Learning the Bankruptcy Process in Florida – Daytona Beach and Volusia County
For someone who has never been through a bankruptcy, the bankruptcy process could seem overwhelming. However, working with a Florida bankruptcy attorney can make the process less frightening and less stressful. Your attorney understands the bankruptcy process and can help guide you through each step of the process. In addition, by working with an experienced Daytona bankruptcy lawyer, you can trust that you have a strong advocate on your side to fight for your rights and who will work for an outcome that is in your best interest.
What is the Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Process?
If you decide to file a Chapter 7 case after meeting with our attorney, the process begins by gathering information to complete your bankruptcy forms. Our staff works closely with you to compile the information to complete the bankruptcy petition, schedules, and statements. While we are working to complete your forms, you need to complete your Credit Counseling Course. This bankruptcy course is required and may be completed online in about two hours. The certificate of completion for the course must be filed with your bankruptcy petition.
Once the bankruptcy forms are finished, you review all forms to ensure the information being provided to the court is accurate and complete. After you sign the forms, our office electronically files the documents with the court to obtain a case number. Your case number is evidence that you are now under the protection of the bankruptcy stay.
The bankruptcy stay prevents creditors from taking any further actions to collect debts without court approval. The court will mail notice of your bankruptcy case to your creditors. You will also receive a copy of the notice that has the date and time of your First Meeting of Creditors. In most Chapter 7 cases, this is the only hearing debtors are required to attend during their case.
We encourage clients to complete the Debtor Education Course between now and their First Meeting of Creditors. The First Meeting of Creditors is a short hearing conducted by the Chapter 7 trustee appointed to administer your case. You are required to answer questions under oath for the Chapter 7 trustee. However, the questions are about financial information you disclosed in your forms, so you will know the answers to these questions. We can work with you to prepare you for the hearing if you are nervous or anxious about testifying at a hearing.
After your First Meeting of Creditors, the trustee will declare your case to be an asset or no-asset Chapter 7. Most Chapter 7 cases filed in Volusia County are no-asset cases. A no-asset case means the trustee does not find any nonexempt property that he can sell to pay the unsecured creditors. Therefore, if you have completed your Debtor Education Course by the time of your hearing, there is nothing for you to do except wait for the court to issue your bankruptcy discharge and close the case. A no-asset Chapter 7 case typically takes between four to six months to complete from the filing of the bankruptcy petition.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases can provide a quick way for someone to eliminate debt they cannot pay. However, you must meet the income eligibility requirements for a Chapter 7 case. In addition, if you have nonexempt property, you may want to consider filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case to protect your property from being sold by a Chapter 7 trustee.
What is the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process?
The process for filing a Chapter 13 case is similar to the process for filing a Chapter 7 case. The only difference is that you must file a proposed Chapter 13 repayment plan with your bankruptcy forms and begin making monthly payments to the Chapter 13 trustee about a month after the forms are filed. Our staff reviews the payment process with you to ensure you understand your responsibilities to avoid any problems.
In addition to the First Meeting of Creditors, Chapter 13 cases also have a Confirmation Hearing scheduled. At the Confirmation Hearing, the Bankruptcy Judge either confirms your proposed plan or continues the hearing so that we can file an amended plan to settle any objections by the Chapter 13 trustee or creditors. It is common to file an amended plan to resolve objections from the Chapter 13 trustee, but many cases are also confirmed at the first hearing. During this time, you do not need to do anything except continue to make your payments unless our office contacts you to discuss an issue or request additional information.
We also encourage clients to complete the Debtor Education Course in a Chapter 13 case before the First Meeting of Creditors. In a Chapter 13 case, debtors have more time to complete the course; however, it is easy to forget about the course and overlook it if you do not complete it now. Failing to complete the course results in a denial of discharge. The bankruptcy discharge is the goal of your case and it is what relieves you of the legal liability to repay debts. Therefore, it is critical that you complete the Debtor Education Course, so you do not jeopardize your bankruptcy discharge.
Most Chapter 13 plans are for 60 months. When you complete your payments, the Chapter 13 trustee performs an internal audit and submits reports to the court. There is nothing you need to do at this time if you have completed your Debtor Education Course. Once the court approves the trustee's final reports, the court will issue an order closing the case and discharging the debtor.
Learn More About the Florida Bankruptcy Process from a Daytona Bankruptcy Attorney
The above information refers to a simple Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. Each bankruptcy filing is unique. Therefore, your case may have additional issues. However, by working with our experienced Daytona bankruptcy lawyers, you can trust that any issues that arise in your case will be handled quickly and efficiently.
It is our goal to help you eliminate your debt problem as quickly as possible with the least amount of stress and anxiety. Contact our law firm for a free bankruptcy consultation by calling (888) 316-2131. Let us show you the difference it can make in your case to work with an experienced, compassionate, and skilled team of legal professionals.