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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.


Read This BEFORE you sign a Reaffirmation Agreement

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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.


The Debts Your Bankruptcy will NOT Discharge

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One of the primary benefits of filing a personal bankruptcy is the elimination of debt. In a typical filing, the debtor is granted a discharge order as soon as his or her bankruptcy case has been successfully completed. The court clerk where you filed your case mails a copy of your discharge order to all of your creditors and other interested parties. However, it is important to understand that there are certain debts that are not eligible for discharge.

The majority of consumer debts qualify to be discharged in bankruptcy. This means that when you receive your discharge order, your liability to pay the debts has been cancelled. You are no longer obligated to pay the debt and the creditor or collector is prohibited from taking action to collect it from you. However, below are examples of the types of debts that are excluded under the law from being discharged:

  • Child support and spousal support payments
  • Certain taxes
  • Most student loans
  • Debts that were incurred by fraud, embezzlement or larceny
  • Debts related to personal injury resulting from willful or malicious conduct
  • Debts that were not properly listed or included in your bankruptcy case
  • Fines or penalties owed to government entities
  • Certain homeowner’s association fees or condominium fees
  • Monetary judgments against you for personal injury or wrongful death caused by your intoxication

If you are considering filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, it is essential that you confer with a bankruptcy attorney regarding your individual debts. We can review your financial situation and help you understand how a bankruptcy filing will benefit you and how your debt will be impacted, including informing you of any debts that you may remain liable to pay after your case has concluded. To learn more, contact us today to schedule your initial consultation.


Why YOU Should File Chapter 7

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When you are struggling to pay your bills and considering filing for bankruptcy protection, it is important to understand which type of filing is best for you. This blog will discuss the benefits of filing a Chapter 7. Be sure to read our next blog to learn more about the benefits of a Chapter 13 filing.

Below are a few examples of some of the advantages of filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy:

  • Protection from creditors. As soon as you file your bankruptcy, the automatic stay is effective. The stay prohibits most collection activity from continuing against you while your bankruptcy is pending.
  • Comprehensive debt relief. Most, if not all, of your unsecured debts will be discharged or eliminated in a Chapter 7. The most common unsecured debts are credit card bills and medical debt.
  • Timely debt relief. A typical Chapter 7 filing lasts four to six months, which is a relatively short period of time when compared to the three to five years a Chapter 13 case lasts.
  • Assets protected by exemptions. While a Chapter 7 filing is often called a “liquidation bankruptcy,” the reality is that most debtors do not lose their assets. Under the law, there are numerous exemptions that protect certain assets from being included in your bankruptcy estate. Examples include protections for your home, vehicle, qualified retirement account and other types of valuable assets. In fact, it is common for a Chapter 7 debtor to discharge all of his or her debt while maintaining possession of all of his or her assets.
  • Affordable. A Chapter 7 case is generally less expensive than filing a Chapter 13 case. A Chapter 7 doesn’t last as long, so your lawyer’s fees and costs are usually lower.

The above are just a few examples of the benefits of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To learn more or how a Chapter 7 filing would impact your debt, contact us to schedule an initial consultation.

Don’t delay obtaining your relief from debt 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.


Debt Collection after Bankruptcy

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One of the primary benefits of seeking bankruptcy protection is that the automatic stay stops all collection efforts against you. Once you have completed your case and obtained your discharge order, your dischargeable debts are eliminated and collectors are barred from taking any collection actions against you to recover the discharged debts. Unfortunately, this does not always mean that collectors won’t attempt to contact you. If this happens, below are a few suggestions on how to handle it:

  • Stay calm – in many cases, the collector has made an error that can be resolved.
  • Look over your bankruptcy pleadings and verify that the creditor was included in your filing and given notice of it.
  • Confirm that your discharge order was entered and filed with the bankruptcy court. If you don’t know if you received your discharge, contract your bankruptcy lawyer or the court clerk for help. You should be sure to keep a copy of your discharge order with your important documents.
  • It is important that you understand that certain types of debts are not dischargeable. You must confirm that the collector is not attempting to collect a debt that was not discharged in your case. Most consumer debts such as credit card and medical debt is dischargeable.
  • Once you verify that the creditor was included in your bankruptcy case, the debt the collector is attempting to collect was discharged, and your received your discharge order, contact the creditor and inform them.
  • To be safe, we recommend confirming your conversation with the debt collector in a follow-up letter and providing them with a copy of your discharge order. Be sure to keep a copy of this letter for your records.

The above steps should resolve the issue. However, if you take the above measures and the collector continues to contact or harass you, contact us for help. A creditor or collector that continues to ignore your bankruptcy discharge can be held liable by the court. 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.


Bankruptcy Discharge vs. Dismissal

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When you are considering filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case, there are several legal terms that you will hear and it is important to understand what they mean. Two of the most important terms to familiarize yourself with are “discharge” and “dismissal.”

Discharge

One of the main goals of filing a personal bankruptcy is to discharge or eliminate your debt. A discharge order from the bankruptcy court cancels your liability to pay the discharged debts. In most cases, your discharge means you are no longer obligated to pay your credit card bills, medical bills and other types of debts you included in your filing.

Dismissal

You typically want to avoid having your bankruptcy case dismissed at all costs. A dismissal usually means that something has gone wrong in your filing and the court is closing your case without discharging your debt. A dismissal acts as if your bankruptcy case was never filed and you remain liable to pay all of your creditors. It also means that you are no longer protected by the automatic stay and collection activity can re-commence against you.

Discharge and dismissal are examples of legal jargon that sound similar, but have opposite meanings. We understand that filing a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 case can be intimidating, especially when you’re not familiar with the terminology being used by the court. We will be by your side every step of the way and make sure you understand what decisions are being made in your case. Don’t delay obtaining the debt relief you need because you are scared of the process. Let us help.

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


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