Filing Bankruptcy When You Own a Home

If filing bankruptcy when you own a home there are generally two few options, keep the home or get rid of the debt. This article will focus on the options for surrendering the property in bankruptcy. If you would like information on the options to keep your home instead of surrendering it contact us to schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in Tampa. Each case is different, and we can help develop a comprehensive game plan for bankruptcy based on your specific goals.

Filing Bankruptcy When You Own a Home

Most homeowners who file Chapter 7 choose to surrender their home because they can no longer afford the home.  Filing bankruptcy when you own a home triggers a requirement under bankruptcy law  to file a “Statement of Intention”.  The Statement of Intention is intended to advise the bankruptcy court how you intend to handle the home. Some of the options for filing bankruptcy when you own a home include: reaffirm, modify loan, or surrender your home. See bankruptcy law 11 U.S.C. § 521(a)(2)(A).

If you choose to surrender, you can escape personal liability on your mortgage.  Now you may be wondering, what does surrender mean?  When would I have to move out of my home if I choose to surrender?  That has been an issue for bankruptcy courts in Florida for over a decade because “surrender” is not defined anywhere in the Bankruptcy Code.  However, the issue was recently decided on here in the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which controls Florida bankruptcy courts). It is important to note, each situation is different and you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney if you have questions about a specific case. Many bankruptcy lawyers in Tampa will offer a free consultation and you should take advantage of that service.

Filing Bankruptcy When You Own a Home and a Foreclosure Case has Been Filed

For years, courts have been trying to find a way to deal with debtors (borrowers) who choose to surrender their home in Chapter 7 and then change their mind, decide they want to keep the home, and defend the foreclosure action that starts after their bankruptcy case is closed.  However, in a recent bankruptcy case, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that debtors who choose to surrender their home are not allowed to oppose, defend, or interfere with the foreclosure process. See bankruptcy case Failla v. Citibank.

The debtor first surrenders their home to the trustee, and if the trustee does not want the property, the rights go to the secured creditor to take possession of the property.  A debtor is not able to state something in one court, and then change their mind in a different court down the road. This is one of the many reasons why it is important to hire a bankruptcy lawyer to assist you. Filing for bankruptcy requires careful consideration and planning to maximize the advantages and limit the downside to bankruptcy.

How Soon do You Vacate Property if Filing Bankruptcy When you Own a Home

Under Florida bankruptcy law once you choose to surrender your home, you may not be allowed to keep living in the home while waiting for the foreclosure process to complete. See Taylor v. AGE Federal Credit Union. The Eleventh Circuit did not specify when the debtor needs to be out of the surrendered home. Instead, the key point is that the debtor is not allowed to stay in the home once it is surrendered. Further, the debtor is not able to change his or her mind once the bankruptcy is closed. This area of bankruptcy law is rapidly changing, you should contact a bankruptcy attorney in Tampa for more information.

Bankruptcy Law Firm in Tampa

At Florida Law Advisers, P.A., we understand that filing for bankruptcy can be a very confusing and intimidating process.  That is why we work so hard to make the process as easy as possible for our clients. When you hire Florida Law Advisers, P.A., you have an experienced Tampa bankruptcy attorney by your side throughout every phase of the bankruptcy process. To schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney at our firm call us today at 800 990 7763.

do I have to attend the meeting of creditors

When a debtor files bankruptcy they will be required to attend a meeting of the creditors. The meeting of creditors is commonly referred to as the 341 meeting because the meeting is required under section 341 of the bankruptcy code. Clients will commonly ask us, do I have to attend the meeting of creditors.  Most often, often creditors will not show up at the 341 Meeting.  However, the answer to, do I have to attend the meeting of creditors is a big yes. Under bankruptcy law, attendance at the 341 meeting is mandatory. Failure to attend the meeting can result in your case being dismissed.  See In Re Lewis. Debtors are allowed to have their bankruptcy lawyer present with them at the meeting. If you filed for bankruptcy it is strongly recommended to have your bankruptcy attorney present with you.

Do I Have to Attend the Meeting of Creditors if I am a Creditor in the Case

The answer to, do I have to attend the meeting of creditors if I am a creditor is different than if you the debtor. Creditors are not required but do have the option of being at the meeting. Usually, if creditors do attend they will hire an attorney to appear on their behalf.  However, creditors are usually most concerned with asset evaluation and location; as most Chapter 7 cases are low- or no-asset cases, the value of hiring counsel to attend the 341 meeting is usually more expensive than any benefit the creditor would obtain by being present.  Therefore, you might expect your Chapter 341 hearing to be a small meeting between you, your attorney, and the bankruptcy trustee (click here for more information on the bankruptcy trustee).

