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Tampa Bankruptcy Attorney

Tampa Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Foreclosure Defense Through Bankruptcy

The Tampa bankruptcy attorneys at All Family Law Group are experienced in consumer bankruptcy, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, as well as preventing foreclosure through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. We care about our clients and empathize with them on their financial circumstances which lead to them seeking assistance. We understand that financial devastation is something that can happen to anyone, at any time, if the circumstances of their life or the economy changes. We want to help make it as easy as possible to go through the bankruptcy process. Providing all of the needed documents is necessary to a bankruptcy case being confirmed. At the initial consultation, we will get an idea of your circumstances and what the best option for you will be. We will advise you and explain why the timing of a bankruptcy is very important and how it can mean the difference between filing for a Chapter 7 or having to file a Chapter 13. In the consultation, we will give you an overview of all of your options and answer any questions you may have. The goal of our attorneys and legal staff is to provide you with the best representation possible and we are always working toward that goal.

Call 813-321-3421 or e-mail the Tampa bankruptcy attorneys and foreclosure defense attorneys at the law office of All Family Law Group for an initial consultation at no charge to discuss your options.

See the following links for additional information:

Helping Clients Find Effective Tampa Debt Relief with Bankruptcy Protection & Foreclosure Defense

We are Tampa bankruptcy attorneys practicing in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division. This includes the counties of Hillsborough, Pinellas, Manatee, Sarasota, Hardee, Hernando, Polk and Pasco. Our practice includes attorney representation of consumer and business bankruptcy in Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as well as foreclosure defense through Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as debt and foreclosure issues often arise in divorce and family law situations. As property is divided in divorce, and one household is divided into two, divorce sometimes has the unexpected consequence of creating serious financial issues leading to bankruptcy and/or foreclosure. We provide experienced Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy legal services, as well as Foreclosure Defense. Even if you are not going through a divorce, if your debt is unmanageable or you are threatened by home foreclosure, contact our firm for an initial, no-charge discussion of your case.

You can find debt relief through bankruptcy. Furthermore, bankruptcy has an added benefit of no tax consequences on your discharged debt. Going through a debt consolidation or payment program will often result in tax consequences if the amount you owe is reduced. The IRS considers this to be income, and the amount of the reduction will be added to your gross taxable income.

We will review your particular situation to determine if bankruptcy is best for you or if now is the best time to go through bankruptcy. We can help you plan so that it may be possible for you to go through Chapter 7 in the future when you do not qualify for it now.  Or if you qualify for a chapter 7 and if you are in arrears on your real property and want to retain it, then you can do a chapter 7 and then a chapter 13 where you will pay the arrears over either a three year or five year period.  This is known as a Chapter 20 bankruptcy.

Our Tampa bankruptcy attorneys will help you with your bankruptcy case even if you are not close to our office. This can be accomplished entirely online via the internet, mail and telephone. All bankruptcy clients, regardless of their location within the Middle District of Florida’s Tampa Division, will have to attend one Meeting of Creditors in downtown Tampa across from the Federal Courthouse. The Meeting of Creditors is held approximately 35 days from the date of filing your petition.

The Bankruptcy Process

Article I, Section 8, of the United States Constitution authorized Congress to enact “uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies.” Under this grant of authority, Congress enacted the “Bankruptcy Code” in 1978. The Bankruptcy Code, which is codified as title 11 of the United States Code, has been amended several times since its enactment. It is the uniform federal law that governs all bankruptcy cases.

The procedural aspects of the bankruptcy process are governed by the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure (often called the “Bankruptcy Rules”) and local rules of each bankruptcy court. The Bankruptcy Rules contain a set of official forms for use in bankruptcy cases. The Bankruptcy Code and Bankruptcy Rules (and local rules) set forth the formal legal procedures for dealing with the debt problems of individuals and businesses.

The court official with decision-making power over federal bankruptcy cases is the United States bankruptcy judge, a judicial officer of the United States district court. The bankruptcy judge may decide any matter connected with a bankruptcy case, such as eligibility to file or whether a debtor should receive a discharge of debts. Much of the bankruptcy process is administrative, however, and is conducted away from the courthouse. In cases under chapters 7, 12, or 13, and sometimes in chapter 11 cases, this administrative process is carried out by a trustee who is appointed to oversee the case.

