Bankruptcy Law

Which Type of Bankruptcy Should I File to Keep My Home?

One of the biggest fears people have when filing for bankruptcy is losing their home, car, and other important assets. However, with Florida bankruptcy exemptions and depending on the type of bankruptcy being filed, it is possible for consumers to keep their home and other property. It ultimately depends on the filer’s financial circumstances.  

Protecting Home Equity  

How much equity the filer has in his or her home plays a big part in whether he or she can keep it Equity plays an important part in both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies. The equity a person has in his or her home is protected through the state’s homestead exemption, and fortunately for Florida filers, the state’s homestead exemption is quite generous.  

While many states limit how much equity the filer can exempt in the bankruptcy case, Florida bankruptcy courts allow the filer to claim all the equity so long as certain circumstances are met, including:  

  1. The filer has owned the property for the last 1,215 days prior to filing; and 
  1. The property is not larger than ½ an acre in the city or 160 acres in rural areas.

The person’s ability to catch up on missed payments while staying current on future payments plays a key role in whether he or she can keep the home.  

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy  

Many filers prefer to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy because the entire process can be completed in a matter of months, as compared to three- to five- years, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires.  

Under a Chapter 7 case, the filer can keep his or her home so long as he or she is current on the mortgage payments and can continue making those payments in the future. The problem is many times the individual is already well behind on his or her mortgage payments by the time he or she files for bankruptcy. Given the short amount of time a Chapter 7 bankruptcy takes, it is not always feasible for the consumer to catch up on missed payments within a few months.   

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy 

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case may be the better choice to allow the individual to catch up on missed payments over the course of the repayment period. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case requires the consumer to work closely with the bankruptcy trustee to create a realistic repayment plan to pay back all creditors over three to five years, including the filer’s mortgage lenders.  Depending on how far behind the filer is on his or her mortgage payments, it is completely possible to catch up on what was owed while staying current on the mortgage. So long as the filer is keeping up with the repayment plan, the mortgage holder cannot foreclose on the property during the bankruptcy case.  

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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, Kingcade Garcia McMaken

What to Look for When Choosing a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be a difficult one, but having the right bankruptcy attorney in your corner can make the process a seamless one. It helps to do your research, not only online but in person, too. The following tips can help someone who is considering filing for bankruptcy choose the best attorney for the job.

Experience Matters

Many people will start their search on the Internet, looking online to find a bankruptcy attorney. Experience is one factor that should always be considered when choosing an attorney. Experience does not just mean years practicing law. It is important to find someone who has filed cases in bankruptcy court and handles bankruptcy matters regularly. It helps a great deal to find someone who focuses his or her practice solely on bankruptcy law and who handles the specific type of bankruptcy the filer is pursuing instead of a general practice attorney who handles a little bit of everything. Many attorneys will handle only Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, while others will handle corporate bankruptcies, restructuring and reorganization.

Kingcade Garcia McMaken, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Kristina Gonzalez Named Partner at Kingcade Garcia McMaken, P.A.

The Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken is pleased to announce the promotion of Kristina Gonzalez to the position of Partner with the firm.

“We are delighted to have Kristina become a Partner with the firm. Kristina is an exceptional bankruptcy lawyer and is the perfect fit to support our firm’s growth and positioning as the leading consumer bankruptcy law firm in Miami,” said Timothy S. Kingcade, the firm’s Managing Partner.

Ms. Gonzalez focuses her practice on Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcies, foreclosure defense, and debt settlement. Kristina represents debtors throughout the bankruptcy process – initiating petitions, guiding debtors through meetings, depositions, and litigation with the trustee and advocating for debtors before the bankruptcy court.

Florida Super Lawyers

Miami Bankruptcy Attorney Timothy S. Kingcade Selected to Serve on the Super Lawyers Blue Ribbon Panel

Managing Shareholder, Timothy S. Kingcade of the Miami-based bankruptcy and foreclosure defense law firm of Kingcade Garcia McMaken has been selected as a Blue Ribbon Panelist for Florida Super Lawyers. Only those in each practice area with the highest point totals are asked as part of the panel to evaluate the candidacy of fellow lawyers to enter the prestigious Super Lawyer rankings.

“It is an honor to be selected among the Blue Ribbon Panelists in the most comprehensive and independent review of exceptional lawyers. Being selected as a Super Lawyer the past seven years is an achievement in and of itself, but to know that Super Lawyers values my opinion in the evaluation of my peers receiving the title of Super Lawyer is a true privilege I graciously accept,” said Timothy S. Kingcade.

