The Law Office of Francisco Cieza, P.A. is experienced in representing
consumers in both the filing of Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies.
Bankruptcy is an immensely powerful tool that puts an immediate stop
to any creditor, potential creditor, entity, or individual that is trying to
obtain money from you. Each Chapter under the bankruptcy code
affords different and unique forms of financial relief to consumers--
ranging from the elimination of debt and garnishments to saving
houses from foreclosure. Although the differences between Chapter 7
and Chapter 13 are briefly outlined below, due to the complexity of the
bankruptcy code and case law, it is best to sit down for a free
consultation in order to determine what the best course of action for
your specific case is.
Relief under Chapter 7 of the bankruptcy code involves the liquidation of your "non-exempt" assets in exchange for a discharge of most of your debt obligations. Upon the filing of your case, a trustee is randomly assigned to your case who will then review your bankruptcy schedules and filings in order to determine whether any assets are available for liquidation in order to benefit your unsecured creditors. Florida law allows you to apply certain exemptions to your assets in order to protect them from the trustee. As many people know, Florida offers a very generous homestead exemption, which in most circumstances, will not allow the trustee to take the home in which you live. Federal laws also protect your savings held in retirement accounts and income generated from your social security benefits. However, in exchange for such a generous protection of your home, Florida law does not offer much protection to your other assets (cars, boats, money in bank accounts, etc.,). This is why it is extremely important to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to help manage your expectations and plan ahead for any future potential bankruptcy filing. Don't make the mistake many ill advised consumers make of transferring assets or withdrawing and moving money around prior to filing for bankruptcy without first consulting a bankruptcy attorney. Certain actions can be seen as fraudulent and could result in your inability to file for bankruptcy, or potentially losing your valued assets.
Relief under Chapter 13 of the bankruptcy code is more complex than its Chapter 7 counterpart; however, a brief explanation can help you better understand how it works. Relief under Chapter 13 entails the formulation of a "Chapter 13 Plan" used to pay back both secured and unsecured creditors over an extended period of time. Traditionally, Chapter 13 bankruptcy has been used to help save consumers from losing a house in foreclosure or a vehicle from repossession. A consumer will formulate a plan that pays back the arrears owed to a secured creditor (i.e. missed mortgage payments or cay payments to a financial institution, homeowner association dues, etc.,) over a period of up to 60 months. In other words, if a consumer owes $60,000 in missed mortgage payments and is threatened by foreclosure, he or she can pay back $1,000 per month over a period of 60 months to the Chapter 13 trustee to cure the delinquency and become current on the mortgage obligation. This is an oversimplified explanation due to the fact that a percentage of your unsecured debt may have to be repaid to unsecured creditors (i.e. credit cards) depending on your monthly income, expenses, and the value of your non-exempt assets—not to mention the fact that a percentage is also paid to the Chapter 13 trustee for managing your case and distributing the funds. In any event, Chapter 13 offers a unique course of action that can help you save your valued possessions while also receiving the benefits of a traditional Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy under the bankruptcy code.