chosen field. To add salt in this wound, the graduates are also being harassed by debt collectors.

Defense Against Debt Collection Brevard County

Defense Against Debt Collection Brevard County

The debt collection industry is increasingly focusing on student loan debt. Not only is the mortgage crisis coming to an end which is slowing down the collection efforts on those types of loans, but student loans are difficult to discharge in a personal bankruptcy filing. In order to eliminate your student loan debt in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, you must prove an “undue hardship,” which is a tough standard to meet. As a result, the debt collection agents understand that there is no real option for a student loan borrower to obtain relief from their harassing and abusive tactics.

The government has made some small strides in deterring abusive conduct by student loan debt collectors, but it is obvious that more extensive efforts are necessary. For instance, it is time for the burden placed on students attempting to discharge their student loan debt in a bankruptcy filing to be lowered.

While there is not a simple answer for graduates who are facing an overwhelming amount of student loans, if you are being harassed by debt collectors, let us help. We can look to see if a debt collector is violating your rights under the law in its collection efforts. If so, we may be able to file a lawsuit against the collector seeking a monetary judgment. Additionally, while you may not qualify to discharge your student loans in bankruptcy, filing a case can still provide you relief. Not only will the automatic stay prevent further collection efforts against you, but you may also be able to create a more manageable repayment plan under Chapter 13.

Contact Faro & Crowder, PA to learn about filing for Bankruptcy Protection

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection or how to handle aggressive debt collectors, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.

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Weighing the Pros and Cons of Filing Bankruptcy

Before Filing Bankruptcy: Weigh All of Your Debt Relief Options

Before you jump into a personal bankruptcy filing, it is important to carefully weigh all of your debt relief options. There are pros and cons to filing a bankruptcy and you must understand both the good and the bad consequences of your decision to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Although each bankruptcy case is unique and you should have one of our experienced bankruptcy attorneys review your individual finances, the following are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of a personal bankruptcy:

Brevard County Florida Bankruptcy Attorney

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Rockledge, Florida

Pros:

A personal bankruptcy is the most comprehensive means for dealing with your debt. All of your creditors must be included in your filing, so when you receive your discharge order, it truly provides you with a fresh financial start. Additional benefits include:

  • The majority (if not all) of your debts will be eliminated and you are no longer legally obligated to pay them.
  • The automatic stay goes into effect as soon as your bankruptcy petition is filed, which means that all collection activity against you will stop.
  • In many cases and depending on which chapter you file under, you probably will be able to keep possession of all of your assets.
  • If you file a Chapter 13 and you must repay all or a portion of your creditors, you can create a manageable repayment plan and spread out your payments over three to five years.
  • You may qualify to remove inferior mortgage liens from your home. This means that the inferior mortgage will be treated as an unsecured debt which is typically paid mere pennies on the dollar owed.
  • As soon as you obtain your discharge of debt, you can immediately begin working to rebuild positive credit.

Cons:

Nobody wants to have to file for bankruptcy protection. However, due to our economy and the vast number of people that have had to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, it is not as embarrassing as it once was. Other negatives regarding bankruptcy include:

  • Your credit score will be negatively impacted. For many debtors who have already damaged their credit rating with late payments, collection lawsuits, garnishments, foreclosures or asset seizures, the effect on their score is not significant.
  • Having a bankruptcy notation on your credit report can make it harder for you to qualify for a mortgage loan until your credit score improves
  • Depending on what type of bankruptcy case you file and your individual situation, there may be a small risk that some of your assets will be used to pay creditors
  • In order to take advantage of your fresh start, you must live on a budget and change any irresponsible spending behaviors
  • Once you have filed a bankruptcy and received a discharge, you cannot file for bankruptcy relief again for several years

Contact Faro & Crowder, PA to schedule your Bankruptcy Consultation

To learn more about the consequences of filing for bankruptcy protection, contact Faro & Crowder to schedule an appointment. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve businesses across Brevard County including Palm Bay, West Melbourne, Titusville, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach and Satellite Beach.


Defenses to Collection Lawsuits

If you are one of the thousands of consumers that is facing overwhelming credit card debt, it may be time to consider filing a personal bankruptcy case. Filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 can allow you to eliminate or discharge your credit card debt and obtain a fresh financial start. However, if filing for bankruptcy protection is not an option for you and collection lawsuits are being filed against you, it is important to confer with an experienced attorney regarding the defenses that may be available to you. Below are a few defenses to a collection lawsuit that might be available to you:

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Cocoa, Florida

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Cocoa, Florida

  • Improper service. If you are not validly served with the summons and complaint, you have an effective defense (if timely alleged).
  • Statute of Limitations. The plaintiff seeking a monetary judgment against you must file the lawsuit by a certain deadline or it is time barred. You have a defense if the debt has gone “stale” and the creditor has lost its right to sue you to collect it.
  • Improper plaintiff. The party suing you must have the right to sue you. In other words, the plaintiff must be owner of your debt. This means that if your account was sold to a collection agent and the original creditor failed to properly transfer the documentation evidencing your debt, it may be possible to get the suit against you dismissed.
  • Wrong defendant. If you can prove that you did not incur the debt and that it does not belong to you, the court may dismiss the lawsuit.
  • Debt discharged. If you filed a prior personal Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case and included the debt in your filing, proving the debt was discharged will prevent the creditor from proceeding with the lawsuit against you to collect it.
  • Identity theft. If the debt was incurred as a result of you being the victim of identity fraud, it is a valid defense to the lawsuit.
  • Accounting errors. You may have a partial or full defense if the plaintiff failed to correctly credit your account with payments or made some other accounting errors.
  • Unlawful debt collection. If the plaintiff used illegal debt collection practices against you, we can help you allege a counterclaim in the lawsuit. This means that you file a claim against the plaintiff seeking money damages which can be used to offset the amount you owe the plaintiff.

