Articles Posted in Chapter 13

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When you file bankruptcy all, if not most, of your debts are discharged, which means you are no longer responsible for them. A Reaffirmation Agreement is a brand new agreement or contract between you and your creditor in which you voluntarily choose to remain liable for the debt after you receive your bankruptcy discharge. The terms of the Reaffirmation Agreement are generally exactly the same as the terms of your original contract. There are two major types of debts that you most likely will have to sign a Reaffirmation Agreement for if you wish to keep the property secured by the debt. These two types of debts are car loans and mortgages.

Ok, so you filed bankruptcy. Your vehicle is financed and you believe that by filing bankruptcy it will be much easier to continue making your car payments. When you are contacted by the finance company about reaffirming the car loan, you do so without hesitation. However, a month or two into the reaffirmation agreement, you realize that it is still very difficult to make the monthly payments and decide it would be a better decision to surrender the vehicle and purchase a new vehicle with lower monthly payments. Can you change your mind and rescind the Reaffirmation Agreement? The answer is, as usual in the legal field, possibly and it depends. Continue reading →

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marriage-150x150One thought that many people think about when getting married, is what their future spouse’s credit history is and their ability to obtain new debt. A correlating question is how will their future spouse’s credit history affect their own ability to obtain new debt. Why? Because they most likely, one day in the future, would like to know they have the option to purchase a new home, motor vehicle, or simply just obtain new debt. It can become much more concerning if your future spouse has filed bankruptcy within the last few years. How will their bankruptcy affect your ability to obtain new debt? Unfortunately, there are a lot of factors that can affect the answer to this question. So, regrettably, the answer is that it will depend.

Most importantly, it is crucial to make note that the fact alone that your future spouse filed bankruptcy, regardless of when, is absolutely immaterial to your individual credit report. Your credit report will not merge with your future spouse’s credit report simply because you got married. You both will maintain separate and apart credit reports. In other words, your individual credit report will remain the same as it was before getting married. However, by being married, your spouse may have to sign certain types of contracts. Continue reading →

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When filing for bankruptcy, regardless of what chapter of bankruptcy you are filing, you must disclose in your Petition if you have any pending claims. In laymen’s terms, this means that if you have any reason to file a lawsuit against any person or entity, such as against a business because you slipped and fell while in their store, you must inform the Bankruptcy Court. The reason for this is any money you might be entitled to recover from said person or entity for any harm they caused you will most likely be considered a part of your bankruptcy estate and distributed to your creditors.

Properly disclosing a possible claim was recently considered by the Illinois Second District Appellate Court. Prior to filing bankruptcy, the Debtor in question was visiting a store. While in the store, another customer caused some of the store’s inventory to be knocked over, which then fell onto the Debtor. As a result, the Debtor was injured and later had to have surgery. Shortly after having surgery, the Debtor filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and did not list any pending claims in his Bankruptcy Petition. However, the Debtor later amended his Bankruptcy Petition to include a possible pending claim for around $15,000.00. Continue reading →

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Protect_thumb-150x150The first and most important thing to keep in mind when trying to rent after filing bankruptcy is the fact that you having filed bankruptcy, in itself, is not going to completely inhibit you from finding an apartment or home to rent. Nonetheless, and of course, a potential landlord will take filing bankruptcy into account as well as the circumstances around your decision to file bankruptcy, as well as where you stand today.

Here are some other items your future landlord is going to look at, some of which might just completely overshadow the fact you ever filed bankruptcy.

Your Rental History

If you have a good rental history, in that you can show that you have always been on time with paying your rent and have not broken any of your leases with previous landlords, then your potential landlord should not be too concerned about the fact you filed bankruptcy. Continue reading →

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Rule 2004 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure, notoriously referred to as the 2004 Examination, is usually used by a Bankruptcy Trustee and is similar to a deposition to a few caveats. 2004 Examinations have famously been referred to as a shipping expedition.

What Is a Rule 2004 Examination?

Rule 2004 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure states that “[o]n motion of any party in interest, the court may order the examination of any entity” regarding “the acts, conduct, or property or…the liabilities and financial condition of the debtor, or to any matter which may affect the administration of the debtor’s estate, or to the debtor’s right to a discharge….”

Rule 2004 is very broad and loose. There are very few procedural safeguards or objections available to improperly posed questions. The main purpose of the 2004 Examination is to discover undisclosed assets, question transactions and determine if the debtor has committed any fraud. Continue reading →

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Roughly about 30 to 45 days after you file bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida, whether it is a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, you will be required to appear at the Meeting of Creditors, a/k/a the 341 Hearing, along with your attorney. At this meeting, your assigned Trustee places you under oath and asks you a series of questions about your Bankruptcy Petition and the supporting documents that you provided to him or her.

dedective46-150x150However, very recently I have had a lot of clients come to me very concerned and worried about this meeting. They want to know what to expect. The best thing you can do to be prepared is to know what types of questions the Trustee might ask you.

Here are a few sample questions of what your Trustee might ask you and things you should keep in mind when under oath at your 341 Meeting in Jacksonville:

1. Once you have been placed under oath, your Trustee will have you state your full legal name and your current residence and/or mailing address? Continue reading →

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carmini-150x150While it is true that the exemptions allowed in Florida only allow you to keep $1,000.00 of equity in a motor vehicle, most people who file bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida get to keep their vehicles. This is because financed or leased vehicles can just about always be kept by simply continuing to make your normal monthly payments as if the bankruptcy was never filed. This is of course as long as the vehicle is a reasonable necessity for your, or your dependents’, care and support.

