Struggling with Debt? Here’s How to File Bankruptcy in Florida

There are so many people out there struggling with debt, paying their bills, paying their rent and mortgage and more during the global COVID-19 pandemic. If you are one of those people, you might want to consider learning how to file bankruptcy in Florida. Bankruptcy is typically the best solution if you are struggling to keep up with your debt and in the hole. Bankruptcy enables people to stop all debt collection efforts and gain a fresh start. 

Once your bankruptcy is filed, all wage garnishments, foreclosure sales, phone calls and collection notices are required to immediately stop. Bankruptcy has a number of advantages, but it’s certainly not for everyone. We recommend hiring a bankruptcy attorney if you are considering filing for bankruptcy in order to get the legal advice you need. During this guide, we will offer you all of the info you need to know about how to file bankruptcy in Florida.

How common is bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is fairly common. In the year 2018 alone, there were over 750,000 bankruptcies filed across the United States. And it’s not surprising. The average American currently has about $38,000 in debt, according to recent studies. And according to a study by the American Journal of Medicine, about 62 percent of all bankruptcy cases are caused by medical expenses and 92 percent of people filing bankruptcy due to medical debt have over $5,000 in medical debt alone.

The three different types of bankruptcy

Wondering how to file bankruptcy in Florida? There are free main types of bankruptcy when you are filing bankruptcy in Florida:

  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 bankruptcy includes the sale of non-exempt property in order to pay off creditors. Not everyone is eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, since there are certain income limits that must be met. People who want to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy must take a means test to determine if their income is higher or lower than the average median income for their household size in their state. Even if your income is higher than the average median income, you might still be eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if you can prove that you don’t have any discretionary income after paying all of your bills.
  • Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Also known as reorganization bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy includes developing a payment plan of about three to five years in order to repay your debts. If you are able to stick to your repayment plan and pay off all of your debts over the course of three to five years, then you are allowed to keep all of your property and discharge your debt.
  • Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy is different from the other two bankruptcies because it is specifically created to help struggling corporations and businesses. With a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the company filing for bankruptcy is allowed to continue to operate, but their finances are restructured in order to repay creditors as much as they can.

Where do I file bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is usually filed in federal court in the district where the person in debt lives, based on the most recent six months before filing the bankruptcy base. If you have lived multiple places in the past six months, the filing takes place where you spent the most time. Businesses should file where their company is located, while corporations should file in the district where the business is incorporated. The main place of business usually depends on the circumstances and facts of the case. Many companies conduct their business in multiple states and have locations across the United States, so the place that they file bankruptcy should be where their primary business decisions were made in the six months before the bankruptcy was filed.

Documents needed for Chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcies

When learning how to file bankruptcy in Florida, you need to know which paperwork and documents you need. You need access to certain documents to verify that your petition is correct, so before you file bankruptcy, make sure to complete the following information:

  • Your source of income, how often you are paid and how much you are paid. This information is needed from you and your spouse if applicable. This information is required from your spouse, even if your spouse is not filing bankruptcy with you, since the court, trustee and creditors need to figure out your household financial situation.
  • A list of your creditors. In addition to listing all of your creditors, you will also need to detail the nature of the debt, the amount of money owed to each creditor and their mailing addresses.
  • A list of all of your property. When listing all of your property, you should include any real estate and all of your personal items.
  • A detailed list of your monthly living expenses. You will need to list out all of your monthly living expenses, including shelter, transportation, taxes, food, clothing and medicine. These expenses need to be reasonable and necessary for the maintenance of your household and family. You can’t include any luxury items or services in this list.

How to file bankruptcy in Florida

When you are filing for bankruptcy in Florida, you will be required to attend a meeting of the creditors in court, also known as a 341 meeting, because the meeting is necessary, according to section 341 of the bankruptcy code. If you fail to attend this meeting, your bankruptcy case will likely be dismissed. You are allowed to have your bankruptcy attorney with you at the meeting. In fact, we would strongly recommend bringing a bankruptcy attorney with you to this meeting.

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy and need a little more help learning how to file bankruptcy in Florida, the Van Horn Law Group can help. Contact us or visit our website to learn more here.

Article Name
How to File Bankruptcy in Florida
During this guide, we will offer you all of the info you need to know about how to file bankruptcy in Florida.
Chad Van Horn
Van Horn Law Group
Van Horn Law Group
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Chad Van Horn

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