If you are interested in learning whether one or more of the above defenses are available to you, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.


Understanding the Benefits of the Automatic Stay

Automatic Stay

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Satellite Beach

If you are tired of being harassed by relentless debt collectors and you are wondering how filing for bankruptcy can help, the answer is a protection afforded to debtors called the “automatic stay.” As soon as you file your personal Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 petition, the stay immediately goes into effect and prohibits further collection activity against you. This means that all telephone calls, demand letters, lawsuits, garnishments and other similar forms of collection tactics must immediately stop.

There are some exceptions to the automatic stay, so it is important to confer with a bankruptcy attorney regarding what matters will not be halted by your filing. Some of the more common examples of matters that can continue even though you filed for bankruptcy include certain family court matters, criminal court proceedings, and tax audits.

If you have a creditor that has a secured debt (a loan where you pledged an asset as collateral for the lender), it is important to understand that the creditor has the right to file a motion and ask the court to lift the stay as it applies to that lender’s specific debt. There are certain requirements that must be met for the court to grant this type of motion. If the court grants the creditor’s motion, the stay is lifted as to that creditor and the debt at issue. This means that the creditor can proceed with certain actions against you and/or the asset pledged as collateral. For example, if you fail to pay your car loan and you do not have insurance coverage on it, the bankruptcy court may permit your lender to repossess the vehicle.

Although the bankruptcy laws were designed to primarily protect debtors, they also set forth many safeguards for creditors as well. If you are concerned with how the automatic stay will apply to your debt and the collection actions being taken against you, contact us today.

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.


Your Credit Rating after a Negative Event

Credit Report Search

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Cocoa Beach, Florida

One of the main concerns people have when they are facing bankruptcy or another negative financial event is whether or not they will ever be able to own a home again. You may have heard that it is not possible to buy a home after you have experienced an adverse financial event, such as a foreclosure or bankruptcy, but this typically is not true. Before you give up hope consider the following:

  • It takes time. You may not be eligible to qualify for a mortgage immediately, but give it time. For example, if you completed a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and you have good credit afterward, you may be able to get a home loan after one year. However, after a foreclosure, you will need to wait seven years before you qualify for a conventional loan that can be sold to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. There are also several time frames between these two. The point is, don’t assume that filing for bankruptcy will prevent you from every owning a home again. It will take time and hard work, but you might be surprised at how quickly you can qualify for a mortgage again.
  • Work on your credit score. After a bankruptcy, foreclosure or short sale, it is important that you work on improving your credit score. This means making payments on time and showing financial responsibility. Additionally, you should review your credit report on a regular basis to ensure it is correct. If you discover any errors, you should immediately have them corrected.
  • Plan ahead. It is essential to understand what the consequences are of filing for bankruptcy protection or foreclosure or short sale of your home. A seasoned attorney can help you understand what to expect and to assist you in obtaining the necessary financing when you are ready to buy a new home.

If you have questions regarding how a foreclosure, bankruptcy or short sale will impact your ability to buy a new home in the future, contact Faro & Crowder today.

Don’t delay any longer. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.


How to know if Debt Collectors are Violating the Law

Debt Collection Violation Law

Defense Against Debt Collection Attorneys serving Palm Bay

The debt collection industry is well-known for its harassing tactics used to persuade consumers to pay their debts. As a result, an important set of laws called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) was passed to provide consumers with a variety of protections from creditors using deceptive or abusive practices in their collection efforts.

Under the FDCPA, a debt collector is defined as an individual or entity that regularly collects debts owed to others. Collection agencies, lawyers who routinely collect debts and debt-purchasers may all be included in this definition.

According to the FTC website there are a wide variety of actions that are prohibited, including the following:

  • Unfair practices. A debt collector must act fairly and legally when attempting to collect a debt from you. Examples of prohibited unfair practices include attempts to collect additional amounts that are not permitted by law or contract, depositing post-dated checks early, threatening to seize your property when it cannot be done legally, or contacting the consumer regarding the debt by postcard or other public means.
  • Harassment. A debt collector is prohibited from threatening violence, using profane language or repeatedly calling you in an effort to annoy you into making a payment. Also, a collector cannot threaten to add you to a published list of people who have refused to pay their debts.
  • False statements. A debt collector is prohibited from lying about who they are or who they work for. They must tell you the truth regarding the amount that you owe and actions they will take against you. It is unlawful for the collector to claim that you have committed a crime by not paying your debt. The documents that a debt collector sends to you must also be true and correct. Any information provided by the collector to a third-party, such as a credit reporting bureau, must be true.

Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful. If you believe you are being illegally harassed or you are ready to take action to handle your debt, let us help. We can review your individual financial situation and help you understand all of the debt relief options available to you.

If you have questions about filing for bankruptcy protection, we have the answers. Call us today to schedule your initial consultation. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve individuals and businesses across the State of Florida.


Protecting your Privacy in Bankruptcy

Identity theft is a very real problem in our country and it is crucial that you take every precaution to protect your private information. This is true even when you are filing for debt relief. When you seek financial protection in bankruptcy, the court requires to make full financial disclosure. Thus, your disclosures could provide an unscrupulous party with all the information they need to steal your identity and wreak havoc on your life. Fortunately, there are many protections in place that prevent this from happening.

Privacy in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Cocoa Beach, Florida

Pursuant to Bankruptcy Rule 9037, debtors can protect their personal information by redacting or editing their filings to prevent disclosure of confidential data. Bankruptcy Rule 9037 provides:

Unless the court orders otherwise, in an electronic or paper filing made with the court that contains an individual’s social-security number, taxpayer-identification number, or birth date, the name of an individual, other than the debtor, known to be and identified as a minor, or a financial-account number, a party or nonparty making the filing may include only:

(1) the last four digits of the social-security number and taxpayer-identification number;

(2) the year of the individual’s birth;

(3) the minor’s initials; and

(4) the last four digits of the financial-account number.

If you fail to redact your private information or you otherwise do not comply with Rule 9037, the court will deem that you waived your right to the protections it affords. Additionally, all of your creditors should make reasonable efforts to safeguard your privacy. If one of your creditors wrongfully discloses a debtor’s confidential information, the debtor should take immediate action and demand that the creditor correct the error. If your private information has been disclosed, we can request that the court seal the document in order to protect your identifying data.

If you are concerned about identity theft and your bankruptcy filing, contact us to learn more. As seasoned bankruptcy lawyers, we will take every precaution available to ensure that your private information is protected.

The legal team at Faro & Crowder is ready to help. Our office is located in Melbourne, but we proudly serve businesses across the State of Florida.

Mistakes to Avoid When Preparing for Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, it is essential to understand that there are a few actions you should avoid in order to ensure that your case goes smoothly.

Preparing for Bankruptcy | Melbourne Florida Bankruptcy Attorney

Mistakes to Avoid when Preparing for Bankruptcy

Preparing for Bankruptcy

Below are a few of the most common mistakes made by debtors that you will want to avoid:

Continuing to Make Charges on Credit Cards

In the months leading up to your bankruptcy filing, you should stop making charges on your credit cards. Any charges that are deemed to be for “luxury goods or services” on your credit card that totals in excess of $600 within the ninety (90) days prior to your case being filed, will be assumed to be non-dischargeable.

A luxury good or service may be anything that is not reasonably required for the maintenance of your household. It is important to also understand that the $600 amount is not for a single charge to your credit card that exceeds $600, but the total amount of your charges incurred within the 90 day time limit.

As a result, it is very important for you to cease all use of your credit cards as you prepare for your bankruptcy filing.

Repaying Family Members

If you have borrowed money from a relative, you may want to pay them back before you file for debt relief. However, this can cause trouble in your case. All debtors are required to disclose any payments in excess of $600 that have been paid to any creditors (including friends and family) within the six (6) months prior to the filing.

The court will look back at payments made within the one (1) year prior to the filing for payments made to “insiders” such as your relatives. If you have repaid a debt to an insider, it will be deemed a “preferential payment.” In other words, you preferred one of your creditors over your other creditors, which is prohibited by bankruptcy law.

If there is a preferential payment, the trustee will demand that your relative refund the money back to the trustee for the benefit of your bankruptcy estate. Failure by your loved one to refund the money could result in the trustee filing a lawsuit against him or her to recoup the funds.

Transferring Assets

It is common for people to think they can protect their assets from being included in the bankruptcy filing by transferring them into another person’s name.

However, the trustee will conduct an investigation for all transfers of property (which includes sales and gifts) that the debtor made within the two (2) years prior to the bankruptcy filing.

Thus, it is essential that you discuss with your lawyer all assets that you want to keep in order to determine if they are protected by an exemption under the law.

Contact Faro & Crowder for a Free Initial Bankruptcy Consultation

If you are interested in learning more about how a bankruptcy filing will impact your debt, contact Faro Crowder, PA to schedule an appointment. Our office is located in Melbourne, Florida.

Services Areas

We provide services throughout Central Florida including: Melbourne, Titusville, Palm Bay, Merritt Island, Cocoa, Cocoa Beach, Satellite Beach, West Melbourne, Cape Canaveral, Viera and Eau Gallie.

Get In Touch with Faro & Crowder, PA

Faro & Crowder, PA
Phone: 321-784-8158
Address:
1801 N. Sarno Road, Suite 01
Melbourne, FL 32935
Email: info@farolaw.com

The information on this blog or any blog is not intended as, and should not be taken as, legal advice.

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