What if my vehicle has equity?

A different set of rules applies however when your vehicle has equity that is above the $1,000.00 exemption that is allowed in Florida. For example, when you owe your vehicle free and clear. In such a situation, you might be able to use a wild card exemption to protect the rest of the equity. However, if you are unable to exempt all of the equity, then you may be forced to surrender the vehicle or pay your Trustee the un-exempt equity amount in order to keep the vehicle. Most of the time, your Trustee will allow you to make monthly payments for the equity.

There are two tests that the Trustee will do in deciding if you should keep your vehicle. The first is to determine whether it is feasible. Meaning, if the monthly payments are reasonable and affordable for you. The second and more significant test when keeping the vehicle is whether it is in the “best interest of your creditors.” United States Bankruptcy Code 11 U.S.C. § 1129(a)(7)(A)(ii) states that in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, your creditors must receive, at the very least, the amount they would have received had you filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. As an illustration, if you own a motorcycle and wish to keep it in your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, then if that motorcycle would have been liquidated in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, then you will either have to surrender the motorcycle or pay the value of it through your Chapter 13 Plan. Continue reading →

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Just like all other legal processes and proceedings, bankruptcy can not only be difficult to navigate, but it can also be a little bit scary. Luckily, most of the things about bankruptcy that make it seem like a scary and difficult process happen to be nothing other than misinformation. This is why it is so important to speak with an experienced Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney who can aid you in weighing your options, assist you in deciding if bankruptcy is right for you, help you understand exactly what to anticipate when filing bankruptcy, and inform you on how filing bankruptcy will affect your today as well as all of your tomorrows. The more knowledge you have and the more you are prepared the easier it will be to make filing bankruptcy as easy and smooth of an experience as possible. Here are some of the biggest bankruptcy fables debugged:

Fable 1: Those who file bankruptcy are fiscally irresponsible.

Of course, there will always be individuals who are irresponsible and abuse the right to file bankruptcy. But in reality, the majority of people who file bankruptcy are good people with good intentions who have suffered a job loss, a divorce or illness. All of which have either lowered their income or increased their expenses, which in turn, have prevented them from being able to pay all of their expenses.

Fable 2: If I file for bankruptcy, everyone will know.

Yes, who files bankruptcy is public knowledge, but that is only because most bankruptcy documents are a public record, which is the same with the majority of all other legal proceedings. However, the fact that you filed bankruptcy will not be published in your local newspaper. In order for someone to find out that you have filed bankruptcy, they will most likely have to run a background check or pull your credit report. The other exception is for attorneys. Most attorneys have usernames and passwords that allow them to search the bankruptcy court dockets. Continue reading →

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protect-money-umbrellaAs 2016 comes to an end, the 2017 Tax Season will begin. Federal law requires that all employers provide their employees with their W2s no later than January 31st, so that federal income taxes may be filed by April 18th. Bankrate predicted in 2015 that thirty percent of the public who would receive a 2014 tax refund would use that refund to assist them with lowering their debt and that many of this thirty percent would use their tax refund to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. This statistic has remained unchanged for many years.

The most advantageous benefit to using your tax return to help you file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is that using your tax refund to fund your bankruptcy allows you to use your refund in an essential and reasonable manner. When you use your tax refund in an essential and reasonable manner such as filing bankruptcy, then your tax refund most likely will be protected from your creditors and well spent. Continue reading →

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As a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyer I have had many clients come to me to file bankruptcy with many misconceptions about bankruptcy. Because of these misconceptions, clients often put off filing bankruptcy until they have absolutely no other option. Yet most of these misunderstandings are false. Here are the most common misconceptions my clients have had about filing bankruptcy. In fact, after reading this filing bankruptcy might not seem as scary of a process.

1. Credit:

The most common misconception I have heard about filing a Jacksonville Bankruptcy is that filing bankruptcy ruins your credit and you will never be able to get credit again. This notion is absolutely false. However, it is true that a bankruptcy filing can appear on your credit report for up to 10 years. However, this does not necessarily mean the bankruptcy will hurt your credit rating. In reality, filing bankruptcy most likely will only help improve your credit score. The reason that filing bankruptcy will help improve your credit score is because your credit score is most likely already ruined by the time you file bankruptcy. Therefore, filing bankruptcy will likely not do any more damage to your credit report. Instead, filing bankruptcy helps to improve your credit report by taking away your credit card balances, stopping all of the negative credit reporting and finally giving you the opportunity to start improving your credit report.

If you file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you can even obtain new credit during your Chapter 13 Plan. You will just have to obtain permission from the court first. If you file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, then you might find that you receive many new credit card offers in the mail in no time after receiving your Bankruptcy Discharge. This is because you no longer have any debt and are seen as a good candidate for credit by credit card companies. But, keep in mind these credit card offers aren’t going to have the best interest rates. However, over time, as long as you pay your credit card on time each month, you will improve your credit score and will be able to get a credit card with a good interest rate in the future. Continue reading →

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