Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer Tampa, FL
Bankruptcy allows a debtor to achieve a fresh financial start without having to pay off the entirety of his or her debt. It is often considered the last resort for people who cannot benefit from alternative debt relief options. There are many types of bankruptcy, but the most common ones are Chapter 7 bankruptcy and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, all non-exempt assets are liquidated in order to pay debts. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, assets are not liquidated and debts are restructured. This process allows a debtor who earns too much income to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy to benefit from more manageable debt payments during a 3-5 year period of repayment before the remainder of eligible debts are erased outright. An experienced Tampa, Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer with The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. can help you explore whether either of these debt relief options could potentially benefit you and your family.
How Do I Prepare to File for Bankruptcy?
If you’re interested in filing for bankruptcy, it’s important to note that preparation is key to ensuring that your bankruptcy process is as straightforward and low-stress as possible. By taking a few relatively simple steps before you start working with a Tampa, Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer to prepare your bankruptcy petition, your debt relief journey will be smoother, quicker and (ideally) more successful than it otherwise would have been.
Filing for Bankruptcy? Do These Things First
The Court is going to rely on the financial information you provide when deciding whether to grant you bankruptcy relief. You’ll provide information on paper and during an interview with the Trustee assigned to your case. In both instances, you’re going to be asked to swear that you have provided information that is complete and correct to the best of your knowledge. As a result, it is imperative that you provide accurate information – knowingly misleading the Court is a crime. To make sure that the information you’re providing is accurate, it’s important to gather certain financial documents before you begin working with a Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer to fill out required paperwork. You’ll likely need your most recent tax return information, a few months’ worth of pay stubs, your most recent bank statements, recent credit card statements and a current copy of your credit report, which you can obtain online for free. Each of these documents will allow you to reference accurate information about your finances that you’ll then be able to report to the Court without “guessing” as to the answers you’re being asked to provide.
You’ll also want to speak with your Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer about which Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code you’re eligible to file under. If you don’t make much income, you’ll likely be eligible to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Otherwise, Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be the option available to you. Knowing which process you’ll be pursuing will give you greater insight into how to prepare for your next steps.
Legal Assistance Is Available
If you have decided that filing for bankruptcy is the best debt relief option available to you, please consider scheduling a no-obligation, risk-free consultation with a Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer from The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. today. Our team can help to ensure that you’re filing for bankruptcy under the Chapter of the Bankruptcy Code that makes the most sense for your situation. We can also lend you guidance and support throughout the bankruptcy process, especially if your financial situation is complex, you’re filing under Chapter 13 or Chapter 11, you are trying to save a house from foreclosure and/or you simply don’t want to have to manage the ins and outs of filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on your own. Filing for bankruptcy can be a life-changing process that will allow you a fresh financial start. Please speak with our experienced legal team today so that you can make sure you’re taking full advantage of the opportunities that bankruptcy affords. We look forward to speaking with you.
Do Debtors Need a Lawyer to File for Bankruptcy?
When you retain a Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer to advocate on your behalf, they will work to draft motions and paperwork to be filed with the Court and, depending on the type of bankruptcy filed, help settle debts with creditors. Bankruptcy law can be complicated, so lawyers in this field need to know the details of the law, as well as information on consumer finances, contracts, tax laws, etc.
While you can file for bankruptcy without a lawyer, doing so doesn’t make sense in most cases. If you want to represent yourself, you can if you file a simple Chapter 7 bankruptcy. To be eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you need to earn very little income, have little property, and your creditors are unlikely to dispute your efforts to eliminate your debts.
If this is not your situation, you’ll want to strongly consider scheduling a consultation with an experienced Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer. If you are filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will have to make sure you’ve set up an approved payment plan with your creditors. This will be much easier if you have a skilled lawyer to act as a go between yourself and your creditors. You also want someone knowledgeable and experienced to advocate on behalf of your interests. In short, working with an experienced Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer will make the process of obtaining debt relief much easier and simpler.
How Bankruptcy Affects Spousal and Child Support Obligations
Bankruptcy can provide individuals and families with a fresh financial start. Although the process of filing for bankruptcy can be stressful, there are numerous benefits associated with a successful Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, it is important to understand before filing that there are limits to a personal bankruptcy case’s scope. Some financial obligations cannot be discharged as a result of this process. For example, child support and spousal support obligations generally remain intact in the wake of bankruptcy and outstanding payments may not generally be discharged by a bankruptcy judge in either case. It is therefore important to speak with an experienced Tampa, Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer before making any assumptions about how the bankruptcy process may affect your financial situation.
In general, both child support and spousal support obligations may only be altered when a formal request for modification is filed and approved by a family law judge. In order to be approved, a modification request usually must result from a significant change in circumstance. For example, if a former spouse has suddenly acquired access to significant assets, has become permanently disabled or has otherwise had his or her financial situation change dramatically, a modification to existing spousal support orders may be approved. The very act of filing for bankruptcy may be enough in and of itself for a Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer demonstrate to the court that an individual’s financial circumstances have become unmanageable. But such action does not guarantee that a modification will be approved. A judge will examine all relevant circumstances when making such a determination.
Rare circumstances do exist in which outstanding spousal support or child support obligations may be discharged during bankruptcy. If a specific kind of payment or financial obligation is listed as spousal support or child support within the terms of a divorce settlement or general contract but such payments are not actually spousal support, they may generally be discharged. This is a highly technical distinction and is best discussed with a Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer. This exception only generally applies when a faulty legal obligation has been constructed. For example, if an individual is required by the terms of a contract to pay “spousal support” to a company as opposed to an individual, this kind of exception may apply.
It is also possible that your unique circumstances may fall within the territory of an exception to your state’s bankruptcy or spousal support laws. It is for this reason that the details of your case should be discussed with your Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer before you become resigned to the idea that your specific obligations cannot be discharged.
Legal Counsel Is Available
If you have questions about spousal support, divorce or bankruptcy, please consider contacting an experienced attorney. Both family legal disputes and bankruptcy filings are intensely personal processes. It is important to seek counsel from a Tampa, FL Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer you can trust. It is important to note that consulting with an attorney is both confidential and does not obligate you to take any action that you are not prepared to take. Speaking with The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, P.L. will help to inform your choices moving forward and allow you to better understand any legal obligations that may be available to you.
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