HOA Foreclosure

High student loans, housing costs, and medical expenses have caused many Americans to struggle financially. Luckily, there are options to help alleviate the burden and get a fresh start. Many of the options available to consumers will even stop a HOA foreclosure sale and allow you to keep the home. If you are considering relief through bankruptcy or facing the possibility of foreclosure, it is important to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to determine the best course action for you. To schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in Tampa call us at 800 990 7763.

FLORIDA FORECLOSURE PROCESS

Typically, if a homeowner is behind on their mortgage payment for 90 days the lender will file for foreclosure in Court. Florida is a judicial foreclosure state, that means the bank must go to court and receive approval from a judge before foreclosing on a home located in Florida. See Florida Statute 702.01. The court process can move quickly if action is not taken to prevent the foreclosure. If foreclosure proceedings have begun, contact a foreclosure defense attorney right away. There may be legal defenses that can be used to prevent the foreclosure of your home. Additionally, there may be other options available, such as deed in lieu of foreclosure, loan modification, or short sale. For more information about each of these options contact a foreclosure defense lawyer in your area.

FORECLOSURE FILED BY THE HOMEOWNERS ASSOCIATION 

Banks are not the only institutions that seek to foreclose on homes in Florida. Thousands of foreclosure cases are filed by homeowner’s associations in Florida each year. HOA’s are very aggressive in filing for foreclosure, in many cases seeking foreclosure when the homeowner is only a few dollars behind on their assessments. Further, it is not uncommon to have a balance of only $100 increase to over $5,000 after the HOA adds their late fees, interest, and attorney fees. Fortunately, there are options that can help prevent an HOA foreclosure sale.

Similar to banks, the HOA will need to file a foreclosure case in court and receive approval from a judge before the home is foreclosed. See Florida Statute 720.3085. During the court process, the homeowner will have an opportunity to raise defenses and challenge the foreclosure. To learn more about the possible legal defenses to foreclosure by an HOA contact a Tampa foreclosure defense lawyer in your area.

STOPPING AN HOA FORECLOSURE WITH CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY

Additionally, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help stop a foreclosure filed by either an HOA or mortgage lender. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing could allow you to avoid foreclosure all together by working out a repayment plan over a span of three to five (3-5) years for the arrearage, otherwise known as back-due payments.  Essentially, the homeowner will have a 60-month loan to repay the back-due HOA fees. In mortgage foreclosure cases, the homeowner may be able to modify the loan to reduce the balance, lower the interest rate, and extend the term for repayment. For more information about a specific case or payment plan contact a bankruptcy lawyer to schedule a consultation

Tampa Bankruptcy and Foreclosure Defense Law Firm:

If you are thinking about filing for bankruptcy or are being threatened with foreclosure contact Florida Law Advisers, P.A. Our bankruptcy attorneys in Tampa are experienced in both bankruptcy and foreclosure defense. Every foreclosure and bankruptcy case is different, and our vast experience allows us to cater our services to each client’s individual needs. All of our initial consultations are free and convenient payment plans are always available. Regardless, if you need help with Chapter 13, Chapter 7, or foreclosure defense our professional legal team will provide you with competent legal advice you can trust. Call us now at 800 990 7763 to speak with a lawyer, we are available to answer your calls 24/7.<

how long will bankruptcy stay on a credit report

A common question is how long will bankruptcy stay on a credit report? After a bankruptcy is complete and you receive the Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 discharge, the bankruptcy may last on your credit report for a few years. If you completed a Chapter 13 repayment plan, it may remain on the credit report for 7 years. Chapter 7 bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to 10 years. See MyFico.com. For information on the differences between Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, click here to speak with a bankruptcy attorney in Tampa.

Filing bankruptcy does not necessarily mean your credit score will take a dive. In my cases, bankruptcy will actually help improve a person’s credit score. Bankruptcy is intended to give people a fresh start. In bankruptcy, debt gets discharged, which releases the borrower from all personality on the debt. Further, creditors will be prohibited from taking any collection activity on a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy. The discharge of debt can help increase the credit score because there will be a lot less debt owed after the bankruptcy case is completed. Please keep in mind, each case is different and you should consult with a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer for information on how bankruptcy may affect your individual situation.

