Yes, you can still file for bankruptcy. However, a very important part of every bankruptcy case is your exemptions. Exemptions allow you to keep your real and personal property. There are federal exemptions, but most states have adopted their own exemption laws. To use Florida exemptions in your bankruptcy, there are residency requirements. If you have lived in Florida for the 730 days prior to your filing, you can use Florida’s exemptions. If you have not lived here for that long, then your exemptions will be those of the state in which you resided for during the 180 days prior to your filing or the federal exemptions, whichever your prior state’s law indicates.
Florida is often seen as having a liberal homestead exemption, as it allows you to keep your home despite unsecured creditors. However, to use the Florida homestead exemption, you must have owned the home for 1215 days, otherwise you can only protect up to $125,000 in equity. Since nearly half the homes in Florida are underwater on their mortgage, it is a rare circumstance that anyone has more equity that the federal system allows. If you are unclear what exemptions you are allowed to use, contact a Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney today to discuss your specific case and what exemptions would be best for you.