R. Jason de Groot, P.A.
Attorney at Law
335 Debary Avenue
Debary, FL 32713
What is Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal way to get out of debt. It is based upon Federal Law and is an effective way to eliminate the money you owe to creditors. There are two primary forms of bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. When your expenses exceed your income, you have the option to file bankruptcy. The Chapter you file depends upon your yearly income and the size of your household.
What is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 is the most common form of bankruptcy. It is a way for people to get out of debt legally based upon Federal Law. It is available to anyone whose expenses exceed their income and who make under a certain amount, depending upon the size of their household and the state they live in.
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 is a bankruptcy that many people must now file. In it the debtor comes up with a plan of paying the creditors as high a percentage of the debt as possible over the course of 3 to 5 years. At the end of the plan, the rest of the debt is forgiven.
Who can file Chapter 7 bankruptcy?
In Florida, if you are single and make less than about $43,000 per year, you can file a Chapter 7. If your household size is 4 and the income is less than $67,000 per year, you can file Chapter 7. In order to determine which Chapter you need to file, you can take the online means test.
Can I list only those debts that I don’t want to pay?
Absolutely not. You must list all of your creditors when you file bankruptcy. You have the ability to reaffirm a car loan, a mortgage, or even a credit card, but you must list each and every creditor.
Can I get out of paying student loans?
Most attorneys regard student loans as now being non-dischargeable. You basically have to file an adversarial proceeding in order to get the court to determine whether student loans should be forgiven. It can be done, but the fees for this type of action are not included in the typical attorney fee for a Chapter 7, and you simply cannot do it yourself.
Do I have to hire an attorney for my bankruptcy?
No, you are not required to have an attorney for your bankruptcy. Many people use petition preparers. Those who prepare petitions for others are not attorneys and cannot give legal advise. The process is very complicated and many things can go wrong. If you want your bankruptcy done correctly, it is best to hire an attorney.
What debts will not be forgiven?
Some debts are non-dischargeable, income taxes within the last three years, payroll and other taxes, support obligations, criminal restitution, and debts which were induced by fraud are typical examples of debts that cannot be forgiven.
What is the Automatic Stay?
The Automatic Stay is a Federal Law which comes into effect on the moment a bankruptcy is filed. It is very important and prohibits your creditors from filing suit against you, from proceeding with a suit already filed, and even prevents your creditors from contacting you. It remains in effect unless an until the creditor makes a motion to lift the stay and the motion is ruled upon. Violations of the automatic stay can be punished by the bankruptcy court. In recent years, many foreclosure sales have been stopped by the automatic stay. If you have a pending suit in state court, all activity in that cause of action must cease. However, in order for the state action to cease notice of the bankruptcy must be given, which is usually accomplished by the filing of what is known as a “Suggestion of Bankruptcy.”
How long does a Bankruptcy take?
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy takes a number of months to complete, usually about 4 or 5 months from filing. The case remains open for approximately 2 years, before it is finally closed. A Chapter 13, on the other hand, can take up to 5 years to complete.