A debtor’s involvement with the bankruptcy judge is usually very limited. A typical chapter 7 debtor will not appear in court and will not see the bankruptcy judge unless an objection is raised in the case. A chapter 13 debtor may only have to appear before the bankruptcy judge at a plan confirmation hearing. Usually, the only formal proceeding at which a debtor must appear is the meeting of creditors, which is usually held at the offices of the U.S. trustee. This meeting is informally called a “341 meeting” because section 341 of the Bankruptcy Code requires that the debtor attend this meeting so that creditors can question the debtor about debts and property.

Before you can file either Chapter 7 or 13, you must pass muster under a “means test”. The means test identifies those debtors who have the financial capacity to pay a significant portion of their bills to creditors. It involves comparing the debtor’s income to the median income of the state where the debtor is located. If the debtor’s income is higher, another set of calculations (based on ratios of debt to income) will identify whether he or she can file a Chapter 7 liquidation or Chapter 13 repayment case.

Two primary types of bankruptcy cases are provided for under the Bankruptcy Code. The cases are traditionally given the names of the chapters that describe them.

Chapter 7, entitled Liquidation, contemplates an orderly, court-supervised procedure by which a trustee takes over the assets of the debtor’s estate, reduces them to cash, and makes distributions to creditors, subject to the debtor’s right to retain certain exempt property and the rights of secured creditors. Because there is usually little or no nonexempt property in most chapter 7 cases, there may not be an actual liquidation of the debtor’s assets. In other words, the debtor is allowed to keep most, if not all, of their property. These cases are called “no-asset cases.” A creditor holding an unsecured claim will get a distribution from the bankruptcy estate only if the case is an asset case and the creditor files a proof of claim with the bankruptcy court. In most chapter 7 cases, if the debtor is an individual, he or she receives a discharge that releases him or her from personal liability for certain dischargeable debts. The debtor normally receives a discharge just a few months after the petition is filed. Amendments to the Bankruptcy Code enacted in to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005 require the application of a “means test” to determine whether individual consumer debtors qualify for relief under chapter 7. If such a debtor’s income is in excess of certain thresholds, the debtor may not be eligible for chapter 7 relief.

Chapter 13, entitled Adjustment of Debts of an Individual With Regular Income, is designed for an individual debtor who has a regular source of income. Chapter 13 is sometimes preferable to chapter 7 because it provides an opportunity to save a home from foreclosure by allowing a debtor to “catch up” past due payments through a payment plan – usually three to five years. Chapter 13 is also used by consumer debtors who do not qualify for chapter 7 relief under the means test. At a confirmation hearing, the court either approves or disapproves the debtor’s repayment plan, depending on whether it meets the Bankruptcy Code’s requirements for confirmation. Chapter 13 is very different from chapter 7 since the chapter 13 debtor usually remains in possession of the property of the estate and makes payments to creditors, through the trustee, based on the debtor’s anticipated income over the life of the plan. Unlike chapter 7, the debtor does not receive an immediate discharge of debts. The debtor must complete the payments required under the plan before the discharge is received. The debtor is protected from lawsuits, garnishments, and other creditor actions while the plan is in effect. Please keep in mind that even though a debtor does not qualify for a chapter 7 under the means test, they may still qualify for a zero payment plan. In other words, the plan payments are based on what the debtor can afford to pay which can be zero.

In addition to the basic types of bankruptcy cases, Bankruptcy Basics provides an overview of the Servicemembers’ Civil Relief Act, which, among other things, provides protection to members of the military against the entry of default judgments and gives the court the ability to stay proceedings against military debtors.

Tampa Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

A chapter 7 case begins with the debtor filing a petition with the bankruptcy court In addition to the petition, the debtor must also file with the court: (1) schedules of assets and liabilities; (2) a schedule of current income and expenditures; (3) a statement of financial affairs; and (4) a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases. Debtors must also provide the assigned case trustee with a copy of documents such as tax returns, bank statements, proof of income, etc. Individual debtors with primarily consumer debts must also file a certificate of credit counseling and a copy of any debt repayment plan developed through credit counseling and certificate of post-bankruptcy financial counseling. A husband and wife may file a joint petition or individual petitions. Even if filing jointly, a husband and wife are subject to all the document filing requirements of individual debtors.

In order to complete the Official Bankruptcy Forms that make up the petition, statement of financial affairs, and schedules, the debtor must provide the following information:

1.A list of all creditors and the amount and nature of their claims;
2.The source, amount, and frequency of the debtor’s income;
3.A list of all of the debtor’s property; and
4.A detailed list of the debtor’s monthly living expenses, i.e., food, clothing, shelter, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine, etc.

