Fort Myers Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy can be a complicated process, as our Fort Myers bankruptcy lawyers understand. Most people who are interested in bankruptcy have concerns about whether they will be able to keep their property and how much they can keep. The rules related to keeping your property in bankruptcy are different depending on whether you file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can keep a certain amount of your property based on the Florida exemptions that you use. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you can keep most of your property, assuming that your debt repayment plan is approved and that you stick to that plan over the three to five years it will take to obtain a discharge. The experienced bankruptcy lawyers at the Martin Law Firm have handled thousands of discharges for Florida residents, and we are ready to guide you through the process.Choosing Between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 7 is a type of bankruptcy in which a debtor can keep only certain items of property necessary to make a fresh start meaningful, while most of his or her property will be sold to repay creditors to the extent possible. You must use the means test to determine whether you are eligible for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The means test is a formula designed to keep people with higher incomes from availing themselves of the relief provided by Chapter 7.
The first step in the means test is determining whether your income is more or less than your state's median income. People who earn more than the state's median income must determine their disposable income. To calculate your disposable income, you will need to deduct certain necessary monthly expenses from your current monthly income. If your disposable income is high, it is unlikely that you will qualify for Chapter 7. However, a bankruptcy attorney in Fort Myers can provide you with advice that is specific to your situation.
In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can protect certain property by using exemptions. Although bankruptcy is a federal process, each state determines whether its residents can use the federal exemptions. If you have been a resident of Florida for at least 730 days before filing for bankruptcy, you will need to use Florida's state exemptions, which are considered generous. For example, there is an unlimited exemption for your homestead. This means that you can protect an unlimited amount of value in your home, as long as the property is not larger than half an acre in a municipality or 160 acres outside a municipality. In order to claim the protection of the Florida homestead exemption, you need to have owned your home for at least 1,215 days before filing for bankruptcy.
People who do not qualify for Chapter 7 may still file under Chapter 13 and protect their property by paying off their debts over a 3-5-year period. Chapter 13 provides numerous methods by which you can protect your home, your car, and other items of property, or at least reduce the value that you owe on these items.Consult a Knowledgeable Bankruptcy Lawyer in Fort Myers
Fort Myers is the county seat of Lee County in Florida, which has a population of over 660,000 residents. The city has a total area of 40 square miles. The median household income in Fort Myers is $37,000. If you are considering reorganizing your finances, the experienced Fort Myers bankruptcy attorneys at the Martin Law Firm can advise you on which type of bankruptcy to file and represent you throughout the process of filing. Our firm treats its clients like family, taking each person’s needs into account and crafting a strategy specific to them. Contact us toll-free at (844) 465-4357 or via our online form to set up a consultation with a debtor rights attorney.