Jacksonville Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Lawyers
Unmanageable debt can wreak havoc on your personal or entrepreneurial plans,
goals, and general wellbeing. If you aren’t able to address the
situation right away, you might find yourself at the mercy of relentless
creditors. You could be considering selling your property to make ends
meet. Alternatively, you might be looking for a debt-relief strategy that
will protect your
business and other assets.
For many, Chapter 7 is the best way to substantially reduce debt in a matter
of months. At
Edwards & Edwards, P.A., we have
more than 50 years of combined experience, which is why we are fully equipped to determine whether it is the solution
you need. While both consumers and businesses can file, not everyone will
qualify, and it might not be right for your particular situation. That
said, Chapter 7 provides invaluable relief for hundreds of thousands of
filers each year. If we believe that filing is the most appropriate strategy
for you, we can help you navigate this process with ease.
Don’t wait to begin your debt-relief process. Call
(904) 478-9255 or
contact us online to schedule an initial consultation with a Jacksonville Chapter 7 lawyer today.
Chapter 7 for Consumers
When you file Chapter 7 as an individual, you will immediately benefit
from the protection of a court order called the automatic stay, which
stops creditors from pursuing your debt in any way. The court then begins
a liquidation process, in which the trustee sells your nonexempt assets
to repay creditors. After this process, the court can discharge any unsecured
debt that wasn’t covered by the proceeds from the liquidation process.
Dischargeable debts generally include:
- Medical bills
- Credit card debt
- Unpaid utility bills
- Unsecured personal loans
While Chapter 7 is often called “liquidation bankruptcy,” the
truth is that
most people who file Chapter 7 can obtain a debt discharge without losing anything they own. This is because the trustee can only sell your
nonexempt assets, which refer to any property you cannot protect with state or federal bankruptcy
exemptions. When you claim an exemption, you are shielding a designated
asset or possession from the liquidation process.
How to Qualify for Chapter 7
To qualify for Chapter 7 as an individual, you must pass the means test.
As a general rule of thumb, you must make
less than your state’s median income for a household the same size as
yours. However, the means test also considers your property and expenses,
so you might qualify even if you make more than the median income.
Additional qualifications for Chapter 7 include:
- Completing a credit counseling course approved by the U.S. Trustee Program
within 180 days of filing.
- You have not had debt discharged from a previous filing.
- You do not have a bankruptcy case that was dismissed in the last 180 days.
- The bankruptcy court does not suspect that you are cheating creditors.
Can You File for Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Again?
If you have already filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and are looking to file
again, you will have to wait eight years from the filing date of your
previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy before you can file again.
You can file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy after six years from the filing date
if you previously filed for Chapter 13. However, an exception is if you’ve
paid all of your unsecured debts, or at least 70%, and you filed for Chapter
13 in good faith.
How We Can Help
Our Jacksonville Chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyers at Edwards & Edwards,
P.A. can help you perform these calculations to determine your eligibility.
If you qualify, you will need to complete credit counseling and financial
management courses through an accredited agency. If you don’t qualify
(or if Chapter 7 won’t provide the relief you need), you might consider
Chapter 13 instead.