Married individuals must gather this information for their spouse regardless of whether they are filing a joint petition, separate individual petitions, or even if only one spouse is filing. In a situation where only one spouse files, the income and expenses of the non-filing spouse is required so that the court, the trustee and creditors can evaluate the household’s financial position.

Among the schedules that an individual debtor will file is a schedule of “exempt” property. The Bankruptcy Code allows an individual debtor to protect some property from the claims of creditors because it is exempt under federal bankruptcy law or under the laws of the debtor’s home state. The debtor should consult an attorney to determine the exemptions available in the state where the debtor lives.

Filing a petition under chapter 7 “automatically stays” (stops) most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor’s property. But filing the petition does not stay certain types of actions listed under 11 U.S.C. § 362(b), and the stay may be effective only for a short time in some situations. The stay arises by operation of law and requires no judicial action. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even telephone calls demanding payments. The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor.

Between 20 and 40 days after the petition is filed, the case trustee will hold a meeting of creditors. During this meeting, the trustee puts the debtor under oath, and both the trustee and creditors may ask questions. The debtor must attend the meeting and answer questions regarding the debtor’s financial affairs and property. If a husband and wife have filed a joint petition, they both must attend the creditors’ meeting and answer questions. Within 10 days of the creditors’ meeting, the U.S. trustee will report to the court whether the case should be presumed to be an abuse under the means test described in 11 U.S.C. § 704(b).

It is important for the debtor to cooperate with the trustee and to provide any financial records or documents that the trustee requests. The Bankruptcy Code requires the trustee to ask the debtor questions at the meeting of creditors to ensure that the debtor is aware of the potential consequences of seeking a discharge in bankruptcy such as the effect on credit history, the ability to file a petition under a different chapter, the effect of receiving a discharge, and the effect of reaffirming a debt. Some trustees provide written information on these topics at or before the meeting to ensure that the debtor is aware of this information. In addition, the debtor must provide requested documentation to the trustee within seven (7) days of the meeting or the meeting with be rescheduled. Rescheduling this meeting usually causes the debtor to incur additional fees as the debtor is required to provide all creditors with notice of the rescheduled date.

Tampa Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

A chapter 13 case begins by filing a petition with the bankruptcy court serving the area where the debtor has a domicile or residence. Unless the court orders otherwise, the debtor must also file with the court: (1) schedules of assets and liabilities; (2) a schedule of current income and expenditures; (3) a schedule of executory contracts and unexpired leases; and (4) a statement of financial affairs. The debtor must also file a certificate of credit counseling and post-bankruptcy financial education counseling, like a chapter 7. The debtor must provide the chapter 13 case trustee with a copies of documents much like a chapter 7. A husband and wife may file a joint petition or individual petitions.

In order to complete the Official Bankruptcy Forms that make up the petition, statement of financial affairs, and schedules, the debtor must compile the following information:

1.A list of all creditors and the amounts and nature of their claims;
2.The source, amount, and frequency of the debtor’s income;
3.A list of all of the debtor’s property; and
4.A detailed list of the debtor’s monthly living expenses, i.e., food, clothing, shelter, utilities, taxes, transportation, medicine, etc.

Married individuals must gather this information for their spouse regardless of whether they are filing a joint petition, separate individual petitions, or even if only one spouse is filing. In a situation where only one spouse files, the income and expenses of the non-filing spouse is required so that the court, the trustee and creditors can evaluate the household’s financial position.

When an individual files a chapter 13 petition, an impartial trustee is appointed to administer the case. In some districts, the U.S. trustee or bankruptcy administrator appoints a standing trustee to serve in all chapter 13 cases. 28 U.S.C. § 586(b). The chapter 13 trustee both evaluates the case and serves as a disbursing agent, collecting payments from the debtor and making distributions to creditors.

Filing the petition under chapter 13 “automatically stays” (stops) most collection actions against the debtor or the debtor’s property. Filing the petition does not, however, stay certain types of actions listed under 11 U.S.C. § 362(b), and the stay may be effective only for a short time in some situations. The stay arises by operation of law and requires no judicial action. As long as the stay is in effect, creditors generally may not initiate or continue lawsuits, wage garnishments, or even make telephone calls demanding payments. The bankruptcy clerk gives notice of the bankruptcy case to all creditors whose names and addresses are provided by the debtor.

