Jacksonville Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Realizing that you are in over your head in debt can be frightening. Life is complicated, and sometimes medical bills, a divorce, job loss, or other unforeseen events can lead to severe financial hardship. When faced with such expenses and a loss of resources, a person might begin to feel that there is simply no way to continue to get through the bills. The law recognizes that this can happen and that people need a way to start over.
Bankruptcy can serve as a way to clean a person’s slate and let them get back on track. If you found yourself facing debts you cannot pay, it might be time to speak to a Jacksonville Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer. Individuals who qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy can eliminate many of their debts. Call the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway at 904-694-5489 to discuss your legal options for tackling your debt and getting your finances on track.
Why File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
There are multiple forms of bankruptcy available, but for most individual debtors, the best option will be Chapter 7. If a person files for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the process will effectively erase many of their debts. Other forms of bankruptcy may allow a person to restructure debts, but they will still have to make payments.
Not everyone will be able to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but those who can find that they will be free from many of their debts in a short period of time. Call for a free consultation to see if you are eligible for Chapter 7.
Qualifying for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
There are legal limitations on who can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Legislators place such limits to prevent high-earners from unnecessarily filing for bankruptcy to write off debts they could manage to repay. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is an extraordinary tool for those who need it, and so there are restrictions to prevent those who do not need it from filing.
If you earn less than the median income for households of your size, then you can likely file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. People who earn greater than the median income can still file, but first, they must complete schedules detailing their monthly income and expenses. If the schedules indicate that a person can pay their bills, then that individual might not have the ability to file Chapter 7. Of course, other forms of bankruptcy could help these individuals, so it is still worth seeking legal counsel.
Once you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and receive a discharge, you cannot file again for eight years. It is important to keep this fact in mind when filing for bankruptcy. If you rapidly acquire new debts shortly after filing, you could end up in just as much trouble, but without a solution. You can file Chapter 13 after you receive a discharge in Chapter 7, but there are waiting periods that determine whether the debt will be discharged. Contacting a Jacksonville, Florida bankruptcy attorney is the first step in learning the best options in your case.
Is Your Debt Dischargeable?
Currently, the total student loan debt in the United States is about 1.6 trillion dollars. Not surprisingly, many students would jump at the chance to discharge their share of that number. Unfortunately, most people cannot discharge such debt, even in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Getting rid of a student loan in bankruptcy requires proving to the court that being forced to repay the loan would create an “undue hardship.” Proving this fact used to be nearly impossible, but it’s worth your while to discuss your particular situation with an attorney to see whether your student loans could get eliminated in bankruptcy or not.
There are other forms of debt that the law also protects, including spousal and child support, most tax liabilities, and some criminal fees. If your main debt is not one that bankruptcy can discharge, then filing Chapter 7 might not be the best strategy in your case. However, many people find themselves struggling with multiple forms of debt, some of which they can clear in bankruptcy. Discharging credit card debt or other loans can make it possible for a person to make the non-dischargeable debt payments. For instance, without the $400 a month credit card bill, perhaps a person can pay their $300 student loans without risking their ability to pay rent. Of course, each case is unique, so it is important to speak to a Jacksonville bankruptcy lawyer who can counsel you regarding your debt and the best options for you.
Timeline for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Before you file for bankruptcy, the courts make you take a credit counseling course. To file your petition, you will have to gather all of the necessary documents and information. Once you file, your creditors must stop taking collection actions against you. You will also have to file a document called a “Statement of Intention,” which details your intentions to keep certain property as collateral or whether you plan to make payments on a certain property. The court has the authority to approve or deny such intentions. Around six weeks after you file, you must attend a brief meeting with the bankruptcy trustee.
Most cases end around six months after filing. If you hire an attorney, that person will handle many technical aspects and advocate for you when needed, including coming with you to your meeting with bankruptcy trustee.
Hiring a Jacksonville, Florida Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Bankruptcy is a legal process. While you have the right to file on your own, having a lawyer means that you have a resource who can work to make the process run smoothly, navigate the system, advocate on your behalf, and protect your rights. Call the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway today at 904-694-5489 for a free consultation with a compassionate and smart Jacksonville Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney.