When you’re facing serious debt and are ready to file for bankruptcy, you need a Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer in Fort Lauderdale who is experienced, knowledgeable, and committed to their clients. Since 1998, Stiberman Law has been dedicated to helping our clients navigate the bankruptcy process, achieve favorable outcomes, and move forward with confidence in their financial future.FREE CONSULTATION
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is designed for people with little to no expendable income to put toward a debt repayment plan but who still have significant debts. Often called a liquidation bankruptcy, you’ll report your creditors, income, and financial records in your paperwork which will be filed in bankruptcy court. At this point, an automatic stay goes into effect to halt all debt collection attempts, including wage garnishment, legal proceedings, and phone calls and letters from creditors.
Then the court will assign a bankruptcy trustee to your case. They will assess your personal property and gather your nonexempt assets, such as boats, secondary vehicles, jewelry, artwork, or valuable collections to sell for cash. The trustee will then use the proceeds to pay off your creditors, and any eligible, unsecured debt that has not been paid is discharged from your financial records, and you are absolved from repayment. Creditors can not come after you or contact you again once the debt has been discharged. From start to finish, your bankruptcy case will take between three and six months.
Stiberman Law has the experience and resources to resolve your legal challenges.
The following types of unsecured debts can be discharged during Chapter 7 bankruptcy:
These types of debt are not eligible for a bankruptcy discharge:
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy attorney with Stiberman Law will do everything possible to help you keep your home, vehicle, and other property while having as much of your debt eliminated as possible so you can start over with a clean slate and a stable future.
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is often the right choice for people with high credit card balances, excessive medical bills, and other unsecured debts, but minimal income and few valuable assets with which to pay them. However, this option may not be right for everyone.
Not everyone is eligible to file for Chapter 7 as federal law requires passing a strict means test. Under United States bankruptcy law, your income must be less than the median income in your state for your family size in order to be automatically eligible. For example, Florida residents with a family of four who have a gross annual income of less than $89,206 qualify to file.
If your income is higher than this, you may still be eligible. The bankruptcy court will look at your average monthly income and your expenses, including housing, food, clothing and other essentials to determine whether you have the disposable income for a repayment plan. If the bankruptcy judge determines you don’t have enough to make payments, they’ll approve you to file Chapter 7.
Even if your income allows you to file for Chapter 7, it may not be the right option. If you’re concerned about losing your home or valuables, or if your debt is due to student loans that can’t be discharged, we can discuss your other options. During your free consultation, a bankruptcy attorney will sit down with you and help you make an informed decision.
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Even though you do not legally require a Chapter 7 attorney to file bankruptcy for you, this is not a process you want to go through alone. From filling out paperwork correctly to fighting back against creditors, you need a legal advocate who will help you meet your goals and protect your best interests.
Before filing bankruptcy, we will sit down with you for a free consultation to discuss:
After your free consultation, we are with you at every step, including:
At the completion of your bankruptcy case, you’ll receive a report that lists any debts that were not discharged or paid off from your bankruptcy, such as child support or student loan debt.
We are committed to helping you achieve debt relief through a simple, quick bankruptcy process. With over three decades of experience and over 100 5-star reviews, you can feel confident that we will strive to meet your goals and help you secure a favorable outcome in your case.
Worried about affording the fees? We offer $0 down solutions with low monthly payments so you get the legal representation and guidance you need.
We know you have questions and concerns. To help you better understand the process, we’re sharing some information related to our most frequently asked questions about Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Secured debts refer to a debt in which the lender has collateral. For example, a car loan or a mortgage are secured debts because the lender can reposses the car or foreclose on the house if you don’t make your payments.
Unsecured debts are those in which there is no collateral for the lender to collect. This includes credit card debts, medical bills, and student loans.
Filing for Chapter 7 will pause a foreclosure, but it won’t cancel it completely. However, if you are in good standing with your lender, you may be able to keep your house by filing for an exemption. Under Florida law, you can claim an unlimited amount in a homestead exemption.
Similarly to a home, if you are behind on your payments, the lender can still reposses the vehicle, though any payments or additional fees associated will be discharged.
If you are up-to-date on your payments, you may still get to keep your vehicle by claiming an exemption. Florida law allows residents to claim up to $1,000 in personal property or up to $5,000 if the homestead exemption isn’t used. This means that if you have less than $5,000 in equity in your car, you can keep it.
Your bankruptcy lawyer will file an exemption for your primary home, and $1,000 for personal property owned, such as a car, jewelry, or other valuables. If you don’t own a home, you can use $5,000 to exempt property, like we mentioned above. However, anything beyond this can be taken by the bankruptcy trustee and used to pay your debt. This includes:
No, you can leave your bank account open, though any money in a savings account, money market, or non-retirement investment account may be seized to pay creditors.
Yes, this is a legal requirement, even if you have accounts with low credit card balances that you want to keep open. Failure to list all necessary information can result in delays in your processing time, your petition being rejected, or even charges of fraud.
Federal law requires a minimum, mandatory filing fee of $338. Attorney fees are usually between $900 and $1500, depending on the case. To reduce your financial burden, we offer low monthly payment plans.
Yes. In order to file Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you have to show proof that you’ve completed a federally-mandated course from an approved credit counseling agency. Rather than paying out more, our law firm is an approved agency and can include credit counseling during the bankruptcy process to save you time and money.
From filing the petition to the completion of your bankruptcy case takes between 90 to 180 days.
Typically, federal student loans can’t be discharged in Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
No. Once your petition is accepted, you will no longer need to make any payments on your eligible debts, and creditors are no longer allowed to contact you.
Even if you don’t qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, often, Chapter 13 is the best solution, allowing you to restructure your debt and make a single monthly payment based on your disposable income.
It stays on your credit report for 10 years, but you’ll start seeing improvements if you stay in good standing with any other debts you may accrue following the bankruptcy.
If you are ready to break free from medical debt, credit card bills, and more, we can help. Schedule a free consultation with our law firm today by calling (954) 932-7804 or filling out the form below to get started.
Speaking to our law firm is always 100% confidential. We do our best to respond to inquiries in under 24 hours.
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