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 Sanibel, Florida will have particular rules for exemptions, so you should speak with a local attorney before filing.
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Sanibel, Florida
In Sanibel, Florida, there are 2 commonly-used forms of consumer bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 involves liquidation of some of a debtor's assets. It requires that a certain percentage of the debtor's property to be sold to pay off as much debt as possible. The majority of property that most people own, however, is exempt. This normally includes homes, vehicles, retirement accounts, and others. These are not available to creditors.
Once the qualifying property is sold, and the funds transferred to the creditors, the dischargeable debt is cleared. Some types of debt, however, can't be absolved in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy in Sanibel, Florida. These include student loans, criminal fines, and taxes, among others. If most of your debt can't be absolved, Chapter 7 might not be the best choice for you.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Sanibel, Florida
In Sanibel, Florida, chapter 13 is very different from Chapter 7, and may or may not be the best option for you, depending on your situation. Chapter 13 bankruptcy does not excuse debt, it restructures it. This involves a court coming up with an altered repayment plan designed to be manageable for the debtor. This new plan sets aside the terms of the original contracts that created the debt in the first place. This creates a new payment structure, normally involving a single monthly payment, that the debtor should find manageable.
Which Type of Consumer Bankruptcy Should I File in Sanibel, Florida
Which Bankruptcy type to file under depends heavily on the facts of each particular case. If you have a steady stream of income (enough to make a payment plan manageable), and a large amount of non-exempt property that you don't want to part with, Chapter 13 may be best for you. If you don't have a steady income or large amounts of non-exempt property, you may be better off filing for Chapter 7.
In any case, it would be a good idea to consult a local bankruptcy Attorney in Sanibel, 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).