Category Archives: Chapter 7

Do you have too much debt? Chapter 7 Bankruptcy might be an option.

Many Americans simply have more debt than they can afford to repay.

Despite what you hear, it is rarely due to irresponsibility.  No one sets out to accumulate $7,000 in credit card debt, but a temporary job loss, sudden illness or other financial emergency can quickly drain savings and force people to charge normal living expenses.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys proudly serving Palm Bay, Melbourne and Brevard County

Bankruptcy Attorneys serving Palm Bay, Florida

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy options – Palm Bay and Melbourne, Florida

When coupled with student loans, signature loans, payday loans and other unsecured loans, consumer debt in America tops $3 trillion. Since most people can expect negligible wage growth and have little savings, credit card debt can easily push a family over its own fiscal cliff.

Even if the debt was not your fault, the bills are still due and something must be done. If paying the bills is not an option, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy may be the answer.

Learn more about Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

In just a few short months, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy can wipe out most unsecured debts including credit cards and medical bills. All that time, your creditors may not take any action against you unless they get special permission from the Bankruptcy Court. After the bankruptcy is over, you still get to keep your house, retirement account, and other valuable exempt assets.

Contact Faro & Crowder, PA today to learn about your Bankruptcy Options

We represent individuals, families, and businesses in Palm Bay, Melbourne, the Space Coast and Brevard County, Florida.  Contact us at our office in Melbourne, Florida to learn more about debt-elimination programs.  We offer a free initial consult for bankruptcy to help you learn about your debt relief options and moving forward.


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.


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

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.

Will Filing Bankruptcy Stop ALL Lawsuits?

Bankruptcy Attorney Melbourne Florida

Personal Bankruptcy – Brevard County

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

When 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

Filing for bankruptcy protection cannot halt a criminal proceeding. 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.

Contact Faro & Crowder, PA for a free initial Bankruptcy consultation

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.  Our office is located in Melbourne, Florida.  We serve all of Brevard County and the Space Coast with Bankruptcy and Debt Relief services.

Can Bankruptcy Eliminate My Judgment Liens?

When an individual borrower falls behind on paying their bills, creditors start filing collection lawsuits in order to a obtain court judgment. Once the judgment has been granted in favor of the creditor, the collection efforts begin.

A Creditor May Place a Judgment Lien Against Your House

One common collection tool used by many creditors is to place a judgment lien against your house or other real property. This type of lien can help ensure that the creditor will eventually get paid what it is owed, even if it years down the road. How does this occur? The borrower cannot sell his or her home without paying the creditor from the proceeds of the sale in order to remove the lien.

Judgment Liens, Bankruptcy Attorney | Brevard County

Simply Obtaining a Discharge Order Will Not Automatically Eliminate the Judgment Liens Filed Against Your Home

If you have judgment liens filed against your home, filing a personal bankruptcy may be the best option for removing them. Before you implement this strategy, however, it is essential that you confer with a seasoned bankruptcy lawyer. You should be aware that simply obtaining a discharge order will not automatically eliminate the judgment liens filed against your home. In some cases, you can “strip” an inferior mortgage lien. For more information on lien stripping, please read our blog titled “Stripping Off Junior Mortgages in Bankruptcy.” There are also certain types of liens, such as tax liens, that are not avoidable.

Judgment Liens Can Be Found by Searching County Records Where You Own Real Property

Generally, a judgment lien can be discharged pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 522(f). You can discover if a judgment lien has been placed against your property by searching the records in the counties where you own real property. Many debtors get confused at how judgment liens are handled in their bankruptcy case because the underlying debt can be eliminated but the lien remains intact unless specific action is taken to remove it.

A debtor must remove the judicial lien of a non-priority creditor to the extent the lien encumbers the value of the debtor’s exemptions in the property. This means that if the value of the equity in your home would be exempt even without the lien, you can file a motion seeking to avoid the lien. Upon court approval of your motion, the lien is removed from the title on your real property and it is no longer valid or enforceable.

Contact a Brevard County Bankruptcy Attorney at Faro & Crowder, PA

If you have judgment liens filed against your home and you are interested in learning more about removing them in bankruptcy, call us today to schedule your initial consultation.  We are located in Melbourne, Florida on Sarno Road and serve residents and businesses of the Space Coast and Brevard County.

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.

Tips for Discussing Bankruptcy with your Children

bky talk with kids pic

It is a natural reaction for parents to attempt to shield their children from dealing with financial troubles. However, if you are considering filing a personal bankruptcy case, it is wise to discuss it with your entire family, including your children. You can tailor the conversation to fit the age of your children, but it is important that they hear it directly from you.

