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Miami Bankruptcy Law Blog

Facing foreclosure? You have options

Let?s face it ? your home is more than just four walls and a roof on a plot of land. It?s where you and your wife started your marriage. It?s where your little ones said their first words and walked their first steps. It?s a place that holds all of your most precious memories. So the idea of losing it can be absolutely terrifying. Receiving foreclosure notices might be keeping you up at night, but just know that there are options and alternatives and they?re not as scary as you might think:

  • You can negotiate a modification of your loan or mortgage.
  • You can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, effectively saving your home by moving your mortgage payments into the Chapter 13 repayment plan.
  • You can utilize a strategic mortgage default.
  • You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which can help you walk away.
  • You can sell your house using a short sale option.
  • You can sell the house and get help buying something more reasonable. It might sound difficult, but it?s not that bad and thousands have used this option to get the financial burden off their shoulders.

Reasons to opt for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

For many years, filing for bankruptcy was considered some sort of failure. Today, that perception has changed drastically and many are opting to file for bankruptcy as a way to get a fresh start and there?s absolutely no shame in that. However, even if you?ve made the decision to file, the ins and outs of the process can be confusing, so it can be advantageous to know some of the basics.

What documents do you need to file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

There?s a stigma out there that filing for bankruptcy somehow means the end of the road ? your financial life is over. In reality, it?s just a way to get a fresh financial start. Life can throw curveballs that we don?t expect; losing a job, the death of a loved one, a sudden disability or even predatory lenders can put you in a situation you never foresaw.

Know your rights when it comes to debt collectors

There?s one thing above all else that debt collectors fear: an informed debtor. Some debt collection agencies resort to calling you at work, contacting you late at night or even phoning your family friends and neighbors to harangue you. They often circumvent the rules hoping that you won?t know any better or won?t contact someone who knows the law.

Supreme Court weighs in on Chapter 13 bankruptcy appeals

Miami residents who are looking to use bankruptcy as a means to achieve manageable payments on their debt may be interested in what the Supreme Court has to say on the subject. Depending on the type of decision made by the bankruptcy court, there may not be a chance for an appeal.

In 2010, a Massachusetts man filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy allows the debtor to propose a payment plan, which must be approved by the creditors and the court. In this man's case, his proposal of separate payment plans for secured and unsecured debts was not accepted by either. Though it was amended multiple times, the court would not allow is plan to go through. The man appealed their decision, but a higher judicial body agreed with the lower bankruptcy court.

Bridal shop owners file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

The owners of a bridal shop in Florida closed their shop in March and then filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on April 6. Victoria's Bridal Couture, located on Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale, was almost $500,000 in debt when the owners submitted the bankruptcy filing. According to bankruptcy documents, the bridal shop owes money to 927 people and suppliers.

A news report about the bankruptcy filing claimed that customers of the bridal shop had received wedding dresses that were unfinished and damaged. The dresses were reportedly delivered to the women's homes in cardboard boxes along with letters that stated the bridal shop could not hold their dresses any longer. Several of the prospective brides said that they had already paid for their dresses in full.

Saving assets in Florida bankruptcies

Many people in Florida wrongly believe that they will end up losing everything they own if they declare bankruptcy. You may be happy to learn that you will possibly lose very little or nothing of what you own when you file for bankruptcy. Instead, if you are faced with unmanageable and overwhelming debt, bankruptcy may provide you with the financial relief and fresh start you need.

If you are worried about whether you will be able to keep your home and vehicle, there are several things you should know. In most cases, you will not have to hand over your vehicle in bankruptcy, and there are ways to protect your house as well, even if a foreclosure proceeding has been initiated.

What remains after a Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Florida residents who are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy often have questions regarding what, if any, types of debts will remain after they complete their repayment plan and the discharge occurs. There are several categories of debts that normally will not be discharged under bankruptcy law.

Child and spousal support obligations are excepted from bankruptcy, and if a debtor fails to pay their domestic support amounts, they may have their Chapter 13 bankruptcy case dismissed. After the discharge, the ongoing obligation to pay child and spousal support will continue.

Foreclosures drop; Florida still tops the list

Foreclosures in Florida have been a big problem since the Great Recession. While the nation as a whole is recovering from the foreclosure boom, Florida still tops the list of states with the most foreclosures with more than double the state in the number two slot.

According to the National Foreclosure Report, there were 553,000 homes in foreclosure in February 2015. Florida accounted for 110,000 completed foreclosures. Michigan was next on the list with 50,000 completed foreclosures. Texas, California and Georgia rounded out the top five states with the highest number completed of foreclosures in February. When added together, the top five states account for almost half of the completed foreclosures in the nation.

Qualifying for student loans after bankruptcy

Many people in Miami choose to declare bankruptcy so that they can get a fresh start. After debts are cleared away, the next stop for some people could be going back to school. When thinking about pursuing a degree, people who have a bankruptcy filing on their record might wonder if they will be able to qualify for student loans.

A bankruptcy filing will not affect a person's ability to qualify for federal student loans. In fact, it is unlawful for a government entity that operates a student loan program to discriminate against an applicant because they filed for bankruptcy in the past. While it is easy for many individuals to qualify, a federal student loan are often a good funding option due to their low interest rates.

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