5 Things to Know About Bankruptcy*
1. What can bankruptcy do?
A Chapter 7 bankruptcy can wipe out "unsecured" debts like credit cards, hospital bills, payday loans, and repossession debts, even if the creditor has gone to court and won a judgment. If the value of a house has dropped below the mortgage loan balance, there is an option of giving up the house and escaping the rest of the mortgage payments. The same goes for vehicle loans where more money is owed on the vehicle than it is worth.
2. Why do some people file Chapter 13 instead of Chapter 7?
Some folks make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7, but Chapter 13 allows them to pay what they can afford on unsecured debts for 5 years and get forgiveness of the balance. Some folks qualify for Chapter 7 but choose Chapter 13 anyway because they need bankruptcy to stop a mortgage foreclosure and allow them more time to catch up on the missing payments.
3. How do I choose a bankruptcy lawyer?
The Internet is a great place to research lawyers. You can go to Avvo.com and research lawyers (doctors and dentists too). To search for "bankruptcy lawyers" in "Gainesville, FL" click here or for "Jacksonville, FL" click
here. You will find lots of bankruptcy lawyers but you will also see both our lawyers, Eric S. Ruff and Lisa C. Cohen, are top-rated as "Superb." You can
read what other clients have to say about their experiences with our law firm. You can also
check out reviews of our firm that have been posted by a search engine on the web. We have been doing bankruptcy law for over 25 years each and have together represented clients in over 5,000 bankruptcy cases. We have awards from both Avvo.com and from Martindale-Hubble for client satisfaction.
4. What does bankruptcy cost?
There are three parts of the cost of filing a bankruptcy. (1) The court charges a filing fee of about $300, (2) you take financial counseling that costs about $25, and (3) the attorney charges a fee for doing the work. So how much is the attorney's fee? It's not possible to estimate an attorney's fee without meeting with the client to see how much work will be required. I tell folks who insist on a fee quote over the phone "I'm sort of like a house painter and people call to ask how much I charge to paint houses. Well, I'd like to look at the house first." Houses are all different and it's the same with clients. I need to understand my client's own financial history and current debt situation before I can figure out what's the best legal strategy and what it will take to accomplish our goal. If I guess at my attorney time in a case without even meeting with a client first, it's just a blind guess. Who needs a lawyer who likes to guess? I will, however, agree to meet with you at no cost. Together we will figure out what's the best solution for your particular situation, which kind of bankruptcy you qualify for, when is the best time for you time file, and I will explain which debts the law can free you from. Then I will give you my fee quote. Of course, you can then shop around with other lawyers and see what they say. There is no obligation.
5. How do I get started?
Dial our number. We will guide you from there.
*The information on this page is the extremely short version and therefore oversimplified. Browse this website to bring into focus more details about bankruptcy law. You can find the next level of greater detail at Bankruptcy Overview.