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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.

Contact Albaugh Law Firm online or call (904) 637-1839 to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer.
Click here for information about our services in Jacksonville.

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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. Is there something I can do if creditors keep harassing me after I file for bankruptcy?
    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 is complete.

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.