Chapter 13 also contains a special automatic stay provision that protects co-debtors. Unless the bankruptcy court authorizes otherwise, a creditor may not seek to collect a “consumer debt” from any individual who is liable along with the debtor. 11 U.S.C. § 1301(a). Consumer debts are those incurred by an individual primarily for a personal, family, or household purpose.

Individuals may use a chapter 13 proceeding to save their home from foreclosure. The automatic stay stops the foreclosure proceeding as soon as the individual files the chapter 13 petition. The individual may then bring the past-due payments current over a reasonable period of time. Nevertheless, the debtor may still lose the home if the mortgage company completes the foreclosure sale under state law before the debtor files the petition.11 U.S.C. § 1322©. The debtor may also lose the home if he or she fails to make the regular mortgage payments that come due after the chapter 13 filing.

Between 20 and 50 days after the debtor files the chapter 13 petition, the chapter 13 trustee will hold a meeting of creditors. During this meeting, the trustee places the debtor under oath, and both the trustee and creditors may ask questions. The debtor must attend the meeting and answer questions regarding his or her financial affairs and the proposed terms of the plan.11 U.S.C. § 343. If a husband and wife file a joint petition, they both must attend the creditors’ meeting and answer questions. In order to preserve their independent judgment, bankruptcy judges are prohibited from attending the creditors’ meeting. 11 U.S.C. § 341©. The parties typically resolve problems with the plan either during or shortly after the creditors’ meeting. Generally, the debtor can avoid problems by making sure that the petition and plan are complete and accurate, and by consulting with the trustee prior to the meeting.

In a chapter 13 case, to participate in distributions from the bankruptcy estate, unsecured creditors must file their claims with the court within 90 days after the first date set for the meeting of creditors. A governmental unit, however, has 180 days from the date the case is filed file a proof of claim.11 U.S.C. § 502(b)(9).

After the meeting of creditors, the debtor, the chapter 13 trustee, and those creditors who wish to attend will come to court for a hearing on the debtor’s chapter 13 repayment plan.

The Chapter 13 Plan and Confirmation Hearing

Unless the court grants an extension, the debtor must file a repayment plan with the petition or within 15 days after the petition is filed. A plan must be submitted for court approval and must provide for payments of fixed amounts to the trustee on a regular basis, typically biweekly or monthly. The trustee then distributes the funds to creditors according to the terms of the plan, which may offer creditors less than full payment on their claims.

There are three types of claims: priority, secured, and unsecured. Priority claims are those granted special status by the bankruptcy law, such as most taxes and the costs of bankruptcy proceeding. Secured claims are those for which the creditor has the right take back certain property (i.e., the collateral) if the debtor does not pay the underlying debt. In contrast to secured claims, unsecured claims are generally those for which the creditor has no special rights to collect against particular property owned by the debtor.

The plan must pay priority claims in full unless a particular priority creditor agrees to different treatment of the claim or, in the case of a domestic support obligation, unless the debtor contributes all “disposable income” to a five-year plan.11 U.S.C. § 1322(a).

If the debtor wants to keep the collateral securing a particular claim, the plan must provide that the holder of the secured claim receive at least the value of the collateral. If the obligation underlying the secured claim was used the buy the collateral (e.g., a car loan), and the debt was incurred within certain time frames before the bankruptcy filing, the plan must provide for full payment of the debt, not just the value of the collateral (which may be less due to depreciation). Payments to certain secured creditors (i.e., the home mortgage lender), may be made over the original loan repayment schedule (which may be longer than the plan) so long as any arrearage is made up during the plan. The debtor should consult an attorney to determine the proper treatment of secured claims in the plan.

The plan need not pay unsecured claims in full as long it provides that the debtor will pay all projected “disposable income” over an “applicable commitment period,” and as long as unsecured creditors receive at least as much under the plan as they would receive if the debtor’s assets were liquidated under chapter 7. In chapter 13, “disposable income” is income (other than child support payments received by the debtor) less amounts reasonably necessary for the maintenance or support of the debtor or dependents and less charitable contributions up to 15% of the debtor’s gross income. If the debtor operates a business, the definition of disposable income excludes those amounts which are necessary for ordinary operating expenses. The “applicable commitment period” depends on the debtor’s current monthly income. The applicable commitment period must be three years if current monthly income is less than the state median for a family of the same size – and five years if the current monthly income is greater than a family of the same size. The plan may be less than the applicable commitment period (three or five years) only if unsecured debt is paid in full over a shorter period.

