In the past year and a half, at least 85 Tampa Bay residents have been banned from refilling for bankruptcy, after it became evident that they did so only to save their homes. Another 25 bay area debtors who have pending bankruptcy cases have been ordered to show cause as to why they should not be categorized as ‘abusive filers.’
Tampa Bay bankruptcy judges have had enough and are cracking down on non-lawyers who have prepared petitions for these serial filers. To draw in new business, one preparer bragged to prospective clients that he had filed for bankruptcy six times to block foreclosure on his own home.
Debtors already barred from re-filing include:
A Palm Harbor couple who filed for bankruptcy 11 times in eight years to stop foreclosure. The bank got a final judgment against them in 2007, but repeatedly had to cancel foreclosure auctions because of all the filings.
Another Palm Harbor couple who filed 18 bankruptcy petitions over ten years. They had been living free for 12 years before the bank finally got a writ of possession in 2014.
A Safety Harbor woman who has filed seven bankruptcy petitions since 2011, including two in 2015. She has not made a mortgage payment in more than six years.
Bankruptcy judges agree that these serial filers are a ‘drain on the system’ and take time away from the legitimate cases. Currently, there is no limit as to how many bankruptcy petitions an individual can file. In all bankruptcy cases, it is true that as soon as a petition is filed, an automatic stay takes effect barring banks and other creditors from trying to collect debts, including mortgage debts. At the same time, the filer must present an honest and accurate account of assets, liabilities and creditors.
There is a procedure in place to catch anyone declaring bankruptcy for a third time. Judges can order the debtor to come to court and prove why he or she should not be declared an abusive serial bankruptcy filer.
If you have any questions on this topic or are in a financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.