Getting New Loans After Bankruptcy

You should be able to apply for credit cards after you receive your discharge in either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. A great place to start rebuilding your credit is with a secured credit card. This is a credit card where you make a deposit into a savings account and then you receive a line a credit for that amount, minus the annual fee that is assigned to that secured credit card. For example, if you make a deposit of $800 into the savings account and you have a secured credit card that has a $40 annual fee, your line of credit will be $760.

Retail credit cards, such as department store cards, are also a great way to start rebuilding your credit. Often, it is much easier to obtain a credit card from a retail store than it is from a bank after filing bankruptcy. Retail stores like gas stations and department stores are primarily in business to sell their products, not issue credit. With a credit card they can sell you more of their products. Therefore, many of their credit cards are easier to qualify for than other types of credit cards.

You may also be eligible for a mortgage in as little as 12 months after filing for bankruptcy. For more information on the waiting period to qualify for a mortgage after bankruptcy click here. The facts of each case will dictate how long bankruptcy will stay on a credit report. You should see the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa for specific information about your case

Review Your Credit Report

It is also important after receiving your discharge that you review your credit report on a semi-annual basis. The Fair Credit Reporting Act makes it so every person can receive one free credit report every 12 months at www.annualcreditreport.com. See 15 U.S.C. § 1681. Be careful of using another website for this service because it most likely will require a fee or come with hidden conditions.

When reviewing your credit report, there are two types of errors that you could come across: (1) information was added to your report that does not belong to you; and (2) an agency sent the report of a different person, even though the information is accurate. If you see a bankruptcy on your credit report that you did not file, it is imperative that you report it and dispute that information on your credit report. You must do this by initiating a dispute with the consumer reporting agency that keeps the report, and dispute the information directly with the creditor.

Bankruptcy Law Firm

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 bankruptcy attorney in Tampa by your side throughout every phase of the bankruptcy process. We will help ensure your rights are protected, keep you well-informed, and help you receive the utmost relief bankruptcy can offer. To schedule a free consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa call, email, or fill out an online inquiry on our website today.

What Happens to Child support and Alimony in Bankruptcy

Debts will be treated differently in bankruptcy based on their classification. Child support and alimony in bankruptcy receive nearly the greatest level of protection under Florida’s bankruptcy laws. Although child support is considered “unsecured debt,” which is typically dischargeable, the Bankruptcy Code provides special treatment for this domestic obligation. See bankruptcy law 11 U.S.C. § 507(a). However, there may still be options to reduce the amount of child support, you should consult with a bankruptcy attorney in Tampa for advice about your specific case. A Tampa bankruptcy attorney can help describe some of the options that may be available to reduce your amount of child support.

CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY IN BANKRUPTCY

Child support and alimony will be the first of the unsecured claims to be paid among all your other unsecured creditors. Keep in mind that child support and alimony obligations cannot be discharged through either Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. See bankruptcy laws 11 U.S.C. § 727 & 1328. You will be responsible to continue making those payments to your former spouse during the life of your bankruptcy case, and after you receive your discharge.

PROTECTING THE CHILD SUPPORT AND ALIMONY YOU RECEIVE

If you are an individual who receives child support and/or alimony, you will be able to protect that income with the “support” federal exemption afforded to you by the Bankruptcy law. See 11 U.S.C. § 522. The entire amount that you receive from your former spouse will be protected, meaning that the trustee cannot take that income away from you. For information about a specific case or set of circumstances you should contact a bankruptcy law firm in Tampa to schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy lawyer.

AUTOMATIC STAY PROTECTION

Child support and alimony will also receive protection under the “automatic stay” that takes place once you file bankruptcy. This takes effect immediately in order to preserve the property of the estate and to prevent any pre-petition claims from being paid outside of your bankruptcy. See bankruptcy law 11 U.S.C. § 362. However, if you have a judicial lien against you for failure to pay your child support or alimony obligations prior to you filing bankruptcy, the automatic stay will not apply to that judicial lien and you will be responsible to pay that lien amount. Again, this lien amount will not be discharged in either Chapter 7 or 13. For more information on discharge of debts in bankruptcy click here.

