Bankruptcy Law

What Happens When You File for Bankruptcy? 

The bankruptcy process is meant to give consumers who are struggling financially a fresh start. However, many consumers hold off due to the fear of filing for bankruptcy, even if it is the best option. Bankruptcy cases have both positive aspects, as well as negative ones, that go along with beginning and successfully finalizing a case. It is important to understand how a bankruptcy case works before moving forward with filing so that the person filing knows what to expect.  

Automatic Stay 

One of the most positive aspects of proceeding with a consumer bankruptcy case is the automatic stay that accompanies the filing. As soon as a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case is initiated, an automatic stay of all collection efforts against the filer is issued. What this means is the consumer’s creditors are temporarily blocked from moving forward on collecting any outstanding debt. This stay also stops wage garnishments, foreclosures, or completion of legal collections cases. The purpose of the automatic stay is to give the consumer a chance to work with the bankruptcy trustee on determining how various debts should be handled. A creditor can file a request to continue collection even though an automatic stay has been issued, but they can only continue if the request is granted.  

Bankruptcy Law

Applying for a Mortgage After Bankruptcy

One of the biggest worries that filers have when proceeding with a bankruptcy case is how the matter will affect their ability to obtain financing in the future, including a mortgage for a new home. While a bankruptcy case does impact a person’s credit score, all hope is not lost for eventually being able to purchase a home and obtain a mortgage. It depends a great deal on the success of the bankruptcy case and the consumer’s financial habits after the case is closed.

A Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy case is a much faster bankruptcy route that takes several months to finalize, while a Chapter 13 reorganization bankruptcy case can take between three to five years to finalize. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case can stay on a person’s credit report for up to ten years from the date of filing, while a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case can stay on a person’s credit report for seven years from the date of filing or ten years if the bankruptcy is not completed or discharged.

Florida Super Lawyers, Kingcade Garcia McMaken

Miami Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade Named a Florida Super Lawyer 7 Consecutive Years

MIAMI – Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers 2020, in the practice area of consumer bankruptcy. This is the seventh consecutive year Kingcade has been selected to the Florida Super Lawyers list (2014-2020). The designation means that he is a top-rated attorney as recognized by peers. The prestigious honor is awarded to only five percent of lawyers in the state.

Attorney Kingcade practices exclusively in the field of bankruptcy law, handling Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings for the Southern District of Florida.  As an experienced CPA and proven bankruptcy attorney, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of their rights under the bankruptcy laws to restart, rebuild and recover.

Florida Super Lawyers, Kingcade Garcia McMaken

Attorney Kristina Gonzalez of Kingcade Garcia McMaken Selected as a 2020 “Rising Star” by Florida Super Lawyers

MIAMI – Attorney Kristina Gonzalez of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been selected for inclusion in Florida Super Lawyers 2020 as a Rising Star in the practice area of consumer bankruptcy.

The list recognizes the top up-and-coming attorneys in the State of Florida. A select group of 2.5 percent of attorneys are named to the prestigious Rising Stars list.

Bankruptcy Law

The Most Common Forms of Bankruptcy Fraud

Bankruptcy laws require that the filer be honest and open about his or her financial situation, including disclosing all assets and debts. While no one wants to lose property to pay off creditors, some assets must be sold during the bankruptcy case to pay off the filer’s debts. If a filer actively tries to hide or fails to disclose information in hopes of keeping it from the bankruptcy court, this is called bankruptcy fraud and it can cause your case to be dismissed.

Hiding Assets

Concealing assets is one of the more common forms of bankruptcy fraud. Approximately 70 percent of all cases where some type of fraud was reported involved concealment of assets. It can involve the person simply leaving a certain asset off the list of those reported to the bankruptcy trustee. It can also involve hiding the asset through a fraudulent transfer, including giving the asset to someone else to keep it during the duration of the bankruptcy case, with the intent that the person holding the asset will return it after the case concludes. If this type of fraud is discovered, the filer and the person holding the asset could be held liable for bankruptcy fraud.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Protections of the Bankruptcy Automatic Stay

One of the best tools available to bankruptcy filers is the automatic stay. When a person files for bankruptcy, the court will issue an order called an automatic stay. This puts an immediate stop to collection attempts, creditor harassment, along with any civil lawsuits filed against the person pursuing bankruptcy.

