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Miami Bankruptcy Law Blog

Chapter 7 often the best option for debtors

Some Florida residents may feel ashamed for needing to file for bankruptcy when in reality, it is the only logical option remaining on the table. Many highly successful entrepreneurs have had their day in bankruptcy court and managed to turn around their fortunes once again.

Consider the case of former Miami Heat forward Antoine Walker. The National Basketball Association veteran became a multi-millionaire while playing for the Heat, the Celtics, Timberwolves and Grizzlies.

Understand Florida personal bankruptcy basics before filing

When you decide that you need to file for bankruptcy protection, one of the first decisions you have to make is what type of bankruptcy to file. For most people, Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy are the two options. Understanding these differences might help you to decide which type of bankruptcy best meets your needs.

The most simple difference between these two types of bankruptcy is how the debt and assets claimed are handled. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your non-exempt assets are liquidated or sold by the trustee. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you agree to a payment plan to settle debts.

From Chapter 7 bankruptcy to a new life in Florida

A couple in Ohio were hit hard by unemployment when the husband was let go from his job in the construction industry, and the job that his wife had at a grocery store was only part time. Foreclosure was looming for the home that they had spent the last decade in, and they finally decided that the only thing that they could do was to let it happen. They moved out, watched as the home was taken and auctioned off, and started living in a tiny, three-room apartment with a family of four. During this time, they also filed for bankruptcy.

After declaring bankruptcy, a new stage in their life opened up before them. It began when the husband had a chance to take a new job in Florida. He decided to go for it, and they moved out of their Ohio apartment and into another one in the Sunshine State. The wife was able to get a new job as well, this time in a management position, and the husband moved up the ranks in his own company.

$20 debt leads to creditor harassment, lawsuit claims

When big companies extend credit to people, they are taking a chance that the person will repay the money. For the most part, people will pay those bills. There are some instances in which the person is unable to pay for the bill for whatever reason. In those cases, the company might opt to start a collection process that includes telephone calls.

Creditors and companies that collect for them are bound by the rules of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act. When those entities don't follow those rules, consumers can take action. Florida residents might be interested in reading about one woman in another state who is standing up against Kohl's for violating the FDCPA over a $20 debt.

Man faces foreclosure over American flag

When someone buys a home, they usually look forward to being able to do whatever they want to their home when it comes to decorating it. While that is the case for many homeowners, those who are under the thumb of a homeowners' association might not be able to fulfill that dream. A recent story about a Florida veteran who was facing foreclosure because of his HOA is a story that might make some people shake their head in disbelief.

The man had a small American flag in a flowerpot in front of his house. This insane battle over a flag that represents our country started in 2011. The vet and the HOA went to court over the matter. Ultimately, they reached a settlement when the man agreed to display the flag per the HOA rules. Two weeks after that, the HOA changed the rules. They now said that flowerpots were only for flowers and flags could only be displayed.

Debt collector fined $4 million for unfair practices

A debt collection company has been ordered to pay $4 million in penalties imposed by the Federal Trade Commission. The penalties relate to the company's violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the FTC Act. Allegedly, the debt collection agency employed deceptive tactics to collect unnecessary fees and debts from United States consumers.

The FTC accused the debt collection agency of using methods that were both deceptive and false in order to collect over $1.3 million in unlawful transaction and convenience fees related to payments made by consumers via the telephone. Allegedly, the debt collection agency trained its employees to make consumers falsely believe that payments could not be made by way of U.S. mail and that telephone payment fees were mandatory. In some instances, the fees were charged without the knowledge or consent of consumers.

Some Florida residents to get foreclosure settlement claim forms

Some residents in Florida might soon be getting some compensation for having to deal with foreclosure abuse and mortgage servicing misconduct by Ocwen Financial Services. More than 26,000 residents had their homes foreclosed upon from January of 2009 through December of 2012.

Florida came in second for the share amount when the estimated 183,984 loans affected by the settlement were divided by state. This means that qualified Florida residents will be eligible to claim their portion of $17.8 million. The deadline for filing a claim is Sept. 15 and payments will be mailed out starting in December.

Can debt collectors use social media to track consumers?

Many Miami residents enjoy updating their social media sites and have carefully curated their LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter pages.

What most consumers never consider as they utilize social media in their interactions with family, friends and business contacts is that debt collection agencies can scroll through social media pages of debtors too. They can use information culled online to collect debts.

Supreme Court rules on retirement savings account exemption

One of the main things people worry about when they file for bankruptcy is what property is exempt from the bankruptcy proceedings. While most retirement assets are protected from creditor claims during the bankruptcy proceedings, a new ruling by the Supreme Court is changing that up a little bit. Florida residents who are considering bankruptcy might like to know about this ruling.

The case had to do with a couple who filed for bankruptcy, but didn't want an individual retirement account that was inherited by the wife to be claimed by creditors. It was a $300,000 IRA from her mother. The wife argued that because it was set up as a retirement account that is was still technically a retirement account, despite being inherited.

Florida church to be auctioned off for $29 million debt

A church in Florida, known as Without Walls Central Church, is going to go up for auction. It is located in North Lakeland. The auction comes after the organization found itself facing around $29 million in debt.

The church has been involved in bankruptcy proceedings for some time now. On top of that, they have code enforcement fines to take care of -- fines that have not been paid. To make matters more difficult, the fines are mounting, so the amount owed just continues to increase.


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