How to File for Bankruptcy in Florida
Filing for bankruptcy in Florida requires many of the same steps as filing for bankruptcy throughout the rest of the United States. It is essential to become familiar with and follow all federal laws and guidelines for the bankruptcy process when filing in Florida. In addition, it can be extremely beneficial to take time to become familiar with the specifics of filing for bankruptcy in Florida.
Anyone who is facing the prospect of filing for bankruptcy must determine which form of bankruptcy is appropriate for their situation. Most people end up filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 bankruptcy allows for debts to be discharged by the court. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows for debts to be paid as part of a structured payment plan that is set up by the court. There are also other forms of bankruptcy that may be appropriate for a small portion of the people who file for bankruptcy each year. Farmers and fishermen are eligible to file for Chapter 12 bankruptcy. People with large debt amounts or business-related debts may be able to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.
Everyone filing for bankruptcy will need to complete a means test that will be submitted to the court. A means test uses a number of factors to determine a person’s eligibility to file for specific types of bankruptcy. The information that must be submitted as part of the means test will cover financial details like assets, liabilities, income and more.
Florida’s Bankruptcy Process
Florida’s bankruptcy court is divided into three sections. These three sections are the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida, the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida and the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Florida has locations in Gainesville, Panama City, Pensacola and Tallahassee. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Florida has locations in Fort Meyers, Jacksonville, Orlando and Tampa. The United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Florida has locations in Miami, Fort Lauderdale and West Palm Beach.
The fee to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Florida is $335. The fee to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida is $310. A list of complete fees that can be expected when
Beginning the Bankruptcy Process in Florida
The bankruptcy process officially begins when a debtor files a bankruptcy petition with the court. A petition activates something called an automatic stay. An automatic stay prevents all creditors from contacting a debtor or attempting to collect any debts. However, a debtor will be required to attend a mandatory meeting of creditors before the end of the bankruptcy process. This meeting allows creditors to try to prove that a debtor has nonexempt assets that can be forfeited. It also allows creditors to challenge any aspect of a payment plan in the case of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. All debtors must complete a credit counseling course at some point during the six months leading up to filing a petition with the court. This course must be taken through an agency that is approved in the state of Florida. A list of approved course providers can be accessed here.
In addition, all debtors must complete a debtor education course after filing for bankruptcy. A list of approved course providers for this requirement can be accessed here.