Consumers opting for bankruptcy may find relief under either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code. Each type of bankruptcy has its own eligibility requirements, and each one operates differently regarding how the bankruptcy affects your debts. Both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 also have some features in common, such as the “automatic stay” provision which can put an immediate stop to collections and creditor harassment. As knowledgeable bankruptcy attorneys in Clearwater, we take the time to get to know your situation and advise you on which option is better for you. And if bankruptcy is not your best option and you could be better served negotiating a debt settlement or credit card resolution, we will let you know that too.
Chapter 7 is commonly known as “straight bankruptcy” because it involves a straight discharge of debts without having to create and adhere to any type of repayment plan. Chapter 7 is also known as “liquidation bankruptcy,” because in theory the debtor is required to sell off, or liquidate, their assets to pay off their creditors before any debts may be discharged. In reality, however, most people are able to take advantage of Florida’s liberal bankruptcy exemptions and can retain most, if not all of their property, while at the same receiving a discharge of most, if not all, of their debt.
A Chapter 13 debt adjustment, also known as a “wage earner’s plan,” differs from Chapter 7 in that it is more of a debt consolidation and repayment plan than a straight discharge of debts. Chapter 13 does allow you to discharge some debt while repaying others over a three or five-year plan. Chapter 13 works best for working people with a steady paycheck who are able to set aside some of their income each month toward a payment plan. Chapter 13 is also an option for debtors who do not qualify for Chapter 7.
An attractive feature of Chapter 13 is that you do not have to worry about losing any of your possessions to secured creditors, including your home or car. In fact, perhaps the most attractive feature of Chapter 13 is its ability to save your home from foreclosure. Even if you have received a notice of default and the foreclosure process has begun, Chapter 13 can put a stop to that foreclosure and allow you to catch up your arrears and pay them off over time. Although our firm provides a vigorous foreclosure defense practice, bankruptcy is often the best solution to saving your home and getting back on your feet financially.
Experienced Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Lawyers
Don’t wait to get your life back in order. Contact the Tampa Bay, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyers at Perry Draper Law, PLLC for a free consultation to find out whether bankruptcy is right for you and how we can help you get back on your feet.