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Miami Bankruptcy Law Blog

Can a debt collector harass me because I owe them money?

Knowing that you owe someone money isn't a fun thought. When that creditor starts to harass you about the money you owe, you might start to get frustrated or angry since being harassed about anything isn't pleasant. For people in Florida, taking action when debt collectors call is sometimes necessary if they start to harass you. If you have debt collectors calling, you might have questions about what they are allowed to do. These answers to some basic questions might prove helpful.

When can debt collectors call me?

Filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy

While the recent recession appears to be over and our country is in recovery mode, some consumers are still falling behind on their financial obligations. Sometimes, the only way to get out from a mountain of unpaid debts is to file for bankruptcy. For many Miami residents, that means filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

A debtor can get relief under Chapter 7 no matter the amount of the debts or the degree of the debtor's insolvency. This does not mean that there are no restrictions. For instance, you can't file bankruptcy under Chapter 7 (or other chapters) if during the preceding six-month period a prior petition for bankruptcy was dismissed due to a willful failure to appear in court or to comply with any court orders. It is also prohibited if the debtor voluntarily dismissed his or her prior bankruptcy case when creditors sought relief to recover property held by liens.

What do I have to do during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

For people who are considering filing for bankruptcy, learning all they can about the process is one of the things they usually do before making the final decision. If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should make sure that you understand your responsibilities before filing for the protection in Florida.

Why would I file Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Identity theft: When debt collectors go bad

Florida residents who are faced with an ever-increasing mountain of debt are probably quite familiar with calls from debt collectors. While some of them are polite and follow the laws regarding prohibited actions, some become hostile or profane and berate debtors for their inability to pay.

But none may be as bad as this scenario from Minnesota, where a former debt collector was recently sentenced to over 14 years in prison for identity theft related to his scores of debt collection cases. This man used his access to debtors' personal information to co-opt their identities and steal money from their accounts. Even worse, he frequently threatened the disabled and elderly. Perhaps his most egregious threat was to a disabled veteran. He told the man he would push his wheelchair off of a bridge with him in it unless he paid his debt.

Foreclosures down nationally, problems still present in Florida

It is no secret by now that foreclosures are affecting many families in Florida. While Florida is known as one of the top vacation spots in the country and the home of a world renowned amusement park, the state also holds the distinction of being one of the top states for foreclosures. While the number of families facing foreclosure is down, late mortgage payments are still plaguing one out of every 10 homeowners in the Sunshine State.

According to Black Knight Financial Services mortgage data for July of this year, Florida tops the list for the number of delinquencies and foreclosures. For the purpose of the report, a delinquency is classified as being at least 30 days past due on a mortgage payment.

Virtual debt collectors don't negate your rights

The face or sound of debt collection might be shifting. This shift, however, might not be in the form that you might think. Debt collectors are turning to virtual methods to deal with people who they allege owe them money. Florida residents who have outstanding bills might be interested in hearing a little about how these online collection agents work.

For some people who dread the thought of having to deal with a human on the phone, such as those who have been harassed by debt collectors, these virtual debt collectors might be a wonderful thing. Some websites will allow consumers the chance to check their account, negotiate a debt or set up payments. All of that could happen without having to deal with someone being rude or phone calls disturbing your dinner every night.

Is a car exemption possible when filing bankruptcy?

One of the myths Miami residents may believe about filing for bankruptcy is that they will have to surrender their vehicle to their creditors. This, of course, would really be onerous to debtors,making it difficult or impossible to get to work or to meet family obligations without a car.

As one of the largest firms handling bankruptcies in south Florida, our attorneys can assure you that it is indeed possible to retain ownership of your vehicle after filing for personal bankruptcy. There are ways to discharge debt and still preserve some main assets and property.

Foreclosure doesn't have to be an absolute if you act fast

An old adage says that your home is your castle, so when you are threatened with losing your home, you likely want to fight to keep it. Learning about your options to keep your home can be a complex undertaking during which you can benefit from getting your questions answered by someone who is knowledgeable in foreclosure prevention.

Knowing the ins and outs of the mortgage and foreclosure processes might help you to get a favorable outcome for your case. It might be possible for you to get a new mortgage, improved terms, a better interest rate or more time to come up with the money you need to save your home. When those don't work, filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be the answer to your problem.

Don't let a perfect storm ruin your life in South Florida

People who find it necessary to file for bankruptcy often find themselves in that position for a number of reasons, most of which does not involve mismanagement of money. For some people, job loss is the primary cause of needing to file for bankruptcy. For others, it might be medical bills, or other unexpected expenses. The bottom line is that bankruptcy is a tool for people to use when situations beyond their control come together to form the perfect storm that wrecks their finances.

One factor that most people who file for bankruptcy have in common is the desire to overcome the financial stressors that are plaguing them so they can come out of bankruptcy on top. A second factor that seems to be common is the inability to make high bankruptcy payments. That is where Chapter 7 bankruptcy might help South Florida residents. Unlike Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy covers your debts by using your assets. Those assets are sold off and the funds are used to satisfy debts.

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