What is a Means Test?

What is a Means Test?

As a Boca Raton bankruptcy lawyer I see the anxiety in my clients’ eyes when I tell them that they have to pass a means test before being able to qualify for a Florida Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Don’t worry; it is not a test that you need to study for. It is a simple financial comparison of your gross income against the median income of an equivalent sized Florida household. If your income is below the median, you will be eligible to file for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If your gross income is higher than the state average you have the opportunity to figure your net income and apply that against the Florida’s median income.

Figuring your net income gets a little tricky which is why you should use an experienced Boca Raton bankruptcy attorney. There are only some expenses that you are allowed to apply and they must within certain limits. For example, you cannot show that your family of four lives in a three bedroom, 1600 square foot house but has a monthly utility bill of $3000.00. The Bankruptcy Court allowances usually follow the guidelines that are used by the IRS and must be followed in determining what your monthly net income is.

Once you have figured your net income, you will once again compare this to the median income of the same sized Florida household. If your income is above that of the average, you will more than likely need to look at filing for bankruptcy under the codes of a Chapter 13. If for some reason you don’t qualify for a Chapter 7 by way of the means test, your attorney could petition the Bankruptcy Court for a variance. If you are able to show cause as to why a Chapter 7 is the proper channel for you, there is a possibility that the Court will allow you to use this chapter.

Filing for either chapter of bankruptcy is very complex. It is important that you seek the help of a qualified and experienced Boca Raton bankruptcy attorney. They deal with means test, bankruptcy petitions, Chapter 7, Chapter 13, and all of the other nuisances of bankruptcy law on a daily basis.

Can Filing a Clearwater Bankruptcy Stop a Foreclosure of My Home?

Can Filing a Clearwater Bankruptcy Stop a Foreclosure of My Home?

When a person files for bankruptcy protection in Florida prior to the actual auction date of their home, the foreclosure process is generally halted. It is important that you seek the help of an experienced Clearwater bankruptcy attorney right away. Even though bankruptcy will stop the process of foreclosure most of the time, the laws and rules governing the foreclosure process in Florida are in a constant flux in order to deal with a real estate situation that has not be seen since the Great Depression.

Immediately following the filing of your Florida Chapter 7 bankruptcy petition an automatic stay order is issued by the Court. This is the order that will stop all legal proceedings and collection efforts against you. In Florida a lender must sue you as part of the foreclosure process and the automatic stay order that is issued will put a temporary stay on their lawsuit while you proceed with your bankruptcy case. It is important to understand that this stay order is not permanent, it is meant to allow you time to organize your financial affairs in order to proceed with your bankruptcy. A creditor can petition the Court and seek to have the stay order lifted. If they succeed in this action, they will be legally permitted to continue with their lawsuit or other collection efforts.

If you and your Clearwater bankruptcy attorney decide that filing for a Florida Chapter 13 bankruptcy is better suited for your financial situation, you will also be able to halt a foreclosure preceding. In most Chapter 13 bankruptcies you will even be able to pay your mortgage and arrears through your repayment plan while maintaining possession of your property.
With the recent meltdown of the housing market many homeowners are up-side-down on their real estate holdings. This means that they owe more on their property than the property is worth. In certain Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases a qualified Clearwater bankruptcy attorney will seek to have your mortgage crammed down to the current appraised value of the home. As long as you stay current with your Chapter 13 repayment plan, there should not be any attempts to foreclose on your home after filing for bankruptcy.

The real estate market collapse has left the experts, courts, and lawmakers unsure what the future will hold and what to do in order to stabilize pricing. In Palm Beach County, a Court has actually refused to take on any new foreclosure cases due to the lack of funding and extreme volume of foreclosure cases being filed. Another large issue with all of the recent foreclosure lawsuits has been with the abundant fraud perpetrated by some lenders and law firms. David Stern ran one of the largest foreclosure mills and recently decided to just close up shop, leaving all of his clients in limbo. On top of that many of his files were not turned over to the lender’s new attorney which has led to more confusion and problems for their cases.

Filing for bankruptcy is a serious step to take that needs to be thoroughly reviewed and considered from all angles prior to taking any actions. If you are facing a foreclosure and a growing pile of bills, you need to seek the help of an experienced Clearwater bankruptcy attorney. They will be able to review your case and determine if filing for bankruptcy is right for you and which chapter of bankruptcy will suit your needs best.
Clearwater Bankruptcy Attorney » Clearwater Bankruptcy Blog

Occupy Wallstreet

Occupy Wallstreet

Occupy Wallstreet and the switch to Credit Unions (from a Bankruptcy Attorney’s prospective)

As a bankruptcy attorney representing primarily consumer debtors, I do represent the 99%. I am also a huge proponent as a consumer and an attorney of encouraging consumers to speak with their dollars. Voting with your dollars is widely underestimated and is the best way I find to effect change. The harsh reality is most big businesses could care less about your signs and marches, but if you move your money you see how quickly businesses, such as the big banks with their monthly $5 fees, back off and look for alternative ways to make money.

HOWEVER, consumers should be wary of “change” without research, and the potential unintended consequences of change. For example, credit unions sometimes put in their (not so consumer friendly) fine print cross-collateralization language that secures all your loans together with your bank account and other assets. For example, a credit-union credit card may be secured by your bank account and/or your vehicle if you have another loan financing your vehicle though the credit union. If you default on your credit union credit card you may have to continue to pay it to keep your vehicle or money in a bank account with the credit union. This is a common problem that arises with credit unions in bankruptcy. More than likely, if a debtor has a credit card issued by a non-credit union, the debt is likely wholely unsecured and can be discharged completely. This may not be the case with all credit unions and non-credit union lenders but it is something to keep in mind. Credit unions are likely excited about the movement and are welcoming you aboard; however, as a consumer you always need to remember business is business and you need to read the fine print!

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Personal Injury

Personal Injury

Avoid Bankruptcy With a Personal Injury Lawyer

When most people think about the factors that could potentially drive them into bankruptcy, things like bad business decisions, poor investment choices, and a sluggish economy come to mind. Many people don’t realize that one of the most common causes of bankruptcy comes from the burden of medical bills that resulted from a personal injury. Medical bills add up quickly, particularly if an injury is severe, but that’s only one among many of the hidden costs that a serious injury presents. One should also take into account the most significant factor — lost wages — which can sometimes make it impossible for injury victims to handle the financial burden of their recovery. This is why it’s always important to discuss your situation with a personal injury lawyer after sustaining an injury.

If you have found yourself injured due to the negligence of another party, you should not hesitate to contact a Boca Raton personal injury lawyer. Personal injury lawyers most always operate on a contingency basis while offering free initial consultations; this means that it costs nothing to consult an attorney about your accident injury. Don’t think of discussing your potential injury compensation case with a personal injury lawyer as being “litigious.” Think of it as being prepared and financially prudent.

Boca Raton Personal Injury Lawyer

If you’re looking for an experienced personal injury lawyer in the Boca Raton area, we suggest calling Boca Raton Injury Law. The firm’s personal injury lawyers can be contacted here:
Boca Raton Injury Law
1939 North Federal Highway, Boca Raton, FL 33431

(561)318-1783
In any event, do not let someone else’s negligence be the economic force that drives you towards bankruptcy and financial peril. A physical injury almost always results in a financial injury — and if the accident wasn’t your fault, why should you have to suffer the burden twice over? You don’t have to, not if you call a personal injury lawyer.

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