CHAPTER 13 BANKRUPTCY FOR CHILD SUPPORT & ALIMONY

Additionally, if you are behind on your child support and/or alimony obligations, filing Chapter 13 may be a good avenue for you to get caught up on your payments. In fact, you would be required to pay any outstanding child support or alimony payments in full through the life of your Chapter 13 repayment plan in order to receive discharge. The benefit of having your child support/alimony obligations paid through your Chapter 13 plan is that it could potentially reduce the amount that you would have to pay back to other unsecured creditors and increase the amount of credit card or medical debt that would be discharged at the end of your Chapter 13 plan.

 

Bankruptcy Law Firm in Tampa

Bankruptcy law can be very confusing and intimidating. If you are considering seeking bankruptcy protection you should contact a bankruptcy law firm in Tampa for legal advice. The bankruptcy attorneys at our firm have years of experience helping people just like you to solve their financial problems and obtain a fresh start. We have many options available that can help you successfully manage your debt and regain your financial health. Regardless if you need help with Chapter 13, Chapter 7, or other debt relief, our professional legal team will provide you with competent legal advice you can trust. To see which options may be available to you, contact us to today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a bankruptcy attorney at our firm.

bankruptcy exemptions

A term you will often hear, whether you file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, is “ bankruptcy exemption.”  This is special protection that the Bankruptcy Code provides for a certain amount of value in your personal property.  See 11 U.S.C. § 522.  There are federal and state bankruptcy exemptions, and the state exemptions are different from state to state.  The difference in federal and state exemptions is the dollar amount of certain pieces of property that are protected from becoming property of the bankruptcy estate.  A bankruptcy lawyer can structure your case to maximize your bankruptcy exemptions and help prevent losing your assets due to the bankruptcy.

Florida or Federal Bankruptcy Exemptions

In order to determine which bankruptcy exemptions apply to your case, you must look at whether your state is an “opt-out” state.  “Opt-out” means that you are required to use your state’s exemption amounts—not federal.  Florida is an “opt-out” state.  So, if you file your case in Florida, you must use Florida’s exemptions for all of your property; you do not get to pick and choose whether you use federal exemptions on some pieces of property, and Florida exemptions on other pieces.  However, if your state is not an “opt-out” state, you are free to choose either federal or state exemptions to protect your property. Bankruptcy exemptions are vital to a bankruptcy case and can be difficult to master, if you need assistance contact a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa. A bankruptcy attorney should be able to structure your Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 in a way that maximizes the protection you can receive from exemptions

Homestead Exemption

Typically, the most important exemption—especially in Florida—is the “homestead exemption.”  The Florida homestead exemption is one of the best in the nation in that it protects all of the equity in your home (meaning your house is worth more than you owe).  See Fla. Const. art. X, § 4. To enjoy the homestead exemption, you must be domiciled in Florida for 730 days prior to filing your bankruptcy petition.  “Domicile” is your place of residence with the intent to remain there permanently.

Wildcard Exemption

If you do not want to keep your home in bankruptcy and are not claiming the Florida homestead exemption, you can receive the “wildcard exemption.”  This provides you with $4,000 to apply to any piece of property you would like, whether it is your car, a diamond ring, or your favorite china set.  Fla. Stat. § 222.25.  It exists to allow you to pick and choose what is protected in your bankruptcy because it is important to you. A bankruptcy attorney experienced in wildcard exemptions can assist with this.  Although Florida has one of the most generous homestead exemptions, it does have lower exemption amounts than some federal exemptions.  Just remember, you cannot choose to use some federal exemptions in Florida; you must use Florida’s exemptions in your bankruptcy case.

Other Exemptions

There are other exemptions you can apply to a wide range of personal property as well.  Some examples are motor vehicles, boats, household furnishings, household goods, clothing, appliances, books, your pets/farm animals, crops, musical instruments, jewelry, tools of trade, health aids, life insurance policies, wages, and retirement accounts.  The exemptions are categorical and cannot spill over to other items.  For example, each person who files bankruptcy in Florida is given $1,000 to protect his or her car.  If you and your spouse are filing jointly, you will be given $2,000 towards your cars.  So, if you have a car worth only $750, you cannot put the leftover $250 towards protecting more of your jewelry or whatever else you are trying to protect—what you cannot use of the vehicle exemption, you lose. You should consider hiring a Tampa bankruptcy attorney to help structure your case to most effectively use Florida’s exemptions.

