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Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Gainesville Bankruptcy Attorney

If you are swimming in unsecured debt which you realistically cannot pay off, you may be eligible for a Chapter 7 personal bankruptcy that could eliminate some or all of your unsecured debt to give you a fresh start. A Chapter 7 petition applies to individuals and married couples with overwhelming debt in the form of credit cards, medical or dental bills, utility bills, and personal loans. This type of bankruptcy is known as a liquidation or straight bankruptcy. This is the most common, simplest, and quickest form of bankruptcy case.

In a Chapter 7 filing, you are allowed to retain exempt property under Florida bankruptcy rules. Florida has many exemption categories, including equity in your home and vehicle, retirement and pension plans, Social Security, personal property and many others. Assets which are not exempt are liquidated to pay off your creditors through the courts. In many Florida cases, all of your property may be protected.

In order to file for this type of bankruptcy, you will have to report your income, expenses, assets, and additional financial information to the court. The exemption laws that apply to you will be invoked to protect the maximum amount of property allowed under Florida state rules.

Eligibility for a Florida Chapter 7

In order to qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your income must be equal to or less than the Florida median income for a family of your size. If your income exceeds this, you must then pass a means test in order to determine your eligibility. The means test calculates your disposable income by subtracting certain monthly expenses from your monthly income. If your disposable income exceeds a certain amount, you may not be eligible for a Chapter 7 but could still go on to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

As a bankruptcy lawyer who has handled thousands of cases in and around the Gainesville area, I can help you determine how the means test applies to you and determine your eligibility under Florida state law.

Once your Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition is filed, you will then be under the protection of the court. An automatic stay against your creditors will be imposed, meaning that they will be prohibited from further contact with you. Once your case is completed, the unsecured debt you listed in your petition will be discharged through the courts.

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