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 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 Lakeland, Florida will have particular rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Lakeland, Florida
In Lakeland, Florida, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves liquidation of some of the debtor's assets. It requires some percentage of the debtor's property to be sold in order to pay off as much of his or her debt as possible. However, the majority of property that most people own is exempt. This normally includes homes, vehicles, insurance policies, and retirement accounts. These do not need to be sold.
Once eligible assets are sold, and the proceeds turned over to the creditors, most remaining debt is cleared. However, some types of debt cannot be discharged in bankruptcy, including student loans, taxes, child support, personal injury awards, and fines. If most of your debt in Lakeland, Florida is not dischargeable, you might want to consider other options besides bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Lakeland, Florida
In Lakeland, Florida, Chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7. Chapter 13 may or may not be the best choice for you; this depends on the facts of your individual situation. Chapter 13 does not excuse 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 Lakeland, Florida
This depends entirely on the facts of your individual case. If you have a decent amount of steady income, and a large amount of non-exempt property which you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 might be the best option for you. If most of your property is exempt, and you don't have much steady income, Chapter 7 might be the best option.
Regardless of your situation, you should speak with an attorney in Lakeland, Florida who is experienced in bankruptcy before making a decision. They will be able to advise you of your options, and the likely outcomes of each one, allowing you to make a much more informed decision.