If you are in need of debt relief and have questions about your options, turn to me, attorney Daniel J. Herman ESQ. I have over 25 years of experience handling bankruptcy cases for clients in and around the Largo and Clearwater, Florida, areas. I can advise you of your rights in bankruptcy and whether or not a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you. To learn more, contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.
What Is Chapter 7?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes called a "fresh start" bankruptcy. Traditionally, Chapter 7 provides the most relief with the least impact and detriment to you than the other types of bankruptcies. I stand by clients throughout the entire bankruptcy process, from beginning to discharge (the issuance of court order that says the debts are forgiven and the debt is uncollectible forever).
The Means Test
To qualify for Chapter 7, you will have to pass the Means Test. This is a formula into which your debts and income are entered. By calculating your ability to pay on your debts, your ability to qualify for Chapter 7 can be determined. If you can pay some of your debts according to the Means Test, you may not qualify for Chapter 7, but Chapter 13 may be an option. The Means Test can be avoided by the primarily business-debt exception, meaning it's sometimes avoidable where the debts are primarily business-related.
Dischargeable Debts and Those That Cannot Be Discharged
In Chapter 7, there is a short list of debts that are not discharged, including student loans, domestic support obligations (alimony and child support) and most tax debts. However, some income taxes, if they are more than three-years old and stringent requirements are met, can be dischargeable in Chapter 7.
- When we talk about the domestic support obligations in Chapter 7, essentially any obligation ordered by the divorce court is not dischargeable.
- Certain debts considered "hold harmless" debts are dischargeable in Chapter 13.
- Contrary to popular belief, drunk-driving debts are dischargeable through Chapter 7.
Many laws in bankruptcy can be summarized by the statement that the honest debtor is entitled to relief. So-called "bad behavior" debts, such as theft, willful/malicious injury and fraud, are not dischargeable in Chapter 7. However, these must be proved to the satisfaction of the bankruptcy court by the filing of an adversary proceeding (the bankruptcy equivalent of a lawsuit).
Exempt vs. Non-Exempt Property
In many cases, the most critical issue is exempt property versus non-exempt property. Exempt means you get to keep it, nonexempt means the property becomes property the bankruptcy trustee takes charge of to liquidate and ultimately use to pay creditors. Houses and cars may or may not be exempt. Together we can review your situation and I can discuss with you what may or may not be considered exempt property.
To discuss Chapter 7 bankruptcy, credit card debt, or other debt-relief issues, contact my office to speak with an experienced Florida bankruptcy lawyer today.
Daniel J. Herman ESQ.
200 Clearwater-Largo Road South
Largo, FL 33770-1330
From his office centrally located in Largo, Florida, Daniel J. Herman ESQ, represents clients in Tampa Bay and throughout Pasco County, Pinellas County, Hernando County, and Hillsborough County, including the cities of Belleair, Brooksville, Clearwater, Dade City, Dunedin, New Port Richey, Largo, Palm Harbor, Pinellas Park, Port Richey, St. Petersburg, Seminole, Tampa, and Tarpon Springs, Florida.
Bankruptcy Disclaimer: The services or benefits provided are with respect to bankruptcy relief under Title 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.