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Category: Bankruptcy

Avoiding Mistakes When Filing Bankruptcy

Important Information for Filing Bankruptcy in Jacksonville, FL As FBI Agent William J. Maddalena stated in a recent press release, “[f]ederal bankruptcy proceedings can be a lifesaver for honest individuals overwhelmed by debt.” But why was an FBI agent talking about filing bankruptcy? Isn’t the FBI’s job to investigate crimes? Bankruptcy Fraud is a Crime As a matter of common sense and ethics, most bankruptcy filers know that they should not lie in their bankruptcy filings. But some[...]

Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions Provide Protection

Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what most people would think of when they think “bankruptcy.” It is the process by which individuals have many or all of their debts discharged. This is achieved through a liquidation process by which many of the debtor’s assets are sold. The proceeds from this liquidation are then used to satisfy creditors. Whatever debt is leftover is, in many cases, then wiped out, giving the debtor a clean slate. This process may seem frightening,[...]

Understanding the Bankruptcy Discharge

One of the biggest advantages of filing for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the bankruptcy discharge of certain debts that comes along with successful completion of the proceedings.  A Bankruptcy Discharge Is… A bankruptcy discharge is a permanent court order prohibiting creditors of the bankruptcy debtor from taking any action to collect discharged debts. This includes legal action as well as direct communications with the debtor (text messages, phone calls, emails, letters, etc.). I[...]

Pro Se Bankruptcy – Don't Go It Alone

Pro se is a Latin phrase meaning “for oneself” or “on one’s own behalf.” It refers to individuals who don’t use an attorney but instead, represent themselves in court. The rules that govern proceedings in federal courts (bankruptcy courts are federal) explicitly permit persons to appear pro se and represent themselves. However, just because something is permissible doesn’t always mean it’s a good idea. In re Baker 544 B.R. 461, a recent a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy case out of the Uni[...]

Automatic Stay to Prevent Creditor Lawsuits

If you’ve fallen behind on credit card, mortgage, or other payments on debt, it’s easy and natural to ignore the problem. This is particularly true if you don’t currently have the money to pay off the debt. You might be thinking if you just wait and ignore the collection calls, eventually you will have the funds to pay off the debt. That strategy does buy you time, but at the expense of interest accruing and of stress. And, unfortunately, eventually the creditor usually gets fed up and [...]

Enforcing the Automatic Stay

The decision to declare bankruptcy is not an easy one and many find themselves feeling overwhelmed or stressed by the decision or the process.  In most cases, the stress is two-fold: financial stress and emotional stress.  The emotional stress is often caused by, or at least exacerbated by the near constant reminder of debt from creditor calls and letters. The Bankruptcy Code has within it a provision that often helps alleviate some of this stress once bankruptcy is declared: the automatic sta[...]

"Surrender" Under Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy and foreclosure are in some ways very different.  The former involves primarily federal law, seeks to assist the debtor, and involves all of a debtors assets and liabilities.  Foreclosure in contrast involves primarily state law, seeks to assist the creditor in securing the rights to the collateral property, and involves only the debtors home.  Despite these differences, the two areas of law overlap at points, in part because many debtors filing for bankruptcy have property that i[...]

Bankruptcy Fraud and Reform

Bankruptcy Reforms Criticized by Experts During a panel but on by the American Bankruptcy Institute, the 2005 overhaul of bankruptcy laws was sharply criticized by one of the panelists, an attorney that represents debtors in bankruptcy.  The 2005 overhaul was designed to help decrease abuse of the system by debtors and increase the relief unsecured creditors obtained.  The critique was that after ten years, the laws actually seem to have hurt consumers through the increased cost in filing for [...]

Stripping Liens Down in Florida Bankruptcy Courts

Stripping down in court is typically disfavored and a quick way to get kicked out.  But, as with all things legal, there’s an exception for a different kind of stripping: stripping liens. Stripping Liens Basics Stripping Liens, authorized by 11 U.S.C. § 506, conceptually divides certain claims secured by liens on property into two claims: an unsecured claim and a secured claim.  For example, let’s say Creditor A has loaned a debtor $100,000 and secured that loan with a mortgage on propert[...]

A "Relative" Large Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

In late July, Relativity Media filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy and Hollywood and bankruptcy enthusiasts alike are closely watching the case.  If you’re unfamiliar with the name, Relativity is the third largest mini-major film studio in the world with credits for producing titles (some with other production companies) like Limitless, Interns, Les Miserables, The Best of Me, Fast & Furious 6, and the TV show Catfish.  The company’s estimated assets are between $100 and $500 million with [...]