Bankruptcy FAQ for St. Augustine
More Than 70 Years of Legal Experience Combined
Are you struggling to pay your bills and feeling helpless as you watch
the debt pile up? At
Albaugh Law Firm, we believe there is always a solution to life’s biggest problems,
we just need to be willing to take the steps to find it. Bankruptcy has
become one of the most effective ways to eliminate debt and achieve a
clean financial slate. Our bankruptcy attorneys have been helping residents
of Jacksonville and St. Augustine attain debt-free futures for more than
60 years, and we would be honored to help you do the same.
Filing for Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 and
Chapter 13 are the two most common forms of bankruptcy, but before you can file,
you must receive credit counseling from an approved institution. This
must happen within six months prior to filing. In order to receive a bankruptcy
discharge, you are required to attend a debtor education course after
you officially file the paperwork.
You can choose which judicial district you want to file in:
- Northern District of Florida
- Middle District of Florida
- Southern District of Florida
Whether you choose Chapter 7 or 13, you will have to determine the bankruptcy
exemptions for which you qualify. It is then time to fill out and submit
your bankruptcy paperwork. The forms include a bankruptcy petition, as
well as other schedules based on the chapter under which you file. It
is important that you also fill out any additional forms required by your
judicial district, or else your entire bankruptcy proceeding could be
nullified and considered illegitimate.
Frequently Asked Questions About Bankruptcy
The fastest path to knowledge is to ask questions. In anticipation of what
our clients have needed to know in the past, we have compiled a list of
some of the most frequently asked questions regarding bankruptcy in Florida.
Review it as you wish but know that you can always call us at
(904) 450-5313 anytime if you would like to speak directly to one of our bankruptcy attorneys.
What happens after I file my bankruptcy petition?
All of your property will be collected in a temporary estate for easier
management and access during the bankruptcy; an automatic stay will be
put over your estate to stop creditors from taking from it or harassing
you for payments; and the bankruptcy court will notify all interested
parties that you have created an estate through a bankruptcy filing.
Will I need an attorney for my bankruptcy filing?
If you make a mistake in your bankruptcy case and wind up losing property
that could have remained yours, the court will not be interested in any
excuses, such as “I did not understand.” As with any legal
matter, your chances of success increase dramatically when you use the
help of a professional attorney.
Is it possible to have the bankruptcy petition filing fee waived?
As strange as it may seem, filing for bankruptcy is not free. The court’s
fees can either be staggered through an installment plan or waived entirely
if you submit the appropriate requests and qualify based on your income
and the type of bankruptcy you seek.
How do I know what bankruptcy type is right for my case?
If you think you need to wipe out your debt entirely at the sacrifice
of some or all of your nonexempt property, you may want to file for Chapter
7. If you believe you can repay a portion of your debt over time and would
like to keep most of your nonexempt property, consider Chapter 13. Your
own circumstances and finances will weigh heavily on what is best for
you, so review your options with your attorney before committing to a decision.
What are the main four types of debt?
Secured debt is tied to the collateralized property, which can be seized
to satisfy the debt. Unsecured debt is not bound to any property. Priority
debt takes precedence over any other debts bound to the same collateralized
property. Administrative debt is money owed to professionals after you
file for bankruptcy.
What is a bankruptcy discharge?
When you have completed your bankruptcy filing and done what you can to
repay creditors as defined by it, your debt will be discharged, barring
creditors from seeking payments or collateral from you for those debts.
For the most part, debts that are dischargeable include taxes, alimony,
money owed through civil lawsuits, and student loans that have been guaranteed
by the government.
What is a trustee’s role?
The trustee appointed to your bankruptcy case will act as an administrator
or someone who ensures the process is being respected and conducted in
a reasonable timeframe. They can also be responsible for collecting your
nonexempt assets as well as determining if what debts you can feasibly
repay. Sometimes the best choice is to have your own lawyer appointed
as your trustee so that you know the person in charge of your bankruptcy
filing is capable.
What is a 341 meeting of creditors?
Remember that you are not the only one affected by your bankruptcy –
your creditors are concerned about it as well. A 341 meeting of creditors
will be scheduled to allow any interested creditors to gather voluntarily
and interview you about your debt. You must answer their questions to
the best of your knowledge while under oath. As creditors have free reign
over what they ask you, they could be posing leading or loaded questions
to make it seem as if your bankruptcy is not justified. For this reason
and more, it is highly advised you attend your 341 meetings of creditors
with your bankruptcy attorney by your side.
Will my bankruptcy last forever on my credit report?
No. While the media and movies like to make bankruptcy seem like a permanent
stain on your reputation and credit report, this is an exaggerated untruth.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) mandates that your bankruptcy filing
will only stay on your credit report for 10 years maximum. Depending on
the circumstances of your case and the legal help you retain, it could
be possible to have it disappear off your report even sooner.
Is there something I can do if creditors keep harassing me after I file
Do not assume that the creditor is harassing you out of maliciousness,
as a miscommunication on their end could have prevented them from ever
hearing that you had filed for bankruptcy. First, respond promptly by
giving them your case name and number, as well as a filing date. Should
they persist, you can move for an official court order to stop them. If
the court finds that they were intentionally ignoring or violating the
automatic stay placed on your bankruptcy estate, they will likely be fined heavily.
Begin Today with Our St. Augustine Bankruptcy Lawyers
Bankruptcy can take as little as three months and as long as five years
based on how you file. The best thing you can do for your finances is to just
start – hesitation will only prolong your troubles. When you
contact our firm, we can assess your circumstances and create what we believe is the most
effective strategy. We will work with you until each phase of the process
Albaugh Law Firm provides more than just legal representation. We truly
invest in the lives of our clients and dedicate ourselves to giving you
the financial future you deserve.
Schedule your free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in St. Augustine today. Call (907) 637-1839.