Bankruptcy Law Firm:

If you are struggling with debt Florida law advisers may be able to help get a fresh start without having to lose your property. Regardless if you need help with Chapter 13, Chapter 7, or other debt relief, our professional legal team will provide you with competent legal advice you can trust. We are dedicated to providing effective representation, individualized attention, 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.

Stop creditor harassment

When you file either Chapter 7 or 13, an “automatic stay” is put into place under bankruptcy law. The automatic stay requires all collection activity against the debtor to stop immediately. The automatic stay is the quickest way stop creditor’s phone calls and stop creditor harassment. Creditors and collection agencies will not be able to contact you, garnish your wages, or repossess your property while the automatic stay is in effect. This stay is applicable to all creditors and none of your creditors can repossess any of your property during the time the automatic stay is in place. See bankruptcy law 11 U.S.C. § 362(a).

How Long Does the Automatic Stay Last?

In most cases, the automatic stay will remain in effect and stop creditor harassment until your bankruptcy case is discharged. The automatic stay is available under both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you are unsure about which Chapter is right for you speak with a bankruptcy attorney in your area. Florida Law Advisers, P.A. offers a free initial consultation for bankruptcy clients, to speak with a bankruptcy lawyer in Tampa click here.

Although the automatic stay is usually in place during the life of your bankruptcy, it is automatically lifted as to all creditors once your case is closed out. See bankruptcy case Failla v. Citibank.  For example, if you did choose to surrender your home, the secured creditor can start the foreclosure process on your home as soon as the stay is lifted at the end of your case without first having to seek approval from the bankruptcy court. However, the creditor will be unable to continue with the foreclosure process until the stay has been lifted.

Stop Creditor Harassment With The Automatic Stay

If a secured creditor wants to move forward with collection efforts after the stay has been enacted, the creditor must first seek approval to do so from the bankruptcy court. This process will require notice to you (the debtor) and a hearing. See U.S. Supreme Court Case: Citizens Bank of Maryland v. Strumpf.

If the judge grants the secured creditor the ability to move forward with their collection after the hearing, the automatic stay is considered to be “lifted” and the secured creditor can come after the piece of property that it wishes to repossess. An example of this process would be in a Chapter 7 where you choose to surrender your home. If the secured creditor wants to take your home from you, the creditor must go through the process of seeking approval from the court in order to do so. For more information about a creditor’s right to lift the automatic stay contact a bankruptcy lawyer in your area.

Automatic Stay Stops Foreclosure

If there is a foreclosure pending against your home prior to filing bankruptcy and you want to keep your home, filing a bankruptcy petition will automatically stop that foreclosure process because of the automatic stay. You want to make sure that once you file your bankruptcy petition to stop the foreclosure action that you also file a “Suggestion of Bankruptcy” form in the state court foreclosure lawsuit right away. This must be done before the foreclosure sale date (if one has been set already) in order to stop the sale of your home. This assures that the state court judge is on notice of your bankruptcy so the foreclosure can be stopped on time. The Tampa bankruptcy law firm you hired should file the suggestion of bankruptcy in your foreclosure case on your behalf.

Exceptions to Automatic Stay

The automatic stay does not apply to all types of debts, collection activities, or creditor harassment. Bankruptcy law provides for many exceptions from the automatic stay. A list of some of these exceptions are below, for a more complete list of exceptions see bankruptcy law 11 USC §362 or contact a bankruptcy attorney.

Tampa Bankruptcy Law Firm

At Florida Law Advisers, P.A., the Tampa bankruptcy attorneys have years of experience helping people just like you to solve their financial problems. We understand that these are very difficult times and we are here to help. We have many options available that can help you successfully manage your debt and regain your financial health. The right course of action will depend on the unique circumstances of your case. To see which options may be available to you, contact us to today to schedule a free, confidential consultation with a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer at our firm.