bankruptcy

We help remove the stress of uncontrollable debt so you can live again

We help you navigate the bankruptcy process and make the best decision for you with compassion and without judgement We help people stressed with uncontrollable debt take the first step to secure their financial future

5 Situations When You Shouldn’t File For Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy is an unmatched tool for getting debt under control.

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Having the Debt Fighters handle your bankruptcy makes a difference

The bankruptcy process can be a frustrating, stressful, uncertain time. Like a good ship captain, our job is to guide you in the bankruptcy process through calm waters to help you reach your destination and get your life back.

Immediately stop pending collect and garnishment

Some clients come to us still maintaining their payments, but they know the house of cards is getting ready to fall, while others have already been sued and money is being taken out of their paycheck or bank account. When a bankruptcy is filed, the “automatic stay” immediately requires any company collecting on a debt to STOP, even if they are collecting through a lawsuit.

Get your debt in
control fast

Whether you file a chapter 13 bankruptcy to put you debt into an affordable payment plan or a chapter 7 bankruptcy for a quick discharge and liquidation, bankruptcy provides an unmatched opportunity to get your debt in control quickly.

Get it
done right

Working with an experienced bankruptcy firm makes a difference. A mishandled bankruptcy can result in the filer having to give up assets that they may not have had to have given up, to overpay on a payment plan, dismissal of the case, and/or loss of the discharge. Filing for bankruptcy is an important commitment – one that you want to make sure gets done right the first time.

We help people considering bankruptcy in any stage of life

"Self employed and business is tough"

When you work for someone else, every dollar you make is a dollar you keep, but when you have your own shop, it’s much more complicated. And once you get so far in a hole, it’s almost impossible to get out. You can get back in the game, but you need a restart.

"I work (usually) as an employee, but life happened"

You may have lost a job, been divorced or had a healthcare problem and now you are stuck with the bill. We know you want to build a strong future for you family and we have the experience to get you back on track to secure your future financial success.

I am on a fixed budget like social security, disability, or a pension (or I soon will be)

When you are on a fixed budget, every dollar counts. There might have been a time when you could deal with the high payments and interest from credit, but now every dollar that you pay them is a dollar you don’t have for the electric bill and food on the table. Its time for some house cleaning on your budget.

Dear Friend,

We understand the situation you find yourself in. We know the stress and fear that being in financial stress can bring into your life.

You can’t sleep at night. The endless phone calls of debt collectors is disrupting your life. You fear that you’ve failed because of your debts.

We understand the feeling of wishing your financial problems will go away only to wake up every morning with everything getting worse.

We understand that you probably feel alone with no one who can actually help you solve your financial problems.

We understand because we have helped many of our clients just like you.

Many clients who once stood in your shoes, felt your pain but now are free.

Free to dream again. Free to build a financial future and free to live a stress free life.

We helped them make the critical decisions around bankruptcy and then implement a plan that gave them back their life.

If you want to speak to someone who understands, cares and can help you solve your problem, then book a call with one of our attorney’s today.

We can help.

Mike Ziegler

The Debt Fighter Freedom Plan

Analyze

We review your qualifications and recommend the type of bankruptcy that is the best match for your financial goals.

Stop the Calls!

We protect your consumer rights and by forcing your creditors to communicate exclusively with us. We eliminate all the calls that are causing stress in your life.

Prepare the bankruptcy documents

We collect information to prepare your case. You can send us all the information we need from the comfort of your home. Our attorneys review the final documents with you.

File the case and stop collection activity

We file the case and inform your creditors. They are required to stop collections and legal proceedings under the “automatic stay.”

The Court Proceedings

We have your back during the legal process. Most filers will only need to appear at a single meeting for the process, and we’ll be there to support you.

Debt Free!

The calls are over. You can rebuild your credit and your life.
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What our clients say about us

Book a call with an bankruptcy attorney today

If you want to create a plan to solve your financial problems then book a call today and take the first step

FAQ's

Can I keep my car when I file

The short answer is “it depends, but usually yes.” Here is the longer answer: In a chapter 7 case, the trade-off for eliminating your debts is that you are limited on the stuff you can start over with. In other words, fresh start debt side, fresh start asset side. For those using Florida allowances (called “exemptions”), you are allowed to hold onto your home, $1,000 in equity in a vehicle, $1,000 in personal property, retirement accounts, and a few other categories of assets. Also if you don’t own your home, you get a $4,000 wildcard allowance. So if your vehicle equity (after substracking any loan on it) is less than the allowances, you can keep it. If its more than the allowances, you can still keep it, but you may have to pay extra.

