At the Hancock Firm, P.A. we understand that people have many questions about the bankruptcy process. Here are some common questions and answers -- please keep in mind these are not tailored to your unique situation. Of course the best way to have all your questions answered is to schedule a free and friendly bankruptcy consultation! Please follow the "schedule appointment" link on the right or call (904) 982-7212. We are here to help you and are conveniently located in Atlantic Beach close to Neptune Beach, Jacksonville Beach, Mayport, and Ponte Vedra.
Q: Do I lose everything if I file bankruptcy?
A: The short answer is, no you do not lose everything. There are laws called exemptions that protect property such as your home, vehicle, furniture, and other personal items. There are limits to the exemptions, however, which is why it is important to consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney. If you are over the limits your property could be sold (liquidated) and the proceeds used to pay your creditors.
Q: What are the different types of bankruptcy?
A: There are several types of bankruptcy, but the most common for individuals (including married couples) are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is the form most people know as the "clean slate" option. You have the option to erase all of your debt, or keep items such as a financed home or vehicle while just erasing credit card or medical debt. Chapter 13 is a three to five year repayment plan. This is a good option for people who need to catch up payments on a home or vehicle they would like to keep, or for those who want to pay the debt back but need help reducing interest rates and debt balances. Much like exemptions there are many factors that go into choosing the best option for each client's situation and goals.
Q: How much does bankruptcy cost?
A: The filing fee for Chapter 7 is $306 and the filing fee for Chapter 13 is $281. That is the money the Bankruptcy Court receives. You will also have to complete a required credit counseling course before your case is filed, which typically costs $15 to $25. After your case is filed, you will need to take a debt management course, which costs about $15 to $25. Attorney fees for the Chapter 7 vary depending on your situation and flexible payment options are available. In the Chapter 13, some or even all of the attorney fees can be paid through your plan payments.
Q: When will creditors stop harassing me? Will bankruptcy stop my foreclosure? Law suit? Repossession?
A: As soon as a bankruptcy petition is filed with the court the "automatic stay" of bankruptcy goes into effect. The automatic stay bans creditors from calling you, sending you bills, foreclosing on your house, suing you, or repossessing your vehicle. If your vehicle has been recently repossessed it is even possible to get it back once a Chapter 13 case is filed.
Q: Do I have to go to court?
A: You will have to attend a 341 Meeting of Creditors with your assigned trustee. This meeting occurs about a month after your case is filed. Creditors have the right to show up and ask you questions but they rarely do so. Your trustee will ask you questions about your situation, assets, income, and other items in the bankruptcy petition. You will be sworn in and must answer honestly. The meeting typically lasts around five minutes.
Q: How difficult is it to rebuild my credit after bankruptcy? Will anyone even give me credit again?
A: As soon as you file for bankruptcy you will find that you will actually have too many people offering you credit. These offers typically have high interest rates and should be ignored. You can rebuild your credit by staying on time with debt you kept through the bankruptcy, such as a car payment. You can also get a secured credit card (a credit card where you must put money down) and using it wisely. Keep in mind that while you are in a Chapter 13 repayment plan you may not take on new debt without prior court approval.
Q: I heard bankruptcy won't help with tax debt or student loans. Is that true?
A: Although student loans, most tax debt, and back child support are non-dischargeable debts in bankruptcy (meaning they cannot be forgiven) there are still ways a bankruptcy can help. A Chapter 13 repayment plan can help manage payments on these types of debts and make repayment much more affordable.
Q: What sets your firm apart from other firms that file bankruptcies?
A: Many firms tack bankruptcy on to their list of practice areas without having a full appreciation and understanding of the system. Other firms focus on bankruptcy law but are inconveniently located for beaches residents. At The Hancock Firm, P.A. we combine a focus on bankruptcy law with a location convenient to beaches residents and flexible hours. We also strive to make our clients comfortable with their bankruptcy options by explaining the process in a down-to-earth manner.
The Hancock Firm, P.A. ® , 681 Atlantic Boulevard, Atlantic Beach, FL 32233
Proudly serving the residents of Jacksonville Beach, Neptune Beach, Atlantic Beach, Mayport, Ponte Vedra, and Jacksonville. We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. This website is for informational purposes only.