Debt Relief

How To Ensure Student Loan Debt Does Not Prevent You From Getting a Mortgage

With the cost of attending a university rising each year, more students are taking out student loans to pay for their education.  According to statistics from the Federal Reserve and New York Federal Reserve, more than 44 million American consumers owe a collective $1.6 trillion in student loan debt. Student borrowers oftentimes graduate with up to six figures in student loan debt. Certain steps can be taken to ensure that student loans do not prevent young adults from reaching important milestones, like homeownership.   

Income-to-Debt Ratio 

When being approved for a mortgage, the borrower’s income-to-debt ratio is an important figure considered by potential lenders. Two different ratios are used by potential lenders. One of them is called a front-end ratio, which looks at the loan applicant’s expected mortgage in comparison to his or her monthly income. The second ratio is called the back-end ratio. This figure reviews the applicant’s monthly expenses, including housing costs, car payments, student loan payments, and other monthly expenses, in comparison to the person’s monthly income. If the borrower’s debt far outweighs his or her income, it is unlikely that person will be approved for a mortgage. However, certain steps can be taken to help boost that ratio. If the potential borrower is carrying a high credit card balance, by paying that balance down, he or she can help boost chances of being approved for a mortgage. If the borrower can pay down the balance in full every month, then that debt will not even factor into his or her debt-to-income ratio.  

Bankruptcy Law

The Fear of Bankruptcy is What Keeps Many Consumers from Filing

The fear of the unknown is a powerful force. Unfortunately, the fear of filing for bankruptcy and the unknown keeps many from proceeding with a bankruptcy case, even when it is the best option.

It is for this reason that only a small portion of American consumers file for bankruptcy annually, even though many of them could benefit from either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. While many different reasons exist for this failure to file, a misunderstanding of the process and fear of taking that first step keeps them from moving forward.    

Bankruptcy Law, COVID-19, Small Business Bankruptcy

Personal and Business Bankruptcies Increase in the Month of July

The number of individuals and businesses seeking bankruptcy protection increased last month, while the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues. Financial experts have predicted this jump for months since states began to shut down in mid-March.

According to the legal-services firm, Epiq Systems Inc., the number of businesses that have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy increased by 52 percent when compared to July 2019. Additionally, the number of personal bankruptcy cases have gone up. The number of personal bankruptcy filings are expected to increase, when the Covid-19 economic stimulus relief is cut or reduced.

Bankruptcy Law, Kingcade Garcia McMaken

How to Choose a Bankruptcy Lawyer

Making the decision to file for bankruptcy can be a difficult one, but choosing the right bankruptcy attorney to handle your case can be even harder.  It helps to do your research, not only online but in person, too. The following tips can help someone who is considering filing for bankruptcy choose the best attorney for the job.

Experience Matters

Many people will start their search on the Internet, looking online to find a bankruptcy attorney. Experience is one factor that should always be considered when choosing an attorney. Experience does not just mean years practicing law. It is important to find someone who has filed cases in bankruptcy court and handles bankruptcy matters regularly. It helps a great deal to find someone who focuses his or her practice solely on bankruptcy law and who handles the specific type of bankruptcy the filer is pursuing instead of a general practice attorney who handles a little bit of everything. Many attorneys will handle only Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, while others will handle corporate bankruptcies, restructuring and reorganization.

Bankruptcy Law, Coronavirus, COVID-19

Bankruptcy and the Coronavirus: Help for Florida Small Businesses

The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been hard on businesses. During the shutdown, countless South Florida businesses were forced to shutter or adjust to a new normal, bringing in significantly less income than before. Many of these business owners have also been compelled to make some tough decisions, including the decision on whether to proceed with bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy can be beneficial for businesses that are struggling during this difficult time. The bankruptcy framework and the automatic stay that occurs immediately upon filing for bankruptcy offers relief that individuals and business owners desperately need.

Bankruptcy Law, Coronavirus, COVID-19, Debt Relief

Coronavirus and the Changes it has had to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code

The coronavirus pandemic has affected our country in so many ways. It has also affected the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, specifically through the recently passed $2.2 trillion Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES Act).

Within the CARES Act were revisions to parts of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, meant to help small businesses and consumers during this difficult time. The CARES Act amended the Small Business Reorganization Act of 2019 (SBRA), which temporarily increased the debt threshold for filing for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy relief. The debt threshold increased from $2,725,625 to $7,500,000. After one year, the threshold will go back down to the original amount.