If you have any personal creditors, they will have the opportunity to attend as well. A common is example are family members you borrowed money from.  Whether or not these personal creditors decide to show up is much more unpredictable.  If creditors do show to your 341 Meeting of the Creditors, they, in addition to the Trustee, they will have the right to ask you questions.

How to Prepare for the Meeting of Creditors

As we mentioned, as part of your case you do have to attend a meeting of creditors.  During your 341 meeting, you can expect to be asked a “yes” or “no” questions by the bankruptcy Trustee.  This means that all of your answers will be under oath and you will need to be entirely honest.  Your bankruptcy attorney will be present to make sure all of the questions asked are proper. Additionally, your bankruptcy lawyer should advise you on other important legal concerns. One potential concern is whether to the Fifth to avoid answering a question which can create criminal liability. See the United States Constitution. Hopefully, this will not be the case, as criminal activity in your bankruptcy could rise to elements of fraud which might affect your ability to have a successful bankruptcy discharge.

If you believe there is potential criminal liability, you should fully disclose all of this information to your bankruptcy lawyer prior to filing for bankruptcy.

You will need to bring your driver’s license (or other state-issued, non-expired identification) as well as your social security card to the meeting of the creditors.  We suggest to arrive early, to allow time to find your room and confer with your bankruptcy lawyer.  Remember that this is a fairly informal proceeding, but you will still want to dress professionally and act respectfully in the meeting.

How long is the Meeting of Creditors

The U.S. trustee will oversee the meeting of creditors you have to attend. Often times, bankruptcy trustees are expected to schedule five hearings for each half-hour slot on their schedule.  This means that typically, these hearings are not long.  However, should the trustee discover something that needs further questioning, they will hold the hearing as long as needed to resolve any outstanding questions that he or she has on your assets or information on your filing.  If necessary, the trustee can even continue the 341 meeting for a later date.

From the date of the 341 meeting, your creditors will have 60 days, to file challenges to your case.  If this does not happen and there are no other complications in your case, you can expect your notification of discharge about ninety days, or three months, from the date of the 341 meeting.  This is why it is a good idea to have your debtor education course completed prior to your 341 meeting; not having this class completed will stop the Court from issuing a notice of discharge. Although it is not mandatory that the counseling be completed before the 341 meeting, it is recommended.

Bankruptcy Law Firm in Tampa

If you are unsure about do I have to attend the meeting of creditors contact a bankruptcy attorney for assistance. For more information about the 341 meeting or other bankruptcy issues call us today to speak with a bankruptcy attorney in Tampa. Florida Law Advisers, P.A. is dedicated to providing effective representation and affordable fees to our bankruptcy clients. All of our initial consultations are free and convenient payment plans are always available. Call us now at 800 990 7763 to speak with a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer.

how to file a domestic violence injunction in Florida

The cycle of violence concerning domestic abuse generally has four periods. Each period in the cycle of abuse is different for every couple. Also, each abuser and victim responds to the abuse differently. Some may immediately inquire how to file a domestic violence injunction in Florida, others may not. Also, what happens in the cycles may differ depending on who is publishing the cycle and what research was done to determine what happens in each period in the cycle. An instance, a typical a cycle of violence can be found here. If you are the victim of domestic violence you should get yourself to safety and contact the authorities. Afterwards, you should consider contacting a Tampa family law attorney for additional assistance. An attorney should be able to help show you how to file a domestic violence injunction in Florida.

How to File a Domestic Violence Injunction in Florida

A person may obtain an injunction for protection against domestic violence if they are a victim of domestic violence or if they have reasonable cause to believe they are in imminent danger of domestic violence. See Florida Statute 741.30.  Seeking a restraining order or injunction can protect against assault, threats, harassment, stalking, and other unwanted forms of domestic violence. Petitioning for an injunction can be difficult, and you should consider consulting with a family law attorney for assistance. Generally, you should not plead  “naked allegations,”  instead, include specific facts.  An experienced family law attorney can help walk you through how to file a domestic violence injunction in Florida

Married is Not Required for an Injunction

A party seeking an injunction does not have to be married to apply for an injunction. Under Florida law, a family or household member may also seek an injunction. A family or household member is defined under Florida law as “ spouse, former spouse, persons related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together as if a family or who have resided together in the past as if family, and persons who are parents of a child regardless of whether they have been married. See Florida Statute 741.28  Except for the parents of a child, the two must be currently residing together or have resided together in the past as a family, regardless of marriage.  A protective injunction will give the legal authority to call the police and have the abuser removed if they violate the injunction.

Domestic violence is a serious matter and should not be taken lightly. Regardless, if you are being falsely accused or need an attorney to help protect your safety Florida Law Advisers, can help. We have years of experience advising clients how to file a domestic violence injunction in Florida. The domestic violence attorneys at our firm are passionate about these matters and have years of valuable experience. To speak with a family law attorney call 800 990 7763 to speak with a family law attorney.