Published on:

pastdue-150x150If you fall very far behind on your credit card payments, or any other kind of debt for that matter, your debt might appear as having been charged-off on your credit report. A charge-off occurs when you are at least 180 days behind on your credit card payments, and the bank decides that the debt is no longer collectible and decides to write it off as a loss. However, this does not mean you no longer owe the debt. You are still 100% responsible for the debt. But what do you do and what should you expect?

The debt will have to be repaid.

At first, you might think that it is a good thing that your debt has been charged-off and you might even think that you no longer owe the debt. Unfortunately, when your bank decides your account is uncollectible, that is simply an accounting term. It in no way affects your liability for the entire debt owed. However, there is one caveat. The bank can only collect on the debt until the statute of limitations expires. In Florida, the statute of limitations for a credit card debt is five years. Continue reading →

Published on:

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 →

Published on:

Protect_thumb-150x150Every six months, specifically in May and November of each year, the United States Department of Justice updates the Median Family Income figures in every state. In turn, these figures determine whether an individual or a couple qualify to file a Jacksonville Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. More specifically, if your income is below the median income for your household size in your state, then you most likely qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy; however, if your median income is above the income allowed for your family size in your state, then you will have to file under Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code.

How do I know if my income qualifies for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida?

You will have to pass something called the MEANS Test in order to qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida. The MEANS Test is more or less a comparison between your income over the last six months and your household size.

The Median Family Income in Florida as of November 1, 2016 are:

  • Family size of 1: $3,668 per month, or $44,021 per year;
  • Family size of 2: $4,555 per month, or $54,655 per year;
  • Family size of 3: $4,990 per month, or $49,881 per year;
  • Family size of 4: $5,957 per month, or $71,480 per year;
  • Family size of 5: $6,657 per month, or $79,880 per year;
  • Family size of 6: $7,657 per month, or $88,280 per year,
  • Family size of 7: $8,057 per month, or $96,680 per year.

For each additional family member you have, you can add $7,500 per year. Continue reading →

Published on:

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 →

Published on:

home-in-foreclosure-thumb-250x166-2941When the foreclosure crisis began, many Jacksonville Foreclosure Defense Attorney’s argued that a mortgage foreclosure action must be brought within five years after the borrower defaulted on their mortgage payments. However, time and time again the Foreclosure Judges in the Jacksonville and surrounding areas ruled that mortgage foreclosure actions were not barred by Florida’s five year statute of limitations as defined by Florida Statute 95.11(2)(c). Yet, the Florida Supreme Court had not spoken on this matter until now.

The Florida Supreme Court has finally spoken and confirmed that Florida’s five year statute of limitations, which is a question of great public importance, defined by Florida Statute 95.11(2)(c) does not apply to mortgage foreclosure actions. The decision came on November 3, 2016 in U.S. Bank v. Bartram; SC14-1265 (Fla. Nov. 3, 2016). The certified question before the Florida Supreme Court answered is as follows:

Does acceleration of payments due under a residential note and mortgage with a reinstatement provision in a foreclosure action that was dismissed pursuant to Rule 1.420(b), Florida Rules of Civil Procedure, trigger application of the statute of limitations to prevent a subsequent foreclosure action by the mortgagee based on payment defaults occurring subsequent to dismissal of the first foreclosure suit?

Published on:

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 →

Published on:

debtWhen thinking about filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida, not knowing or understanding the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Process can make filing bankruptcy seem very overwhelming and scary. Not only are Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorneys asked about what to expect after filing bankruptcy; they are also asked what clients should and should not do before filing for bankruptcy. In order to help you better understand the Jacksonville Bankruptcy Process, please see below for a general timeline of events you should be familiar with.

6 to 8 Years Before Filing a Jacksonville Chapter 7 Bankruptcy:

If you filed a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy before AND received a discharge of your debts, then you will not be eligible to file a new Chapter 7 Bankruptcy before eight years after you filed your previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

If you filed a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy AND received a discharge, you might be able to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy after six years if you paid a minimum of 70% of your unsecured claims.

1 Year Before Filing:

Your Bankruptcy Trustee can look back as far as one year for debts paid back to relatives or close business partners. What this means is that a payment made to a relative or business partner could be construed as a preferential payment over your other creditors. If this should happen, the Court could take the payment back from them in order to distribute it evenly to all of your other creditors.

This same concept holds true if you have tried to hide your assets from your creditors by transferring, destroying or hiding any of your property within one year of filing Bankruptcy. In this situation, the Trustee might deny a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy discharge and/or recover the property.

However, your Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney may prefer that you wait two years to ensure there are no issues when you do file. Continue reading →

Published on:

One of the best benefits of declaring a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Jacksonville, Florida is the ability to “Cram Down” certain assets such as a car loan, certain real estate debts, or even some personal property. A cram down allows debtors to lower the principal balance and interest rates on debts they owe on secured debts. A Jacksonville Bankruptcy Attorney can help you determine if any of your debts might be eligible for a cram down through bankruptcy.

So how does an asset qualify for a cram down? First, the debt must be a secured loan. A debt is a secured loan when a lender has a security interest in the asset or collateral. This interest grants the lender certain rights to the asset, such as the right of repossession of the item if the debtor defaults on his or her payments. The most common type of security interests are found in cars and houses.

A cram down can occur when a person declares a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Unlike a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, this type of bankruptcy requires that the debtor pays back his or her debts through a repayment program, which lasts 3 to 5 years.   It is important to note that a person’s homestead property does not qualify for this benefit. Continue reading →

Published on:

Police are currently investigating a loan modification and debt consolidation business in Florida. The owners supposedly presented themselves to clients as attorneys but were not licensed attorneys at all. The Boca Raton company claimed to be an industry leader in foreclosure and pre-foreclosure litigation in South Florida.

According to authorities, the two men convinced homeowners to stop paying their mortgages and to ignore notices from their mortgage holders to let them negotiate with the lenders. The scheme tricked homeowners into paying high upfront monthly legal fees for legal services that were not performed or supervised by a Florida attorney.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi has also filed a lawsuit against these networks of fraudulent attorneys for the unlicensed practice of law.   Bondi claims the network, which held itself out to be a group of 100 attorneys, posed as lawyers to take advantage of vulnerable clients.   The people behind the scheme also duped inexperienced young attorneys into working for them, and the defendants even used real names of actual Florida attorneys without their knowledge. Continue reading →

Published on:

Law bookAgainst common belief, filing bankruptcy can be a very easy process; especially if you are filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Knowing what to expect when filing bankruptcy as well as hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney are the keys to making it as easy of a process as possible. The goal of this article is to inform you of what to expect when filing bankruptcy.

Regardless of whether you are planning to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, the beginning of the process is very similar. If you choose to hire an attorney, which I strongly encourage you to do, the process begins with an initial consultation in which you and your attorney discuss your reasons for filing bankruptcy, your income and household size, as well as your assets. Depending on your goals, income and assets, you and your attorney will discuss the pros and cons of filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy verses a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy and together come up with a plan that is unique to your specific set of circumstances.

Once you have decided which type of bankruptcy you will be filing, the next step is to gather the documentation your attorney will need in order to prepare your bankruptcy petition. Your attorney will let you know what he or she will need, which differs depending on your specific set of circumstances. Once your attorney has all the documentation he or she will need for your petition, an appointment is set for you to meet with your attorney again in order to review your bankruptcy petition for completeness and accuracy. Once the petition has been reviewed and signed by you, your attorney will file it with the court and you are then automatically assigned a bankruptcy case number. Continue reading →

Contact Information