Category Archives: Chapter 13

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.


Protecting your Privacy in Bankruptcy

Privacy in Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Attorney serving Cocoa Beach, Florida

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.

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.


Will Filing Bankruptcy Stop ALL Lawsuits?

bky stop lawsuits pic

If you have lawsuits filed against you, it may be time to consider filing a personal bankruptcy case. A personal bankruptcy case can be an effective way to eliminate certain collection lawsuits. However, it is important to understand that not all types of litigation are halted or eliminated in a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Below are a few examples of suits that are not stopped by your filing:

Family law matters. If you are involved in a case that involves a determination of child support, spousal support, or the establishment of paternity, your bankruptcy filing usually will not stop the family law court from proceeding with its case.

Criminal proceedings. You cannot halt a criminal proceeding by filing for bankruptcy protection. However, if the charges against you include a debt that is related to your criminal charges, that portion of the case against you may be halted by the automatic stay.

Tax proceedings. The law provides that the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has the ability to continue pursuing certain audits, issuing tax deficiency notices, demanding tax returns, or issuing tax assessments against a debtor in bankruptcy. The automatic stay will prevent the IRS from issuing tax liens, repossessing property, or seizing your income will your bankruptcy case is pending.

Pension loans. A debtor is allowed to have funds withheld from his or her wages to repay a loan from certain types of pensions.

If you are planning to file a bankruptcy case and you have lawsuits or forms of legal proceedings filed or pending against you, contact us to discuss what will or will not be affected by the automatic stay. We can review all of the cases pending against you and make sure you understand what your bankruptcy filing will mean in each matter. We can also confer with the other parties involved if necessary so everyone is on the same page regarding your case.

The above are just a few examples of the types of legal proceedings that are not halted by the automatic stay. If you are interested in learning more about how a bankruptcy filing will impact your debt or the lawsuits pending against you, contact Faro Crowder, PA to schedule an appointment.

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