What Happens When You File for Bankruptcy in Florida

What Happens When You File for Bankruptcy in Florida

Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows individuals or businesses to seek relief from overwhelming debt and obtain a fresh financial start. If you find yourself drowning in debt and unable to meet your financial obligations, filing for bankruptcy in Florida might be the solution you need. However, before taking this step, it’s important to understand the process and the potential consequences. In this article, we will explore what happens when you file for bankruptcy in Florida and answer some frequently asked questions.

Types of Bankruptcy in Florida:
In Florida, individuals can choose between two common types of bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13.

1. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Also known as liquidation bankruptcy, Chapter 7 allows individuals to discharge most of their debts by liquidating their non-exempt assets. This process typically takes a few months and can provide a fresh start for those struggling with unsecured debts such as credit card bills and medical expenses.

2. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a reorganization plan that allows individuals to repay their debts over a three to five-year period. This option is suitable for those who have a regular income and want to keep their property, such as a home or car, while still addressing their outstanding debts.

The Bankruptcy Process in Florida:
Filing for bankruptcy in Florida involves several steps, including:

1. Credit Counseling: Before filing, individuals are required to complete credit counseling from an approved agency within the six months prior to filing.

2. Filing Petition: The bankruptcy process begins by filing a bankruptcy petition with the Florida bankruptcy court. This petition includes detailed information about your financial situation, assets, debts, and income.

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3. Automatic Stay: Once the petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect, which halts all collection actions, including foreclosure, wage garnishment, and creditor harassment.

4. Meeting of Creditors: Approximately four to six weeks after filing, a meeting of creditors, also known as a 341 meeting, is scheduled. During this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee and creditors have the opportunity to ask questions about your financial situation.

5. Debt Discharge: If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your eligible debts may be discharged within a few months of filing. In Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will follow a court-approved repayment plan, and any remaining eligible debts may be discharged at the end of the plan.


Q: Will I lose all my property if I file for bankruptcy in Florida?
A: No, Florida law allows individuals to exempt certain property from being liquidated during bankruptcy. Exempt property typically includes your primary residence, vehicle, retirement accounts, and personal belongings.

Q: Can I file for bankruptcy if I have already filed in the past?
A: Yes, you can file for bankruptcy multiple times, but there are time limits between filings. For example, if you previously filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait eight years before filing again. If you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must wait two years.

Q: How will bankruptcy affect my credit score?
A: Bankruptcy will have a negative impact on your credit score, and it will remain on your credit report for several years. However, it provides an opportunity for a fresh start, and with responsible financial management, you can begin rebuilding your credit over time.

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Q: Will bankruptcy stop a foreclosure?
A: Yes, filing for bankruptcy triggers an automatic stay, which halts all collection actions, including foreclosure. This gives you time to address your financial situation and potentially negotiate with your mortgage lender.

Q: Can I choose which type of bankruptcy to file for?
A: The type of bankruptcy you can file for depends on your financial situation and eligibility criteria. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney is advisable to determine the most appropriate option for your circumstances.

In conclusion, filing for bankruptcy in Florida can offer relief to individuals overwhelmed by debt. The process involves choosing between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy, completing credit counseling, filing a petition, attending a meeting of creditors, and potentially receiving a debt discharge. While bankruptcy has consequences, it can provide an opportunity for a fresh financial start. If you are considering bankruptcy, consult with a reputable bankruptcy attorney to guide you through the process and help you make informed decisions.