The automatic stay also provides some much-needed relief to filers who are likely facing a number of different stressors and collection actions at once. It allows the person to be freed from those conflicts so that he or she can work with the bankruptcy trustee on the best method to deal with creditors.

Benefits of the Automatic Stay

Many times, someone going through a difficult financial situation may find himself or herself at the point where he or she is on the brink of losing the most basic of living necessities. If someone is behind on their utility bill and could potentially lose water, electric or gas, the automatic stay will give that person an additional number of days to work out the situation and hopefully avoid their utility from being shut off.

The same applies for someone facing foreclosure. The automatic stay will put an immediate halt to the proceedings. If the filer rents his or her home and is facing eviction proceedings, the automatic stay may also provide some temporary relief. If the person’s landlord already has a judgment of possession against the renter when bankruptcy is filed, however, the automatic stay will not be able to help him or her from being evicted. If it has not gotten to that point in the eviction proceeding, the automatic stay will be able to put a temporary halt to the eviction so that the person can figure out his or her next step rather than being tossed out immediately.

Many filers also find themselves facing wage garnishment by the time they decide to file for bankruptcy. A bankruptcy petition will put a stop to most garnishments, although not all, specifically child support or alimony.  Other garnishments for debts that would be able to be discharged in bankruptcy, such as personal loans or credit card debt, can be stopped and will likely end up being discharged at the end of the proceedings.

The key with an automatic stay is it provides relief to the filer who is likely feeling a great deal of stress at the time of filing. As a consumer, you have rights if the creditor does not follow the proper procedure and violates the automatic stay. Any violation should be immediately reported to your attorney, as well as the bankruptcy court. Depending on the violation and the behavior of the creditor, he or she may face fines, and severe penalties for the violation.

If you have 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.

Source: https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/how-bankruptcy-stops-creditors-automatic-29723.html

 

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief

The Differences Between Secured Debt and Unsecured Debt

When it comes to debt and how it is handled in a bankruptcy case, two main categories exist, namely secured and unsecured debt. Even if you are not at the point yet where you will be filing for bankruptcy, knowing the type of debt involved can make a big difference, especially when money is tight, and you are worried about which debt to pay first: the mortgage or the credit card bill.

The main difference between secured and unsecured debt is the fact that one debt is secured by collateral and the other is not. Secured debt is debt that is guaranteed by collateral, which is something of value that the lender can seize for payment in the event the borrower is no longer able to pay on the debt.

Mortgages and auto loans are classic examples of secured debt. If you default on your mortgage or your car loan, the bank can foreclose on your home or repossess your vehicle to satisfy the debt. In comparison, unsecured debt is debt that is issued to someone but is not guaranteed by collateral.  The most common types of unsecured debt include payday loans, credit card debt, student loans, and medical bills.

When you are not able to continue paying on your unsecured debt, the lender cannot collect your property to satisfy the debt. However, they can report your account as delinquent, which will hurt your credit score. They can also pursue a legal judgment against you for the debt, resulting in a possible wage garnishment.

For the most part, secured debt tends to carry a lower interest rate on the amount owed. The main reason for this difference is the lender has some type of guarantee that they will receive payment, even if you default later. The lender does not have that same guarantee with unsecured debt. It is for this reason that unsecured debt tends to carry a higher interest rate because the investment is seen as more risk for the lender.

When it comes to a bankruptcy case, secured debt is handled differently than unsecured debt. If you are filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, unsecured debt normally ends up being discharged at the end of the case, while secured debt can stay with the asset. If you are struggling to pay unsecured debt, such as credit cards or medical bills, filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case may be a viable option for dealing with the debt. If you are struggling to pay for both secured and unsecured debt, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case may be a good option to allow you to continue paying on your mortgage and stay in your home while discharging unsecured debt at the end of the payment period. An experienced bankruptcy attorney can evaluate your financial situation, after looking at the different types of debt you are carrying to determine which plan is best for you.

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If you have 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.