Within 30 days after filing the bankruptcy case, even if the plan has not yet been approved by the court, the debtor must start making plan payments to the trustee. If any secured loan payments or lease payments come due before the debtor’s plan is confirmed (typically home and automobile payments), the debtor must make adequate protection payments directly to the secured lender or lessor – deducting the amount paid from the amount that would otherwise be paid to the trustee.

No later than 45 days after the meeting of creditors, the bankruptcy judge must hold a confirmation hearing and decide whether the plan is feasible and meets the standards for confirmation set forth in the Bankruptcy Code. Creditors will receive 25 days’ notice of the hearing and may object to confirmation. While a variety of objections may be made, the most frequent ones are that payments offered under the plan are less than creditors would receive if the debtor’s assets were liquidated or that the debtor’s plan does not commit all of the debtor’s projected disposable income for the three or five year applicable commitment period.

If the court confirms the plan, the chapter 13 trustee will distribute funds received under the plan “as soon as is practicable.” If the court declines to confirm the plan, the debtor may file a modified plan. The debtor may also convert the case to a liquidation case under chapter 7. If the court declines to confirm the plan or the modified plan and instead dismisses the case, the court may authorize the trustee to keep some funds for costs, but the trustee must return all remaining funds to the debtor (other than funds already disbursed or due to creditors).

Occasionally, a change in circumstances may compromise the debtor’s ability to make plan payments. For example, a creditor may object or threaten to object to a plan, or the debtor may inadvertently have failed to list all creditors. In such instances, the plan may be modified either before or after confirmation. Modification after confirmation is not limited to an initiative by the debtor, but may be at the request of the trustee or an unsecured creditor.

Making the Plan Work

The provisions of a confirmed plan bind the debtor and each creditor. Once the court confirms the plan, the debtor must make the plan succeed. The debtor must make regular payments to the trustee either directly or through payroll deduction, which will require adjustment to living on a fixed budget for a prolonged period. Furthermore, while confirmation of the plan entitles the debtor to retain property as long as payments are made, the debtor may not incur new debt without consulting the trustee, because additional debt may compromise the debtor’s ability to complete the plan.

A debtor may make plan payments through payroll deductions. This practice increases the likelihood that payments will be made on time and that the debtor will complete the plan. In any event, if the debtor fails to make the payments due under the confirmed plan, the court may dismiss the case or convert it to a liquidation case under chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. The court may also dismiss or convert the debtor’s case if the debtor fails to pay any post-filing domestic support obligations (i.e., child support, alimony), or fails to make required tax filings during the case.

Tampa Bankruptcy & Debt Relief FAQs

Below are answers to some of the questions the attorneys at All Family Law Group encounter most frequently as they assist consumers, businesses, and homeowners in filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the Tampa Bay area or finding other means of effective debt relief. If you have other questions, or if you need advice and assistance in a bankruptcy or related matter, contact our office for a free consultation with an experienced Tampa bankruptcy attorney.

What is the “Automatic Stay?”

The moment you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect which immediately stops your creditors from trying to collect any money from you in any way, including sending threatening letters or making harassing phone calls, trying to garnish your wages, or attempting to repossess your car or other personal property. The automatic stay even stops or prevents a home foreclosure. Only creditors who apply to the court and are granted relief from the stay are allowed to proceed with collection efforts while a bankruptcy is pending.

Do I have to sell my property if I file for bankruptcy?

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors are required to sell their assets and use the proceeds to pay their creditors before they can receive a discharge of the remaining debt in bankruptcy. However, Florida bankruptcy law provides so many exemptions allowing you to keep your home, car, wages, pension, and other personal property, that many people are able to file a “no-asset” bankruptcy and have their debts discharged without having to sell any property at all.

Will bankruptcy wipe out all my debt?

It depends on what kinds of debt you have and what type of bankruptcy you file. Most unsecured debt, such as doctor bills or credit card debt, can be discharged in Chapter 7, as well as some kinds of tax debt and even certain student loans. If you have secured debt, like a home mortgage or a car loan, getting the debt discharged might still leave you vulnerable to losing the collateral, so be sure to consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney in planning your bankruptcy. In Chapter 13, some debts are reduced or discharged, while others are consolidated into a payment plan, allowing you to become debt-free comfortably over a three or five-year period.

What is the “Means Test?”

