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 Fort Lauderdale, Florida will have distinct rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
There are 2 typical forms of consumer bankruptcy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida: Chapter 7 and 13. Chapter 7 requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property be liquidated to pay off at least a small part of their debt. However, many types 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 excused. But some types 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 Lauderdale, Florida debts are not dischargeable, you might want to consider options other than bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Fort Lauderdale, Florida is very different from Chapter 7. Whether or not it is a better option is highly dependent on the facts of each distinct case. Chapter 13 does not absolve any debt, but it creates a new payment plan that should give the debtor some breathing room. Usually, all of the debts are consolidated into 1 periodic payment. While this might 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 Lauderdale, Florida
The answer to this question depends heavily on your distinct situation. If you have enough steady income to manage a payment plan, and a lot of non-exempt property that you are unwilling to part with, Chapter 13 might be a good option. If you don't have much steady income, and most of your property is exempt, Chapter 7 might be better.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy Attorney in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Your Attorney 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).