In a chapter 13 case, you can keep all of your assets, but you commit to a payment plan.

Can I keep a credit card when I file

You have to list all of your debts when you file. You can’t selectively leave a debt off of the forms, even if you want to pay the debt. Any credit card listed is going to be closed.

If you have a card that is totally paid off, it may not have to be listed, but in most instances it will be closed anyway by the credit card company. I do not recommend making a big payment to $0 out a card right before bankruptcy in hopes that you can keep the card. A big payment on a debt shortly before a case can create complications within the bankruptcy.

When do I get my credit back?

Let me start with the bad news – bankruptcy stays on a credit report for up to 10 years.  But keep in mind that a credit report is about a lot more than bankruptcy, and when the bankruptcy process clears your debt, it gives you an opportunity to rebuild instead of being stuck with accounts that have a late balance.  

 

While each credit profile is unique, here is what we generally find:

  • Most clients have the opportunity to get better credit scores than when they started bankruptcy within 2 years, particularly if you are proactive in credit building.
  • You can get a car almost immediately after bankruptcy (but maybe with rough loan terms), you can get a credit card approximately after a year, and a mortgage after 2 years (however, these timelines vary based on income and other factors).
  • We help support the path to credit recovery by reviewing your credit report after the discharge to make sure it is accurate, and by including a subscription to a credit education class after the process is over to help identify opportunities to improve your score.

How do I know what chapter I qualify for?

While there are a number of factors that help guide us on what chapter is appropriate, the two most common are the “means test” and looking at what types of debts you are looking to address.

The means test looks at your household income as compared to the statewide median income for your household size. Its government’s way of saying that if you make enough money, you should pay at least a portion of what you owe. Particularly for married individuals, the means test is usually calculated off of both spouses’ income, even if only one spouse has the debt complications. Sometimes this rule can make for difficulties in bankruptcy options, and we might look at debt consolidation as an alternative.

The second factor we look at is what debt-problems we are solving. Chapter 7 does very little to assist with problems with secured debt, like a car loan or a mortgage that is behind.

Can I be denied a bankruptcy discharge?

Generally, for someone who meets the basic bankruptcy requirements and is filing in good faith, they will be granted the discharge unless they have done something to disqualify themselves – for example, if they committed fraud

FAQ's

The short answer is “it depends, but usually yes.” Here is the longer answer: In a chapter 7 case, the trade-off for eliminating your debts is that you are limited on the stuff you can start over with. In other words, fresh start debt side, fresh start asset side. For those using Florida allowances (called “exemptions”), you are allowed to hold onto your home, $1,000 in equity in a vehicle, $1,000 in personal property, retirement accounts, and a few other categories of assets. Also if you don’t own your home, you get a $4,000 wildcard allowance. So if your vehicle equity (after substracking any loan on it) is less than the allowances, you can keep it. If its more than the allowances, you can still keep it, but you may have to pay extra.

In a chapter 13 case, you can keep all of your assets, but you commit to a payment plan.

You have to list all of your debts when you file. You can’t selectively leave a debt off of the forms, even if you want to pay the debt. Any credit card listed is going to be closed.

If you have a card that is totally paid off, it may not have to be listed, but in most instances it will be closed anyway by the credit card company. I do not recommend making a big payment to $0 out a card right before bankruptcy in hopes that you can keep the card. A big payment on a debt shortly before a case can create complications within the bankruptcy.

Let me start with the bad news – bankruptcy stays on a credit report for up to 10 years.  But keep in mind that a credit report is about a lot more than bankruptcy, and when the bankruptcy process clears your debt, it gives you an opportunity to rebuild instead of being stuck with accounts that have a late balance. While each credit profile is unique, here is what we generally find:
  • Most clients have the opportunity to get better credit scores than when they started bankruptcy within 2 years, particularly if you are proactive in credit building.
  • You can get a car almost immediately after bankruptcy (but maybe with rough loan terms), you can get a credit card approximately after a year, and a mortgage after 2 years (however, these timelines vary based on income and other factors).
  • We help support the path to credit recovery by reviewing your credit report after the discharge to make sure it is accurate, and by including a subscription to a credit education class after the process is over to help identify opportunities to improve your score.
While there are a number of factors that help guide us on what chapter is appropriate, the two most common are the “means test” and looking at what types of debts you are looking to address.

