A Florida Bankruptcy Attorney Explains: Can I keep my house if I file Chapter 7 in Florida?

June 30, 2021 Bankruptcy

Even with careful planning and hard work, life can sometimes deal a bad hand, and you may need help to get back on your feet. When this happens, it is natural to look at the options available to you and consider which ones will best allow you to still provide for yourself and those you love. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing is a fitting choice for many people in Florida because it enables you to keep your primary residence no matter the amount of equity you have in your home, known as Florida’s Homestead Exemption. However, there are certain qualifications and provisions that must be met and adhered to claim this exemption, including:

  • Primary Residence: The property must be your primary residence. It may be a single-family dwelling, mobile home, modular home, or condominium, but it cannot be a second home or a vacation home. 
  • Length of Time Owned: You must have owned the property for a minimum of 1,215 days.
  • Residency: You must be a resident of the state of Florida for a minimum of two years.
  • Property Size: The property must not be larger than ½ acre in a municipality or 160 acres elsewhere.

If you cannot meet the above-listed qualifications and do not qualify for the Florida Homestead Exemption, you may still be eligible for federal exemptions. While federal exemptions are not as liberal as the state of Florida exemptions, you may be able to protect the equity in your home up to $25,150.00 (or $50,300.00 if you are married filing jointly). 

Does it matter if I have a mortgage on my home if I file a Chapter 7 in Florida?

While Florida is one of the few states that allows you to keep your home no matter the amount of equity when you file a Chapter 7, there are other matters to keep in mind, such as if you have a mortgage on your residence, are not current with your payments, and your home is in foreclosure. The good news is when you file a Chapter 7, there is an automatic “stay” on any foreclosure action against your primary residence. A stay means the foreclosure action must cease immediately. Lenders do have the option, however, of filing a motion to lift the stay which, if granted, would allow them to continue with the foreclosure. A skilled bankruptcy attorney can assist you in determining what effect a Chapter 7 filing would have on your particular foreclosure action. 

How can I learn more about my bankruptcy options?

If you live in Florida and are considering filing bankruptcy, you need to speak with an attorney experienced in assisting people in your circumstances. At Martin Law Firm, P.L., we are skilled legal professionals that lend our clients a compassionate ear and provide them with the guidance and representation they need. You can contact our firm via our contact page.