Charles Stohlman and the Stohlman Law Firm have been proudly serving Central Florida and providing legal services for over 15 years. Specific areas of practice since include personal bankruptcy cases (both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13), as well as Mortgage Foreclosure defense, Mortgage Modifications, Family Law and Personal Debt Consolidations.
What Is Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
A Chapter 7 Bankruptcy filing under Federal Law, also referred to as a “straight” or “liquidation” bankruptcy filing, is designed to give you a fresh start. I wipes out most types of debt that you have accrued, and your bankruptcy Trustee (assigned by the Court) will sell of your non-exempt property (if any). This can help avoid a future partial payment to creditors. There are very few categories of property that are not exempt (like your home, your primary vehicle), and most people who file a Chapter 7 liquidation keep most, if not all, of their personal property.
What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
When debts become overwhelming, or your total debt service approaches or exceeds your income, you can seek assistance under Federal Law to “reorganize” your debt. Your creditors will all agree to plan moving forward that may include reduced monthly payments, some deferred payments, reduction in your balance owed, a mortgage modification and other tools to get your back on track. Once your plan is crafted and approved by your creditors, you will have a set amount of time to pay down or pay off the newly negotiated debts and emerge from Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection. This is preferable to a Chapter 7 liquidation as all of the agreements with the creditors, if honored pursuant to the terms of the reorganization plan, will continue to be reported as current to credit bureaus.
Is Bankruptcy Right For Me?
You might be surprised how many people SHOULD file for bankruptcy, even when they desperately need to, but don’t follow through. Bankruptcy is a legal and legitimate solution to eliminate some or all of your debt. It is a legally recognized and widely accepted procedure. The decision to file for bankruptcy can be difficult, and there has always been a stigma surrounding this legal avenue. Mostly based upon ignorance, misinformation and a poor public perception. The decision to file for bankruptcy is also a personal decision as well as a legal strategy. Many of our clients have struggled for YEARS to try and pay down debt, such as high-interest credit card debt, or medical bills. They have expressed an interest to “do the right thing” or to save face in the community. Most times the reality is that the creditors become more aggressive, charge additional fees and increased interest while you and your family struggle to meet the bare minimum monthly payments. There could be as long as a 10-year payback window on some consumer debt. If you realistically feel that you cannot pay off ALL of your existing debt (other than home mortgage and auto) in the next 3 years, without starving or selling off your remaining assets, then you might want to consider a consultation with an Experience Bankruptcy Attorney to get accurate information and recommendations. Please contact us if you feel that your debt is keeping you up at night…usually the first sign that you may want to consider availing yourself of protection. Perhaps consider a fresh start. It’s only money!