So, how should you go about discussing filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case with your kids? There is no magic formula, but below are a few considerations:

  • You should be open and honest about your financial situation. This may mean different things depending upon the age of your children, but the primary focus should be on how the bankruptcy filing will be beneficial for the family. It is essential that your entire family understand how adjustments in your finances will need to be made.
  • One of the most important ways you can make your family feel secure while going through bankruptcy is to have a plan for your housing situation. When your kids know that they have a safe place to live, it makes them feel more secure. Thus, even if you intend to surrender your house back to your mortgage lender during the bankruptcy case, having a plan for new housing will help the family feel more comfortable about your circumstances.
  • Try your hardest to keep your normal schedule and routine while your bankruptcy case is pending. Children feel secure when they know what to expect. The less you disrupt their daily lives, the better they will feel about the process.
  • Finally, if possible you should strive to keep your kids in the same schools. Having to change schools, especially in the middle of the school year, can be very disconcerting. However, if it is necessary for your children to switch schools, be sure to make an effort to keep them in-touch with their established friends.

We understand that filing for bankruptcy can be stressful for everyone involved. We assist families every day in obtaining the debt relief they need in the least disruptive way possible. Let us help you get the financial help you need and ensure that the process goes as smoothly as possible.

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


Read This BEFORE you sign a Reaffirmation Agreement

reaff agt pic

If you are planning to file a Chapter 7 case and you have secured debts, you should be prepared to disclose to the court how you intend to handle your secured loans. In other words, you must decide whether you will surrender the asset you pledged as collateral (house, vehicle, boat, etc.) to the lender, or if you will keep the asset and continue to pay for it. If you want to keep the asset and pay for it, your lender may request that you execute a pleading called a “reaffirmation agreement.”

A reaffirmation agreement is a new contract signed by the debtor and the lender. It often sets forth new contract terms and the debtor agrees to pay all (or an agreed-upon amount) of the debt, even though the debt could have been discharged in the bankruptcy filing. This means that if you sign a reaffirmation agreement, you are giving up your right to discharge the debt that otherwise qualifies to be discharged in your case. Thus, if you sign the reaffirmation and later default on your payments, your secured lender has the legal right to repossess the collateral.

The applicable statute for reaffirmation agreements is found at 11 U.S.C. §524(c). A standard reaffirmation contract sets forth that the debtor can keep possession of the collateral as long as he or she makes timely payments as set forth in the new agreement.

The lawyer for your lender typically drafts the reaffirmation agreement. The terms may remain the same as the original loan or they may be changed. You should be aware that reaffirmation agreements can have blanks that the debtor is required to fill-in, such as the financial information needed by the court to understand whether or not the debtor can afford to reaffirm the debt. Also, the debtor and your attorney are required to sign the reaffirmation.

Deciding whether or not to sign a reaffirmation agreement is very important. You should confer with a knowledgeable bankruptcy attorney to discuss your unique circumstances. Waiving your right to discharge a debt is a big decision that should only be made after conferring with your legal counsel.

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.


How the Automatic Stay is Impacted by Multiple Filings

automatic stay pic

If you have previously filed for bankruptcy protection and you are considering filing another case, it is important to understand that there are certain guideline for when and how you can do it.

The court looks at what type of case you filed the first time and whether you received a discharge of your debts to determine whether you qualify to file a second bankruptcy case,. In the majority of the cases, you can file a new bankruptcy case at any time if your prior filing was dismissed and you did not receive a discharge order from the court.

If your first case was a Chapter 7 and you obtained a discharge order from the court, you can:

  • file another Chapter 7 case and receive a discharge after 8 years from the petition date of your first case.
  • file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and receive a discharge order after 4 years from the petition date of your first case.

If your first case was under Chapter 13 and you received a discharge from the court, you can:

  • file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge order after 6 years from the petition date of your first case.
  • file another Chapter 13 bankruptcy after 2 years have passed from the time you filed the petition in your first case.

You should also be aware that if you have filed two or more bankruptcy cases that were dismissed within one year, the automatic stay will not be effective upon the filing of a subsequent case in the same year. This means that although you have filed bankruptcy, collection actions against you can continue until you have met certain requirements.

It is important to note, however, that there are consequences for filing more than one personal bankruptcy. A little-known penalty is that if you have had two or more bankruptcy filings dismissed within one year, the automatic stay does not go into effect in a subsequent case filed in that same year. In other words, none of your creditors are barred from continuing their collection efforts against you….at least until you meet certain conditions. To learn more, please read our blog titled “Serial Bankruptcy Filers – What You Should Know.”

If you have previously filed for bankruptcy relief and you are considering filing against, let us help. 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.


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