Automatic Stay Protection for Florida Consumers

End harassing tactics by unscrupulous creditors

Have your creditors been calling so often that you have disconnected your phone? Do you receive letters warning of foreclosure on your house or repossession of your car and television? Do you wish that you could just make it all stop? It turns out that you can. Let our dedicated Florida bankruptcy lawyers talk to you about the advantages of bankruptcy and automatic stay protection.

When you file a petition in your local bankruptcy court, you receive an automatic stay. This means that creditors can’t move ahead with their plans to collect on your debts or reclaim your possessions. A creditor cannot file a lawsuit against you in small claims
court, nor can he proceed with an existing lawsuit. Creditors cannot repossess your car or foreclose upon your house. The threatening phone calls demanding payment cease. Automatic stay protection is not guaranteed in every case. Under certain circumstances, a creditor may seek relief from the stay. Usually, though, an automatic stay lasts long enough to give you time to put your financial house in order. You don’t need a judge’s order or a signed writing to make it happen. You just get your petition stamped by the
court clerk.

Our automatic stay protection lawyers in Florida can tell you all about the differences between types of bankruptcy and automatic stay protection. When an individual files for bankruptcy, he or she has the option of choosing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Chapter 7 is best for those who want quick debt relief, have no assets to protect and satisfy the means test. Chapter 13 is for those who want to retain their
possessions and make their monthly debt payments more reasonable. Both types of bankruptcy offer automatic stay protection. Both also include exceptions for relief, such as if a debtor is in default on mortgage payments and seems unlikely to pay even under a restructured plan. A creditor might also seek relief in a Chapter 7 case if he fears that valuable property is subject to unacceptable risk.

Bankruptcy is one of the only ways to get your creditors to stop pursuing you. Other options, such as loan modification, still permit creditors to foreclose upon your home. With bankruptcy, you have a chance to get your life back on track. Talk to an experienced automatic stay protection attorney in Florida to find out more.

Get the benefits on an automatic stay — call My Fresh Start today!

Protect Your Home From Mortgage Default

Millions of Americans are facing the threat of foreclosure. In these difficult economic times, losing your job can mean losing the home you worked so hard to buy. For many people, foreclosure is a frightening and embarrassing situation that they don’t want anyone else to know about. Yet no one should have to face it alone. If you live in Florida and are facing foreclosure, you need an attorney to explain the process and help you avoid losing your home.

Foreclosure occurs when a homeowner is unable to make mortgage payments. Since the mortgage loan was secured by your home, if you fail to make the payments, the law allows the lender to take the home back. Foreclosure can happen to anyone, regardless of whether the interest rate on your mortgage was fixed or variable. You might even face foreclosure for failing to pay off other debts or property taxes.

In Florida , foreclosure is conducted through the courts. After the homeowner fails to make a payment, the lender may file a Complaint to Foreclose Mortgage, to which the homeowner has 30 days to respond. If the court finds in favor of the lender, it give the homeowner 90 days to pay off the mortgage. If the homeowner cannot pay, the house is sold in a Sheriff’s Sale. The general rules on foreclosure in Florida are:

  • (a) Typical 60 -Day Foreclosure Period
  • (b) Judicial (Court Order or Hearing Required)
  • (c) Redemption is Not Allowed
  • (d) Reinstatement Not Available
  • (e) State Law Mandates “All Foreclosures Final”

But…

The minute you file Chapter 7 or 13 , if you are current on your payments, all of the following happens — every time:

  • The foreclosure process stops immediately.
  • An automatic stay goes into effect. This is a court order preventing your creditors from contacting you about your debts. So, there will be no more harassing phone calls, letters or repossessions.
  • Your My Fresh Start attorney helps work out a repayment plan that allows you to make monthly payments — payments you can afford — over a three-year period directly to the court. Usually this means that your non-mortgage debts are greatly reduced. In many cases, your non-mortgage debts are eliminated completely.
  • With your monthly obligations so much lower, you can again afford to make mortgage payments and keep your home.

Creditor Harassment in Florida

Putting a stop to oppressive collection practices

Are you tired of late-night phone calls from creditors demanding that you pay your debts? Have your creditors threatened to take you to court? Have they tried to trick you into thinking that you could be arrested if you don’t pay them? All too often, your creditors will do anything to get what they want, which is why you need the help of an experienced bankruptcy attorney to stop them.