The means test looks at your household income as compared to the statewide median income for your household size. Its government’s way of saying that if you make enough money, you should pay at least a portion of what you owe. Particularly for married individuals, the means test is usually calculated off of both spouses’ income, even if only one spouse has the debt complications. Sometimes this rule can make for difficulties in bankruptcy options, and we might look at debt consolidation as an alternative.

The second factor we look at is what debt-problems we are solving. Chapter 7 does very little to assist with problems with secured debt, like a car loan or a mortgage that is behind.

Generally, for someone who meets the basic bankruptcy requirements and is filing in good faith, they will be granted the discharge unless they have done something to disqualify themselves – for example, if they committed fraud
If you need to know when the right time to file for bankruptcy is, then we suggest meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer from The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PL. Under the supervision of the Federal Courts, bankruptcy can be used to dramatically restructure a consumer’s loans or eliminate them altogether. The goal of a Clearwater bankruptcy attorney is to give the consumer a fresh start to better manage their finances. Our goal is to help our clients reach financial stability.
When you find yourself in a financial crisis, you may be wondering what you can do to plan ahead. Should you sell your house? Should you move in with a friend? Would filing for bankruptcy help your situation? Many people are hesitant to file for bankruptcy because it can feel like personal and financial failure. However, bankruptcy is a great tool to use when you need to eliminate and/or reorganize debt.

Our bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PL understand the hesitation you may have when it comes to filing for bankruptcy, but it is possible for you to plan ahead to get more comfortable and understand how the process works. We can work with you to determine how you should be budgeting, how you should time your bankruptcy filing, and to see what kind of exemptions there may be.

This may sound like something you would not need to do. Shouldn’t bankruptcy pull you out of debt once you file? However, for some filers it takes more planning than that. You may think it is good that you can pay off as much debt as possible. However, making larger payments on your debts can sometimes even count against you in the bankruptcy process (this is known as a “preference payment.” Likewise, payments on debts to people that you know personally can create complication in a bankruptcy. This is where you’ll want to review your payments on debts with a professional like the Debt Fighters to see what is right for your situation.
  • Moving. If you are planning to move to another state, the timing for filing bankruptcy is important. If a certain state will allow you to use exemptions to keep more property when you file for bankruptcy, you want to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for the opposite by moving to another state.
  • Bills. When you file for bankruptcy, it does not eliminate your future debt. Instead, it eliminates the debt that you have already accrued. So, if you are hoping to wipe out your medical bills but know that you still have thousands of dollars of medical bills coming in the future, you will still need to pay those. It is best to discuss any future debt you know you will have with your bankruptcy lawyer so that we can advise you on the best timing. 
Filing for bankruptcy can be beneficial if used appropriately, such as when:

  • A consumer has multiple debts that are behind
  • A consumer has lost the income to support the payments due on their loans
  • A consumer is upside down on their home loan or other secured debts
  • A consumer is being garnished
  • A consumer is on the verge of losing their home to foreclosure
While bankruptcy can provide tremendous benefits, filing without the proper guidance from a bankruptcy lawyer at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PLcan be devastating. In fact, without the help of a bankruptcy lawyer in Clearwater, consumers might find themselves worse off than before!

Bankruptcy has numerous requirements under State and Federal law. Additionally, a bankruptcy petition requires a substantial amount of documentation. If the paperwork is not properly completed, a consumer may be forced to turn their property over to the bankruptcy court when they may not otherwise have been required to do so. Even worse, the consumer’s case may simply be dismissed.

Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer helps ensure your rights are upheld. You stand the best possible chance of securing financial stability with the assistance of a professional.

We have filed bankruptcy cases under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. With years of experience as lawyers for bankruptcy, we have adequate knowledge of both state and federal regulations. During the initial meeting, we’ll determine if you meet the bankruptcy qualifications.

