Bankruptcy is not always the answer to seemingly insurmountable financial problems. If you are struggling to pay your bills, an Orlando, FL, bankruptcy attorney from Florida Law Advisers may be able to help you pursue another type of debt relief that is suited to your unique needs.
If you are considering bankruptcy in central Florida, schedule a free consultation with an Orlando bankruptcy attorney with Florida Law Advisers. You may have options for getting back on your financial feet. Let us carefully review your individual situation and come up with some long-term solutions to your underlying debt problems. At the end of the consultation, you should have a firm understanding of each option and be confident about choosing a course of action that best fits your needs.
Contact us today for a free initial consultation.
What Are The Alternatives To Filing Bankruptcy?
Bankruptcy is a legal process that allows people or businesses that are facing unmanageable debt to discharge certain debts and make a fresh financial start. But bankruptcy badly damages your credit rating and makes it much harder to borrow money for several years afterward.
Before preparing to file for bankruptcy, a person or business struggling with debt should thoroughly explore all the alternatives. A bankruptcy attorney at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., in Orlando, can assess your situation and discuss the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy and the alternatives available to you. We can help you pursue the type of relief that is right for you, such as:
- Debt Settlement. Your creditors are primarily interested in getting paid. Your creditors may accept partial payment if you can’t pay all that you owe. It is possible to pursue settlements between you and your creditors without going to court. Because this requires you to sign a legally binding contract, you should have a bankruptcy lawyer negotiate the deal, protect your rights, and ensure that the contract is properly written. Your creditors will likely have a law firm representing their interests. You should have a knowledgeable bankruptcy lawyer representing your interests as well.
- Debt Consolidation. To consolidate your debt, you would get a single large loan that you use to pay all your creditors, leaving you with a single debt held by one creditor. The benefit of debt consolidation is typically a lower interest rate than you were previously paying and a longer payment period. For many people, having a single bill to pay each month is also less stressful. When considering a debt consolidation loan, you need to make sure you understand the interest rate. Often, these loans come with low “teaser rates” that are only temporary and eventually increase. Many people obtain low- or zero-interest credit cards to consolidate debt. These credit cards typically offer temporary rates that do not apply to any additional debt put on the card. Further, if you are late with a credit card payment, the interest rate on your entire debt will balloon.
- Loan modification. You may be able to persuade your lender to restructure or refinance a large loan balance, such as your mortgage. After a successful loan modification, you should have a lower interest rate and an extended repayment period. You may also be able to negotiate with the lender to eliminate late fees. Refinancing your mortgage means applying for a new loan, which requires a good credit record. You would also want mortgage interest rates to be favorable.
- Sell Assets. You may be able to raise money by selling certain assets you can live without. If you have more than several automobiles, consider whether you can get by with just one. Maybe your boat has to go – for now. Or you may have a valuable collection of collector items that can be sold to raise cash.
- Credit Counseling. Maybe you just need some coaching and guidance to get a handle on your debt. A credit counselor can help you develop a debt-management plan with payments you can afford and can help you work with creditors to lower your payments and interest rates. Look for an agency approved by the Council on Accreditation. The COA conducts regular audits and ensures that the services an agency provides benefit to the community. Another source of advice is credit counseling agencies approved by the U.S. Justice Department. If you choose to file bankruptcy, you will be required to complete credit counseling.
What To Expect If You Can’t Avoid Bankruptcy
If filing for bankruptcy is the solution for you as an individual, an Orland bankruptcy lawyer at Florida Law Advisers can evaluate which chapter of the federal bankruptcy code applies to your situation:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy, in which a court-appointed trustee sells your assets to pay your creditors. You must pass a means test to qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The court issues a bankruptcy discharge so that you are no longer obligated to pay unsecured debts such as credit card debt and medical bills. Those creditors can’t pursue collection action against you.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy, in which you develop a plan to pay your debts in installments over three to five years. If you don’t pass the means test, you may file under Chapter 13 of the federal bankruptcy code. Chapter 13 allows you to discharge a variety of unsecured debt and protects you from bill collectors.
Our bankruptcy lawyers at Florida Law Advisers can provide legal representation and guide you through the filing process to seek debt relief, whether that involves restructuring debt, modifying loan payments, or selling assets to pay debts.
You can expect a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to stay on your credit report for seven years. Chapter 7 bankruptcy should come off your credit report after ten years. A bankruptcy on your credit report will make it more difficult to borrow money or obtain a credit card. It may also make it challenging to rent an apartment or house.
But bankruptcy relieves the financial and emotional burden of unmanageable debt as it protects you from creditor harassment and bill collectors. As soon as you file for bankruptcy, the court will issue an automatic stay, stopping collection efforts. Bankruptcy offers a fresh start so you can rebuild your financial life.
Call Our Orlando Bankruptcy Lawyers for Help
The experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Florida Law Advisers, P.A., can review your finances and help you determine the best way to rebuild your financial standing. Contact us for a free consultation with an experienced Orlando bankruptcy lawyer to learn more.