Ordinary people face lawsuits, collections agencies and creditor harassment as a result of their debts. In a typical case, you may have lost your job. Perhaps you are using your credit card to pay for household expenses and even medical bills. If your credit card debt gets too high and you can’t meet your minimum monthly payments, the creditor might file a lawsuit against you in small claims court. Or a collection agent might call you constantly throughout the day, trying to wear you down. Although the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act prohibits threats, phone calls at odd hours and constant phone calls designed to annoy you, too many creditors continue to engage in these practices. Creditors might even follow you to your home or business, or use deceit — such as claiming to be law enforcement — to try to collect the debt. The objective is to make you feel frightened and trapped — so that you will agree to do things on their terms.

You don’t have to put up with it. Our Florida creditor harassment attorneys we will show you how to stop creditor harassment by filing for bankruptcy. When you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there is an automatic stay on any creditor lawsuits, wage garnishments and threatening phone calls. Creditors won’t be able to take away your most prized possessions or foreclose on your house once you have filed
for bankruptcy.

When considering bankruptcy, you should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to consider which type of bankruptcy is best for you. If you don’t have any major assets and want to get rid of your debts quickly, you might consider Chapter 7. Chapter 7 liquidates all non-exempt assets, and the money is used to pay off creditors. However, if you have a house or a car that you don’t want to lose, you might prefer Chapter 13. Chapter 13 reorganizes your debts so that they are more manageable so that you can pay them off over time.

Wage Garnishment in Florida

Don’t let your creditors invade your privacy and limit your freedom

You finally found a job to pay off all of your debts. Too bad a creditor has decided he can’t wait any longer and wants to garnish your wages. Wage garnishment is one way that creditors can punish you for your economic hardship. If you don’t want your employer to withhold wages for your creditor, contact our bankruptcy attorneys in Florida today.

Florida wage garnishment is generally prohibited however, some debts are subject to garnishment. Wage garnishment is a legal process in which the creditor gets a court order requiring the debtor’s employer to withhold a certain amount of the debtor’s wages until the debt is paid. Garnishment can be used to collect on any type of debt. While the Consumer Credit Protection Act prohibits the garnishment of all of a debtor’s wages, even garnishment of some wages can make it difficult for the debtor to pay regular living expenses. It can also harm employer-employee relations. An employer cannot terminate an employee for garnishment for one debt, but the employer is permitted to do so if garnishment is required for multiple debts. You could find yourself deprived of the means to get yourself out of debt because your creditors refused to wait. In general Florida garnishment laws allow:

  • A creditor can garnish 25% of your disposable income or;
  • the amount by which your disposable income exceeds 30 times federal minimum wage, whichever is less.
  • In Florida, if your disposable income is less than 30 times federal minimum wage, your wages cannot be garnished at all.
  • Garnishment in aggerate cannot exceed 25% per federal law.

If your creditor threatens to garnish your wages, contact our skilled Florida garnishment lawyers so that they can help you find a way out. One solution is to file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy. When you file a petition for bankruptcy, your creditors are automatically barred from taking any action against you, including lawsuits, threatening phone calls and wage garnishment. Filing for bankruptcy releases you from your debts. With luck, you will never be threatened with garnishment again.

You should consider carefully which type of bankruptcy would be best for your situation. If you have no major assets to protect and want to get rid of your debts quickly, ask an attorney at our garnishment firm in Florida about the merits of Chapter 7. If you don’t want to lose any assets and would prefer making reasonable debt payments over time, consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy. With bankruptcy, the creditor is cut out of your employer-employee relationship. You get to decide how to pay off your debts.

Take back control of your paycheck — call MyFreshStart today!

Wipe Out Your Parking Ticket Balance

Penalties and interest charges for unpaid tickets

People who drive cars in America’s large cities are used to expensive and scarce parking spots. Garage parking can run to $50 a day and finding free parking has become all but impossible. However, drivers in Florida have something much more serious to worry about — the possibility that unpaid parking tickets can lead to suspension of your driver’s license.

  • In Florida NO municipal traffic court fines including speeding, parking fines, fees, interest and surcharges can be discharged if they are is imposed as a criminal penalty
  • non-criminal fines MAY be dischargeable
  • The key is determining whether the parking or traffic violations are deemed “crimes” under the state law where the offenses occurred.

But …

Any non-criminal fines can be paid through a Chapter 13 plan but must be paid in full. They will have a priority over other debts so by the time your plan is complete you should have all fines, fees and interests charges settled.

Payment Plans

Payment plans are available, but until you pay the entire balance, you cannot drive. This includes driving to work or taking your children to school. For most of us, being unable to get to work can be devastating.

My Fresh Start bankruptcy attorneys can help you get your license back today.