A means test is a formula that looks at your income and expenses to determine eligibility for filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy or for determining certain features of a Chapter 13 debt adjustment plan. If your household income is below the median income in Florida, you can qualify for Chapter 7 without going through the means test.

What is the “341 Creditors’ Meeting?” Do I have to face my creditors in court?

The section 341 Meeting of Creditors is a meeting called by the U.S. Bankruptcy Trustee in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Creditors are notified of the meeting and may attend, and the creditors and the trustee may ask questions about the bankruptcy filer’s assets. Typically, creditors do not attend, and the entire meeting takes about five minutes. Court appearances by the debtor are not generally required at any time during the bankruptcy.

How can I get my creditors to stop calling and harassing me?

The conduct of professional bill collectors and collection agencies is regulated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. For instance, they cannot call you too early in the morning or late at night, or at other inconvenient times. They may not threaten or harass you, and they are limited in what they can say to other people concerning your debt. If you think that bill collectors arebreaking the law, you can sue them in court and collect damages. Another way to stop creditor harassment is to file for bankruptcy, which invokes the automatic stay discussed above. Also, once you let the creditor or bill collector know that you hired an attorney, they must stop contacting you directly and should deal with your lawyer instead.

Our Tampa bankruptcy attorneys are available for consultation by webcam, telephone or in office consultation.

Even if you are not close to our office, we serve those in Hillsborough County and the surrounding counties in the Tampa Bankruptcy Division of the Middle District of Florida. All those who file for bankruptcy in these counties must attend a meeting of creditors in Tampa, Florida. Our firm is technically advanced and we can work entirely through the internet and by telephone.

Tampa Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorneys

Chapter 7 bankruptcy will eliminate most debt with some exceptions within 90 to 120 days after filing the bankruptcy petition. This form of bankruptcy is limited to individuals or married couples whose income is at or below the median, either initially or through a means test. At All Family Law Group, we offer effective, responsive and experienced Chapter 7 bankruptcy services.  If you have a business, you may want to liquidate it and your business debts can be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you want to retain your business and reorganize the business debts and obtain a plan payment, you will have to file for a Chapter 11 bankruptcy. If you are agricultural, you may be eligible to file a Chapter 12 bankruptcy.

Tampa Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys

When you do not qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy because of your income or you do not want to give the Trustee your non-exempt assets, then an option may be to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is a plan for reorganization of your debt which will be either for 36 or 60 months. The plan can only be for 36 months if your income is below the median. In addition, you may want to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have a mortgage arrearage, to modify a mortgage, as well as to strip a second mortgage if the first mortgage is equal to or more than the market value of the property; however, there has been recent case law which makes stripping a second mortgage available in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy prevents foreclosure.

Foreclosure: What Are Your Rights?:

The number of homes in foreclosure is overwhelming. Many people had an asset in their residence until the market crashed and thereafter home market values have decreased substantially which leaves many Floridians with homes that are “under water”. They owe so much more than their property is worth. Each lender has it’s own rules as to when it will foreclose upon the mortgagors. Furthermore, once a Petition of Foreclosure has been filed with the Court and is personally served upon the parties on the mortgage, the length of the process varies depending upon the lender. Often a lender will initially proceed with a foreclosure, only to allow the action to sit without any activity on it. In addition, lenders may be reluctant to foreclose even if they are able to begin the procedure, as they are waiting for the market values to increase. The housing market has recently shown an upward turn in market values and they are believed to continue to rise. Chapter 13 bankruptcy can stop foreclosure and allow the borrower to pay the mortgage arrearage over a 3 to 5 year period. Also, depending on the circumstances, a mortgage may be able to be modified and the mortgage payment lowered in the bankruptcy.

Contact Our Tampa Bankruptcy & Foreclosure Attorneys

We have a team of attorneys and legal staff committed to providing to you the best representation possible. Contact our firm by e-mail or call 813-321-3421 for a free initial consultation to discuss your case. We will respond at our earliest opportunity!

All Family Law Group, P.A.
The law firm of All Family Law Group (Lynette Silon-Laguna, P.A.) provides legal services to the cities of Tampa, Clearwater, Brandon, Riverview, Lakeland, Valrico, Gibsonton, Lithia, Mango, Palm River, Plant City, Seffner, Sun City Center, Apollo Beach, Ruskin, Temple Terrace, Carrollwood, Thonotosassa, Lutz, FishHawk, MacDill Air Force Base, and all of Hillsborough, Pinellas & Polk Counties.

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