New Port Richey Bankruptcy Lawyer

Answering Bankruptcy Questions and Overcoming Myths

Though new laws were passed several years ago, misconceptions still exist about bankruptcy. Our job is to clear up those myths and provide our clients with the facts. At the law office of Jay W. Moreland, P.A., we pride ourselves on serving as a vital information source to answer your questions.

When should I consider a bankruptcy?

Simply put, if you see light at the end of the tunnel, keep working to solve your financial problems. When the light goes out, it is time to contact us to explore a bankruptcy filing.

Is bankruptcy still an option?

Yes, it is. A Chapter 7 liquidation requires you to fall within a certain income requirements. If you do not qualify, we can pursue a Chapter 13 debt reorganization.

What is a mean's test?

Before filing a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, we must determine if you qualify by taking a means test. For means test purposes the bankruptcy court compares your household income to similarly sized households in the state in which you reside. If your income is below the median income for a household of your size, you are automatically eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

If your income is above the median, the court applies the means test which involves 55 different mathematical calculations relating to your income and expenses. Only if you pass the means test are you then eligible for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If you do not, a Chapter 13 filing may be an option.

Contact our New Port Richey law office at 727-847-2083.

Can I keep my house?

Florida has an unlimited homestead exemption which means that as long as you pay your mortgage you can keep your home no matter what it is worth, provided you have lived in Florida for more than three and one half years. There are limits in bankruptcy if you have not lived in Florida that long, but most people can keep their home.

Can I keep my cars?

There is a limit of $1,000 equity allowed for a motor vehicle. That amount doubles if both a husband and wife file a joint bankruptcy. Equity is the difference between the value of the vehicle and the amount owed on the loan against the car. Most people with car loans owe more than their car is worth, so they can keep their car as long as they make the payments. If you own the car free and clear of any car loans, the equity limits may come into play. If you are over the limits and file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you may need to pay the excess into the bankruptcy court if you want to keep the vehicle. You could also file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy and keep the vehicle.

What is debtor education?

The new laws passed required that all clients attend court approved debtor education classes. The objective is to break bad habits and move forward with a greater understanding of what you need to do to prevent future financial problems. The courses are available in person, over the phone or on the Internet. There are quite a few providers who have been approved by the Bankruptcy Court. The first course on credit counseling must be taken within 180 days prior to filing for bankruptcy. If it has been longer than that, the course must be retaken. The second course on financial management is taken after the bankruptcy case has been filed and before the court grants a discharge. Prices for the course vary with the provider.

Do I have to attend hearings or go to court?

Yes, but we are at your side the entire time. That also includes the 341 meeting with an accountant or attorney who serves as the bankruptcy trustee. Some law firms hire attorneys to cover the hearings. Form preparers are not allowed to go with you. We go with our clients to the hearings. At a time when you are understandably nervous, we are there. It takes more of our time, but we believe it is important to have a familiar face in an uncomfortable situation.

Contact Us

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an experienced lawyer, please contact us. If you would like our white paper on "What to Do When Debts Get Out of Control," send us an email and we will email it to you.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.