Asset Protection in Florida

Guarding necessary items from repossession and liquidation

You thought that your life was secure. But job loss, divorce, sudden illness or economic turndown can change everything in a heartbeat. Suddenly, your finances are strained and you miss a payment or two. Your creditors are threatening to foreclose on your house, repossess your car and garnish your wages. You need someone by your side to help you. Our bankruptcy lawyers in Florida can help stop foreclosure and wage garnishment and get back your repossessed property.

No one wants to lose their assets after spending so many years paying for them. But that’s just what happens when you default on your payments. Typically people take out loans to pay for items like houses and cars, agreeing to repay them in installments until the items belong to them. Under these contracts, when you default on a payment, the home or car is collateral that the creditor is entitled to repossess. Creditors can ruin lives through repossession — literally taking the roof over your head.

If you are in debt and want to protect your assets, you have various options. But the solution that takes care of all of your debts is bankruptcy. Contact our asset protection firm in Florida to learn more about it. Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you restructure your debts to make more reasonable payments, so that you never have to worry about creditors repossessing your assets. If you want to get rid of your debt
quickly and feel certain that your assets would be exempt, you might also consider Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 liquidates any asset that is non-exempt and uses the proceeds to pay off creditors.

Car Repossession Laws in Florida

Remedies for defaults on secured auto loans

Is a creditor threatening to repossess your car? Are you facing the loss of your most valuable possession, and you don’t know what to do? The bankruptcy lawyers at My Fresh Start can help you out. Repossession is scary, but it is not inevitable. Let us help you do whatever it takes to hold onto your car.

Protecting your car from repossession in Florida

When owners of purchased items can no longer make payments on them, Florida repossession law allows the lender to take possession of the items. Since a car is a significant purchase for most people, they usually choose to finance it with a loan, which they pay in monthly installments. The car buyer agrees that the vehicle will serve as collateral that the creditor can repossess if the buyer defaults on payments. When the buyer defaults, the creditor has the right under Florida repo law to take possession of the car, as long as it is done in a way that does not breach the peace (meaning, the creditor does not take the vehicle by force or over the buyer’s in-person objections). Of course, you’re limited by law in ways you can resist repossession. You can’t keep the car in a locked garage, move it in an effort to conceal it, or physically restrain a repo agent from taking it.

Don&’t suffer the humiliation of repossession

Fortunately, it is not the only possible outcome. If you are unable to make payments and believe you may be at risk of having your car or other belongings repossessed, you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which automatically halts any efforts by creditors to seize your possessions. Our Florida repossession attorneys can explain the details of filing for bankruptcy. When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you and your attorney can restructure your payment plan in a way that allows you to make the payments and keep your cherished items.

Some people might want to consider filing for Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead. Chapter 7 is not for those who want to keep all of their possessions, because it liquidates some of your assets to pay off your debts. However, if you just have one large purchase that you want to keep, such as your car, you may be able to work out a way to redeem its current value or reaffirm the loan.

Avoiding Truck Repossession in Florida

Our bbankruptcy attorneys protect your livelihood

Many small business owners and private contractors have trucks or vans they rely on every day. These vehicles are significant investments, which the owners usually must finance through a secured truck loan. When a business downturn prevents them from making payments, they run the risk of having their truck repossessed, which could be the final blow to their business. At My Fresh Start, we know how important it is for you to keep your truck or van so you can build your business, generate income and care for your family. We provide personal bankruptcy plans that allow you to:

  • Keep a vehicle that’s necessary for your trade
  • Discharge overwhelming debt quickly, or
  • Reorganize your debt into a manageable payment plan

Losing your truck or van can mean losing your business

Your vehicle loan contract makes your truck collateral for the loan. If you missed payments, ownership of the vehicle reverts back to the finance company. That’s when your lender places a call to the repo man. Suddenly your vehicle is in jeopardy, and your livelihood with it. Suppose your truck was repossessed at night, with all the tools of your trade inside. How much work would you lose before you were able to reclaim your tools? Could you get your tools to a job site without your truck? What if your vehicle is a delivery van? They take your truck, they also take your inventory. How understanding will your customers be about the interrupted delivery? If you’re running a food service, your wares are a total loss. Clearly, anyone running a small business that depends on a vehicle must stop repossession before it happens! But how?

Can a My Fresh Start bankruptcy plan save your truck or van from repossession?

Many small business owners and contractors operate LLCs and claim their business income on their personal income tax forms. When these individuals take out a loan to build or expand their business, the loan is often their personal obligation. In that case, they can file personal bankruptcy, either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, which will immediately halt truck repossession. Which chapter to file depends upon your overall debt profile, which you can discuss for free with a qualified My Fresh Start attorney in Florida .

