5 Things to Know About Bankruptcy*
1. What can bankruptcy do for me?
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 your house has dropped below the mortgage loan balance (your house is "upside-down"), 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?
Most people file Chapter 7, but some folks make too much money to qualify for Chapter 7 so they file a Chapter 13 instead. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows them to repay as much as they can on unsecured debts for 5 years and get forgiveness of the balance. Sometimes a person qualifies for Chapter 7 but chooses Chapter 13 anyway because that person needs a Chapter 13 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 for a chapter 7 bankruptcy lawyer or for representation in a Chapter 13. In March of 2015 Martindale-Hubbell awarded our lawyer Eric S. Ruff a peer review rating of AV Preeminent, renewed for 2016, with a numerical score of 5.0 out of 5.0. This is their highest possible rating.
Or, you can go to Avvo.com and research lawyers.
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
Google our firm in Gainesville or
Jacksonville to check out reviews posted by our clients. 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. In July 2013, we received a Top Bankruptcy Law Firm award from Laws.com.
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 $335, (2) you take financial counseling that costs about $22, and (3) the attorney charges a fee for doing the work. So how much is the attorney's fee? It depends on things like how complicated or simple your case is. It's not possible to make a blind estimate of your attorney's fee without meeting with you first 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 a house. 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 first meeting with the client, I'm just making 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. There is no obligation. Read our reviews and see what other clients have to say about their experience with our law firm.
5. How do I get started?
Dial our number. We will set you up with an appointment.
*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.
AV®, BV®, AV Preeminent® and BV Distinguished® are registered certification marks of Reed Elsevier Properties Inc., used under in accordance with the Martindale-Hubbell certification procedures, standards and policies