The content of this page is general information for educational purposes only and does not constitute as advice for bankruptcy. You can reach our law firm at (727) 538-4188. To meet with a qualified lawyer for bankruptcy insight at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PL simply fill out the form to the right or give us a call.

Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you need to know when the right time to file for bankruptcy is, then we suggest meeting with a bankruptcy lawyer from The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PL. Under the supervision of the Federal Courts, bankruptcy can be used to dramatically restructure a consumer’s loans or eliminate them altogether. The goal of a Clearwater bankruptcy attorney is to give the consumer a fresh start to better manage their finances. Our goal is to help our clients reach financial stability.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer Tampa, FL

Can You Plan Ahead For Bankruptcy?

When you find yourself in a financial crisis, you may be wondering what you can do to plan ahead. Should you sell your house? Should you move in with a friend? Would filing for bankruptcy help your situation? Many people are hesitant to file for bankruptcy because it can feel like personal and financial failure. However, bankruptcy is a great tool to use when you need to eliminate and/or reorganize debt.

Our bankruptcy lawyers at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PL understand the hesitation you may have when it comes to filing for bankruptcy, but it is possible for you to plan ahead to get more comfortable and understand how the process works. We can work with you to determine how you should be budgeting, how you should time your bankruptcy filing, and to see what kind of exemptions there may be. 

How Do I Budget For Bankruptcy?

This may sound like something you would not need to do. Shouldn’t bankruptcy pull you out of debt once you file? However, it takes more planning than that. If you have been able to pay off some of your debt to creditors and are still actively making payments, you may no longer be required to do this after filing for bankruptcy. That now leaves you extra money to budget for yourself each month. When a creditor’s debt will be discharged, such as medical bills and credit card debts, we may encourage you to stop payments.

You may think it is good that you can pay off as much debt as possible. However, once we determine which debt will be discharged it is, frankly, a waste of your money. It is better to use that money to pay off any child support payments you may have missed or your mortgage.

Timing the Filing of Bankruptcy

You may think that if you have no money, you should simply file for bankruptcy as soon as possible. There are a few things a lawyer for bankruptcy may encourage clients to consider when it comes to the timing:

  • Moving. If you are planning to move to another state, the timing for filing bankruptcy is important. If a certain state will allow you to use exemptions to keep more property when you file for bankruptcy, you want to make sure you aren’t setting yourself up for the opposite by moving to another state.
  • Bills. When you file for bankruptcy, it does not eliminate your future debt. Instead, it eliminates the debt that you have already accrued. So, if you are hoping to wipe out your medical bills but know that you still have thousands of dollars of medical bills coming in the future, you will still need to pay those. It is best to discuss any future debt you know you will have with your bankruptcy lawyer so that we can advise you on the best timing.

When is it Time to File for Bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy can be beneficial if used appropriately, such as when:

  • A consumer has multiple debts that are behind
  • A consumer has lost the income to support the payments due on their loans
  • A consumer is upside down on their home loan or other secured debts
  • A consumer is being garnished
  • A consumer is on the verge of losing their home to foreclosure

Why it is Important to Hire
a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

While bankruptcy can provide tremendous benefits, filing without the proper guidance from a bankruptcy lawyer at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PLcan be devastating. In fact, without the help of a bankruptcy lawyer in Clearwater, consumers might find themselves worse off than before!

Bankruptcy has numerous requirements under State and Federal law. Additionally, a bankruptcy petition requires a substantial amount of documentation. If the paperwork is not properly completed, a consumer may be forced to turn their property over to the bankruptcy court when they may not otherwise have been required to do so. Even worse, the consumer’s case may simply be dismissed.

Hiring a bankruptcy lawyer helps ensure your rights are upheld. You stand the best possible chance of securing financial stability with the assistance of a professional.

Additional Information:

Getting Help

We have filed bankruptcy cases under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code. With years of experience as lawyers for bankruptcy, we have adequate knowledge of both state and federal regulations. During the initial meeting, we’ll determine if you meet the bankruptcy qualifications.

The content of this page is general information for educational purposes only and does not constitute as advice for bankruptcy. You can reach our law firm at (727) 538-4188. To meet with a qualified lawyer for bankruptcy insight at The Law Office of Michael A. Ziegler, PL simply fill out the form to the right or give us a call.