Bankruptcy Explained by a Trusted Attorney

Helping Florida residents get back on their feet

More than at any other time in our history, Americans are finding themselves overwhelmed by debt:

  • Mortgage debt
  • Credit card debt
  • Medical debt
  • Debt from job loss or underemployment

And the stress we feel from carrying this weight is damaging our families, our quality of life, even our health. Too many of us feel powerless to fix our debt problems. The good news? We’re not powerless at all! Filing for bankruptcy in Florida may be the answer for
you.

A My Fresh Start Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan can end that stress and put you on the path to financial independence. As thousands of My Fresh Start clients already know — there’s no feeling in the world as empowering as the feeling of getting out of debt.

A My Fresh Start bankruptcy plan can help you get your life back.

About bankruptcy

When you file for bankruptcy in Florida , you’re making the decision to take back control of your finances AND your future. Not sure if your case fits the bill? Schedule an appointment with My Fresh Start for a free debt analysis of your case. Our attorneys sit down with you one-on-one to walk you through your options.

Bankruptcy is helping millions of Americans

MMore Americans are getting debt relief under the bankruptcy laws every day. You probably have friends, relatives and co-workers among them. The My Fresh Start bankruptcy law firm has helped thousands of people save their homes, eliminate debt and get a fresh start — a second chance to realize your financial dreams.

Is bankruptcy the right tool for me?

Are you behind with your mortgage payments or facing foreclosure? Paying the minimum on your credit cards? Getting hassled by bill collectors? Is your debt situation always on your mind? Are you having trouble sleeping? Is it realistic to expect that you’ll
ever be able to get out of debt without help?

Be honest now. Do these sound like the problems you face? If so, you owe it to yourself to learn more about the one legal tool that was created to solve your problem — personal bankruptcy. Denying debt trouble and putting off action only make things worse and cause you more pain. A My Fresh Start Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be your key to a brighter future.

But you can only find out for sure if a bankruptcy plan is the right plan for you by meeting with a professional. That’s why My Fresh Start offers our free debt analysis — a personal, one-on-one meeting with a My Fresh Start bankruptcy attorney.

Will filing for bankruptcy wreck my credit?

A better question might be, “How’s my credit now?” If you’re struggling to make ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck, using credit cards to fill in the gaps and robbing Peter to pay Paul, you probably don’t have any credit left to wreck!

The truth is, because filing for bankruptcy eliminates your debts, your credit actually improves after bankruptcy. And while it’s also true that a bankruptcy stays in your credit file for 10 years, a bankruptcy will not prevent you from getting credit. In fact, most My Fresh Start clients receive offers for credit cards, car loans and mortgages almost immediately after their bankruptcy discharge.

Will I lose everything I own if I file for bankruptcy?

No! In fact, most My Fresh Start clients don’t lose anything when they file for bankruptcy. Each state has a list of bankruptcy exemptions, items of value not considered part of the bankruptcy proceedings. In other words — items you get to keep. There are exemptions for real estate, vehicles, retirement plans, tools of the trade, personal possessions and many other things.

What about debt consolidation, settlement or counseling? Shouldn’t I try those before filing for bankruptcy?

Many of our clients have paid a high price to discover a basic truth about all the other popular debt relief solutions — they just don’t work. And in the case of debt settlement companies, their own industry data shows that debt settlement companies fail to settle 80 percent of the debts they take on.

What separates bankruptcy from the other debt relief options?

Bankruptcy works!

Will my creditors really stop calling me?

You bet they will — or else! As soon as My Fresh Start files your bankruptcy case, the court issues what’s known as an automatic stay — a court order that stops all collection action against you. Foreclosure, repossession and lawsuits must immediately stop. In fact, your creditors are no longer even allowed to contact you directly. They can only go through your My Fresh Start attorney. Any violation of the automatic stay is taken very seriously by the court and is punishable with substantial fines and damages.

Learn about Chapter 7 bankruptcy

Need to eliminate credit card debt, IRS debt, medical expenses or other unsecured debt and don’t have major assets such as a house to protect? Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy could be a good plan for you.

Learn about Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Are you behind on your mortgage payments or facing foreclosure? Are you looking to set up a way to repay your debts on a schedule you can live with? Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy stops foreclosure and reduces or eliminates other debts, allowing you to pay remaining debt in a timeframe of three to five years. At My Fresh Start , most of our debt relief filings are Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans.

Don’t spend one more day in debt. Make the first move and talk to a bankruptcy lawyer about your bankruptcy options.

Do you have questions about bankruptcy? Call 312-913-0630 today!