 

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

What Happens to Your Debt during Bankruptcy?

Eliminating debt is one of the biggest reasons people file for bankruptcy.  Although bankruptcy can eliminate many types of debt, not all debt can be discharged in a bankruptcy case. Debts are treated differently depending on the type of debt and the type of bankruptcy case being filed.

Type of Bankruptcy

How your debt is handled depends largely on what type of bankruptcy is filed. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is known as a liquidation bankruptcy, where assets that are not otherwise protected under a bankruptcy exemptions are liquidated and used to pay off qualifying debts, and all other debts that are allowed under law to be discharged are otherwise eliminated. Under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, the debtor works closely with the bankruptcy trustee to restructure the debt and pay back qualifying debt through a three-to-five-year repayment plan. At the end of the repayment period, all other unsecured debt is discharged.

Understanding a Bankruptcy Discharge

To understand what happens to debts in a bankruptcy case, you must first grasp the concept of a bankruptcy discharge. A bankruptcy discharge is the final court order that officially releases the debtor from liability for qualifying debts. The discharge means the creditors can no longer pursue collection on that debt. If the debt is connected to a certain piece of property, like a car or a home, the creditor can still repossess the property to secure the debt, but the debtor is not personally liable for the debt itself. The creditor simply has the right to take the property back in payment for the debt. The discharge occurs at the end of the bankruptcy case. In a Chapter 7 case, this discharge happens after a few months while it can take up to five years under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case.

Are All Debts Discharged?

The bankruptcy discharge is the ultimate goal for a bankruptcy case, but not all debts are discharged. The great majority of those debts that are discharged in a bankruptcy case include those that are unsecured debts, meaning they are not connected to a specific asset. Credit card debt, personal loans or medical bills fall under this category. Some debts are not allowed to be discharged under the law, normally for public policy reasons. These debts include spousal and child support, debt that was incurred due to bad behavior on the part of the debtor, such as drunk driving, and certain types of tax claims.

In a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, credit card debts, medical bills, legal judgments against the debtor, most debts coming from a car accident, personal loans or promissory notes are discharged at the end of the case. Many people struggle with these debts for years before reaching out to a bankruptcy attorney for assistance in handling them. If you find yourself struggling to pay your credit card bills or medical bills, bankruptcy may be a viable option for you, resulting in these debts being discharged.

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, certain debts may be allowed to be discharged that otherwise would not be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. These debts include those included in a divorce or settlement agreement, not including support payments, court fees, homeowner’s association or condo fees, and debts incurred to pay a non-dischargeable tax debt.

Debts Not Discharged in Bankruptcy

Why certain debts are not discharged in bankruptcy rests largely on public policy. For example, supporting your child or spouse is considered paramount and a matter of important public policy.

As a result, Congress enacted protections keeping these payments from being classified as a dischargeable debt. Likewise, if you face criminal fines, penalties or restitution orders from a criminal case, that debt cannot be discharged. Additionally, if you caused injury to someone or killed another person because of your drunk driving, any restitution you were ordered to pay in that case cannot be discharged. Certain types of tax debts are also excluded.

For the most part, student loan debt is another category of debt that is very hard to discharge. Bankruptcy courts will only allow it if the debtor can prove to the court that the debt should be discharged. The test for determining whether this debt should be discharged is the undue hardship test. No uniform measure exists for determining what exactly constitutes an “undue hardship.” For the most part, bankruptcy courts vary on what qualifies as an undue hardship, although over recent years, the government has looked for official public comment on what that test should be. As of today, however, no uniform test is in place, making proving undue hardship both difficult and unpredictable.

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If you have 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.

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Credit Card Debt, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Do you have enough debt to file for bankruptcy?

One of the common misconceptions surrounding bankruptcy has to do with how much debt you must have to qualify for bankruptcy. Bankruptcy laws do not have a set minimum debt requirement for someone to be able to file for bankruptcy. Ultimately, it depends largely on the person’s financial circumstances, including the type of debt he or she has, as well as the person’s ability to pay back the debt, along with other factors.

