Bankruptcy is a legal procedure that allows an individual or business to have some or all of their debts discharged. It is normally considered as an option of last resort, because while it can stave off financial disaster, it has some considerable long-term consequences warranting careful consideration of the costs and benefits. Being a creation of federal law, bankruptcy will go through federal courts. Accordingly, the process for filing for bankruptcy in Florida is essentially the same as the process anywhere else in the United States. However, particular courts in Fort Myers, Florida will have particular rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Fort Myers, Florida
There are 2 main types of consumer bankruptcy in Fort Myers, Florida: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 states that a certain percentage of the debtor's property be liquidated to pay off at least a small part of their debt. However, many forms of property are exempt, and do not need to be liquidated, such as cars, homes, insurance policies, and retirement accounts.
Once all non-exempt assets are sold, and the money from the sales turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is absolved. But some forms of debt cannot be discharged through Chapter 7 bankruptcy. These include child support payments, student loans, and criminal fines, among others. If most of your Fort Myers, Florida debts are not dischargeable, you may want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Fort Myers, Florida
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Fort Myers, Florida is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is very dependent on the facts of each particular case. Chapter 13 does not excuse any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Typically, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this may make it take longer to pay off the debt, if the debtor is willing to make a few sacrifices, the plan should be manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Fort Myers, Florida
This depends entirely on the facts of your individual case. If you have a decent amount of stable income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much stable income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy lawyer in Fort Myers, Florida. Your lawyer can make an educated judgment as to what your best option is, and advise you accordingly (of course, the choice to file for bankruptcy is ultimately yours).