What To Expect From The Florida Bankruptcy Process

The following is a brief overview of the Florida bankruptcy process:

1. Preparing for Bankruptcy

If you plan to file for bankruptcy, you must itemize your monthly living expenses, identify all sources of income, list all assets such as real estate property, vehicles, furnishings and investments and report any major financial transactions or transfers you have made over the last two years. You will also be required to disclose all of your debts, including any mortgages, car loans, student loans, medical bills and credit card debt.

At the office of James H. Monroe, P.A., Orlando bankruptcy lawyer James H. Monroe offers more than 30 years of experience as a bankruptcy lawyer in Orlando, Florida. He has a dual certification in both business and consumer bankruptcy law by the American Board of Certification. The American Board of Certification is recognized by the American Bar Association, American Bankruptcy Institute and the Florida Bar Association. Contact his law firm to discuss the life cycle of Chapter 7, the life cycle of Chapter 13 or the life cycle of Chapter 11 bankruptcy so you know what to expect.

2. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

In order to file for Chapter 7 business or consumer bankruptcy, you must submit a two-page petition in the federal bankruptcy court as well as several schedules which list all of your assets, all of your debts and all of your financial transactions, as well as your income and expenses.

When you file, you can list all property you believe is exempt from liquidation. The information you provide throughout your bankruptcy petition and schedules must be accurate. You are required to sign, under penalty of perjury, that it is. Your documents may be reviewed by a judge, your creditors, the Chapter 7 trustee assigned to your case and the U.S. trustee's office. Typically, the filing fee for your petition costs around $299 (though this may be waived in certain situations).

3. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing

In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must additionally submit a debt repayment plan for consideration by the court that includes all payments to secured creditors and any amount to be given to your unsecured creditors. This is called a Plan of Reorganization. Consequently, you must calculate how much disposable monthly income you have after paying for reasonable living expenses and other bills.

Your proposed repayment plan should reassure unsecured debt creditors that they will receive as much under your proposed Chapter 13 plan as if you had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. You may be required to pay only a portion of what you owe to unsecured creditors over a three- to five-year period. There is a $275 filing fee for Chapter 13. If your repayment plan is accepted, you will make your plan payments to the Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee. The trustee is responsible for dispersing funds to creditors.

4. The 341 Meeting — Talking With Your Creditors

Regardless of whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a month or so after you file for bankruptcy you will be required to attend a meeting with your assigned trustee and whichever of your creditors decide to attend. Referred to as "the 341 meeting," after the Bankruptcy Code that mandates it, you will be placed under oath so the trustee and your creditors can ask you questions. Although creditors usually don't appear, our attorneys accompany our clients to their 341 meetings to represent them during their testimony with both the trustee and any creditors who may attend.

5. Approval of Your Bankruptcy Petition

For Chapter 7 bankruptcy, once the trustee indicates that your bankruptcy estate has been fully administered and there are no objections on file, the court will approve the discharge of your unsecured debt. Under Chapter 13, your debt repayment plan will go into effect and you will be expected to adhere to its payment schedule. Once you have successfully completed your payment plan, you will, in most instances, receive notice that any remaining unsecured debt has been discharged.

Reach Out To Bankruptcy Lawyer James H. Monroe Today

If you are having trouble paying off monthly bills and staying current on your mortgage, contact bankruptcy attorney James H. Monroe at 407-917-4147 to get answers to your questions and discuss your situation during a free initial office consultation.

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience.