There are two types of bankruptcy available to consumers who are struggling with debt- Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Choosing the right one is critical to success in eliminating your debt. Below is a comparison guide to help you best decide which bankruptcy is right for you.
Chapter 7 is a form of liquidation and it is often considered the most straightforward type of bankruptcy. Consumers are essentially given a financial fresh start, oftentimes within three months of filing.
Contrary to the bankruptcy myths surrounding Chapter 7, it does not mean you will lose your home, car or retirement savings. In most Chapter 7 cases, filers do not have assets above the legal threshold, which is set by state law and therefore they do not have to lose anything- only their debt. If a person is filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, they can use Florida’s bankruptcy exemptions to protect valuable property.
Chapter 13 restructures your debt into an affordable repayment plan. The debtor’s obligations are combined into one monthly payment to the bankruptcy trustee, which is then distributed to the creditors. Chapter 13 takes into account your income and expenses, the amount of your debt, the types of debt, and even your property value when setting the repayment plan. If you are behind on your mortgage payments, Chapter 13 allows you to get caught up on these payments and save your home from foreclosure.
Chapter 13 plans can last anywhere from three to five years, but most are five-year plans.
If you are struggling to keep up with your Chapter 13 payments, or have recently lost your job or become ill, Chapter 13 may no longer be the right option for you. You can convert a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy at any time if you become eligible. Many of our clients are surprised to discover they never have to go to court or see a judge in order to convert their Chapter 13 filing to a Chapter 7.
If you have any questions on this topic or are in 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 McMaken 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 McMaken website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.