When it comes to debt levels, how much debt you have is only one consideration made when determining whether you should proceed with a bankruptcy filing.  Unlike a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy does have a maximum debt amount for debtors considering this form of bankruptcy. Currently, you cannot hold more than $1,184,200 in secured debt or $394,725 in unsecured debt when filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case. These numbers do fluctuate depending on inflation and can change from year-to-year.

Filers are limited in how many times they can receive a bankruptcy discharge within a set amount of time. For example, if you filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and received a discharge, you must wait eight years before being able to file for Chapter 7 again. Therefore, if you do not have a significant amount of debt, you may want to consider whether you will anticipate needing to file in the future. Is it worth it to file for bankruptcy now on a smaller amount of debt and be barred from filing again, if needed? A bankruptcy attorney can talk through these options with you to help you make the best choice.

Bankruptcy looks at the different types of debts you carry and whether these debts can be discharged. Certain debts are considered non-dischargeable, including priority tax debts, student loans in most cases, child support, spousal support, and any obligations arising from a personal injury case caused by wrong actions, which can include drunk driving. For instance, if most of your debt is in student loans, a bankruptcy may not be your best option, while a person who carries mostly credit card and medical debt will find bankruptcy beneficial.

If you are filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida, you can use Florida bankruptcy exemptions to protect your property. In addition, residents are provided unlimited exemptions for homestead, annuities, and the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy. Florida has one of the most generous homestead exemptions in the country.

Even if you do not have a large amount of debt, if you are being sued or the matter is being referred to collections, it may be best to file for bankruptcy now instead of later. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay will be issued, putting a stop to all collection actions. If you wait too long, and a judgment is issued on the debt, resulting in wage garnishment, it may be too little too late. It is for this reason that it is important you meet with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to talk about your financial situation and whether bankruptcy is right for you.

If you have 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.

Related Resources: https://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/bankruptcy/do-i-have-enough-debt-to-file-for-bankruptcy.html

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Can a Person File for Bankruptcy More Than Once?

Many clients want to know if a previous bankruptcy filing is going to prevent them from being able to file again. Many factors go into when and whether it can be done, but the two biggest factors are what type of bankruptcy was filed previously and how long ago the case was filed.

No Bar for Subsequent Filings Exist

The good news for bankruptcy filers is there are no limits on the number of times a person can file for bankruptcy. However, the bankruptcy courts do not want to see individuals misuse the system with multiple filings made in bad faith. It is for this reason that the law does impose certain statutory requirements and prerequisites that filers must meet to be able to file again. If an individual has filed for bankruptcy previously, it is important that he or she contact an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss the options available, as well as the requirements for filing again.

Previous Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Filing

If the previous bankruptcy filing was a Chapter 7 case, the individual must wait at least eight years from the date of the previous bankruptcy filing before filing a second filing, if that person wants to file another Chapter 7 case. However, if the person filed a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case for the first filing but now wants to go forward with a Chapter 13 reorganization case, the time is shorter, and that person must only wait four years from the date of the first bankruptcy filing date.

Previous Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing

If the previous bankruptcy filing was Chapter 13, certain time limits do apply. If the previous case resulted in a bankruptcy discharge, the filer must wait at least six years from the date the first Chapter 13 case was filed before he or she can file for and get another discharge in a later Chapter 7 case. However, exceptions do exist to this rule. If the filer paid back all of his or her unsecured debts or at least 70 percent of the unsecured debts were paid, and the plan was to pay them back in good faith, the six-year rule does not apply. If the later case is a Chapter 13 bankruptcy again, the filer cannot get a later Chapter 13 bankruptcy unless the case has been filed at least two years after the date the first case was filed.

Case Dismissed with Prejudice  

However, other exceptions exist to the rules listed above. The filer can be prohibited from filing a later bankruptcy case if the bankruptcy court dismissed the previous bankruptcy case with prejudice, meaning the person who had filed the case failed to comply with court orders, filed multiple cases with the purpose of deceiving creditors or the case was not filed in good faith.

If you have 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

Related Resources:

http://www.attorneys.com/bankruptcy/can-a-person-file-for-bankruptcy-more-than-once

http://www.alllaw.com/articles/nolo/bankruptcy/how-often-file.html