Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is typically considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some substantial long-term consequences warranting careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Being a product of federal law, bankruptcy will go through federal courts. Accordingly, the procedure for filing for bankruptcy in Florida is basically the same as the procedure anywhere else in the United States. However, individual courts in Clearwater, Florida will have distinct rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Clearwater, Florida
There are 2 typical forms of consumer bankruptcy in Clearwater, Florida: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 liquidates some of the debtor's assets. It requires a certain percentage of the debtor's assets to be sold off to pay as much of his or her debt as possible. However, many types of property that most people own are exempt, meaning that they don't need to be sold. This often includes houses, vehicles, insurance policies, and necessary personal items, like clothing. These assets are not available to creditors.
Once the appropriate property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is absolved. Some types of debt, however, can't be excused in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Clearwater, Florida. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be excused, Chapter 7 might not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Clearwater, Florida
Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Clearwater, Florida is markedly different. It may or may not be a better option than Chapter 7, depending on the facts of your specific case. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy involves a court setting up a modified payment plan, which allows the debtor to pay off most or all of his debts over an extended period of time, through monthly payments that should, assuming that the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Clearwater, Florida
Chapter 13 is typically a good option for people who have a steady income, and a large amount of non-exempt property that they can't part with. On the other hand, if most of the debtor's property is exempt, and he or she does not have a steady income, Chapter 7 might be more beneficial.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Clearwater, Florida who is experienced in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely results of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.