Orlando Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Most Orange County families live from paycheck to paycheck. About two-thirds of area families cannot pay cash for a $400 emergency expense. Therefore, most families are ill-equipped to handle the financial storms of life, such as temporary unemployment, sudden illness, or divorce or separation. The resulting unsecured debts, such as medical debts and credit card debt, pile up quickly. Typically, if your unsecured debt load exceeds 10 percent of your annual income, it’s not realistically possible to repay it. These families have basically two choices. They can watch things get worse, or they can do something about it.
Our compassionate Orlando Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer at the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway understands the dire financial straits that these families must navigate. Many of the people on our professional team have lived through similar experiences. This compassion motivates us to work extra hard to find long lasting solutions for these families. We set families up for success. In fact, by the time their court filings fall off their credit reports, many of our clients have forgotten that they filed in the first place.
Doctors and credit card companies quickly turn over unpaid accounts to collection agencies. Debt buyers must quickly collect these accounts in order to make money. So, they’re even more aggressive than the original creditors.
Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code is designed to give debtors the breathing room they need in these situations. The Automatic Stay prohibits most forms of creditor adverse actions, such as:
- Wage garnishment,
- Collection lawsuits,
- Creditor harassment, and
- Personal property.
Similar relief is available in civil court. However, civil debtors must have clear evidence of lender fraud or other wrongdoing. The Automatic Stay takes effect as soon as debtors file their voluntary bankruptcy petitions, at least in most cases. Once again, in most cases, this protection lasts until the judge closes the bankruptcy.
Normally, protection like this doesn’t come free. There is usually a tradeoff, which is why many Chapter 7 debtors expect to lose most or all of their property. In most cases, that’s not true. Florida has some of the broadest bankruptcy exemptions in the country. These property exemptions protect a family’s key assets, such as:
- Retirement account,
- Social Security and other government benefits,
- Motor vehicle, and
- Personal property.
An Orlando Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer maximizes these written exemptions. The home equity exemption is a good example. Legal loopholes, such as a tenancy of the entirety, protect even more of your home equity. Strategic asset valuation is another example. A home investor’s as-is cash offer might only be pennies on the dollar. That valuation could also extend the home equity exemption.
Unsecured Debt Forgiveness
We mentioned medical debt and credit card debt above. In as little as six months, Chapter 7 releases these unsecured debts, along with others, such as payday loans and Small Business Association loans.
Other unsecured debts are priority unsecured debts which are dischargeable in certain situations. Student loans and back taxes are the most common examples. Do-it-yourself filers have basically no chance to discharge any of these obligations. An attorney is usually able to obtain at least partial priority unsecured debt discharge.
Reach Out to a Dedicated Orlando Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney
Bankruptcy offers distressed debtors a way out. For a free consultation with an experienced Orlando Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer, contact the Law Offices of Carol M. Galloway, P.A. Convenient payment plans are available.