Chapter 7 Bankruptcy FAQ

Jacksonville Bankruptcy Lawyers Explain What to Expect

Depending on your unique financial situation, Chapter 7 may be the best option for achieving relief from debt and securing the financial fresh start you need. In spite of Chapter 7 being the most common form of personal bankruptcy in Florida, there is still a lot of misinformation around. To help you understand what you can generally expect during the Chapter 7 process, our lawyers have prepared a helpful list of frequently asked questions and answers.

Who qualifies for Chapter 7?
In order to declare Chapter 7, you must complete a mandatory credit counseling course and pass the state of Florida's means test. The means test compares your monthly income to that of other families in Florida. If your income is too high, you may still qualify for Chapter 13.

How do I get started?
Contact a reputable, qualified bankruptcy lawyer who represents individuals in Chapter 7. Your lawyer will instruct you as to what documents you will need to show income, expenses, assets, and liabilities (i.e. pay stubs, credit card statements, et cetera). Once your documents are prepared, your attorney will file a petition on your behalf with the bankruptcy court. At our firm, we walk you step-by-step through each phase of the process.

What is the Automatic Stay?
Once your attorney files your paperwork, the judge will issue an automatic stay. This prevents any creditor from pursuing you once it becomes aware of the stay and puts a halt on debt collection activities, including wage garnishment, repossession, utility shutoffs, and foreclosure.

What assets are not dischargeable under Chapter 7?
Most types of debts are dischargeable. Credit card debt, signature loans, non-collateralized debt, and medical bills are dischargeable. Some debts, however, are not. These include child support, alimony, student loans, some lawsuit judgments, and some types of tax liability.

What is the 341 Hearing?
The 341 hearing or "the meeting of creditors" is a mandatory session that occurs approximately a month after filing bankruptcy. At this meeting, the trustee will ask you questions regarding your bankruptcy and about certain collateral. Creditors may also attend this meeting to ask specific questions about your debt obligations to them. This meeting is non-adversarial and you may have your bankruptcy attorney in attendance.

What happens to my property during a bankruptcy?
Any assets that you have that are not exempt will be collected and liquidated to pay your debts. Exempted assets, will remain in your possession.

What happens when the bankruptcy is over?
Once your non-exempt assets are sold and the proceeds divided among your creditors, all debts will be discharged and you will emerge from Chapter 7.

Professional Bankruptcy Attorneys of North Florida

Owenby Law, P.A. recognizes how stressful a bankruptcy can be for some of our clients. That is why we make ourselves available to answer your questions about the bankruptcy process while it is taking place. To schedule an appointment with one of Florida's most reputable bankruptcy law firms, call our firm today to schedule a FREE consultation at our Jacksonville or Orange Park office.