If you want to learn more about filing for bankruptcy and whether a My Fresh Start bankruptcy plan is the right debt relief solution for you, take a few minutes and look around our bankruptcy web site. Watch our debt relief videos, and learn how to avoid predatory lending scams and debt relief programs that don’t work. Read the My Fresh Start  Bankruptcy Blog — and keep up with all the latest credit and debt news affecting our communities. Attend our next free Atlanta Financial Workshop or Florida Financial Workshop — evenings of fun, food and financial empowerment.

But the best way to find out if bankruptcy debt relief is right for you is by taking advantage of My Fresh Start free debt analysis, a personal, one-on-one meeting with an experienced bankruptcy attorney at a My Fresh Start location near you. My Fresh Start bankruptcy lawyers are true debt relief professionals, among the most successful bankruptcy attorneys in the country.

You already know if you’re carrying too much debt
  • Facing foreclosure? Behind on your mortgage?
  • Having trouble making minimum credit card payments?
  • Behind on your car payments? Facing repossession?
  • Having your wages garnished?
  • Falling behind on title or payday loans? Rent to own contracts?
  • Buried in uncovered medical expenses?
  • Living paycheck to paycheck?
  • Struggling because of job loss or underemployment?
Let My Fresh Start help you eliminate debt and start fresh

If you answered yes to any of these questions, a My Fresh Start Chapter 7 bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be the best answer for you. A My Fresh Start bankruptcy plan can get you out of debt.

Stop Foreclosure and Save Your Home with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Choice #2 (the one that works!): File a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a choice with the power of law behind it. In fact, it’s backed by the highest law of the land, the U.S. Constitution. Article 1, Section 8, Clause 4 authorizes Congress to create uniform Laws on the subject of Bankruptcies throughout
the United States. Title 11 of the U.S. Code is commonly known as the Bankruptcy Code and protects your constitutional right to relief through bankruptcy. The general rules on foreclosure in Florida are:

The general rules on foreclosure in New York are:
  • (f) Usually Requires a 120-Day Pre-foreclosure Period Federal Law
  • (g) Typically Judicial
  • (h) Redemption allowed
  • (i) Reinstatement after 90 days (plus 45 additional)

But…

The minute you file Chapter 13, all of the following happens — every time:
    • 5. The foreclosure process stops immediately.
    • 6. An automatic stay goes into effect. This is a court order preventing your creditors from contacting you about your debts. So, there will be no more harassing phone calls, letters or repossessions.
    • 7. Your My Fresh Start attorney helps work out a repayment plan that allows you to make monthly payments — payments you can afford — over a three-year period directly to the court. Usually this means that your non-mortgage debts are greatly reduced. In many cases, your non-mortgage debts are eliminated completely.
    • 8. With your monthly obligations so much lower, you can again afford to make mortgage payments and keep your home.

What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 is your right as a U.S. citizen!

Chapter 13 refers to the section of U.S. bankruptcy code that allows for individual debt adjustment.

Many people automatically think of liquidation when they think of bankruptcy. But Chapter 13 doesn’t require you to give up a thing. Just the opposite — it’s one of the most effective ways to protect your belongings.

Chapter 7 — the other bankruptcy type commonly used for individuals — sometimes (though not always) requires that you give up certain assets in exchange for discharge of your debt. However, in Florida , Chapter 13 bankruptcy law allows you to keep your house and other possessions while you make debt payments over a three-to-five-year period.

During this payment process, known as debt reorganization, you can lower most or all of your non-mortgage debt payments so you can afford to make current house payments while you gradually catch up on delinquent ones. Best of all, you get to set your own rate. With the help of your bankruptcy lawyer, you develop and submit an affordable repayment schedule that meets your needs.

Chapter 13 — the guaranteed way to stop foreclosure and other repossessions!

The most appealing feature of Chapter 13 is the automatic stay, a court order that protects you from creditor actions beginning the moment you file. That means no foreclosure, debt collections, lawsuits or wage garnishments.

With your new plan, most of your debt is reduced, rescheduled and consolidated. In fact, you don’t have to deal with creditors, period. Under Chapter 13, your attorney and bankruptcy trustee handle the dirty work for you.

Chapter 13 — the guaranteed way to stop foreclosure and other repossessions!

What Happens in Chapter 11 Bankruptcy?

AUG 21, 20015:29 PM

The discount retailer Ames has filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. What happens when a company files for Chapter 11?

The U.S. Bankruptcy Code spells out the different types of bankruptcy, which are known by the chapter of the code in which they appear. Individuals who go broke generally file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves liquidating a debtor’s property and distributing the proceeds to creditors. Floundering businesses typically use Chapter 11 bankruptcy, also known as “reorganization” bankruptcy. During a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, businesses usually retain possession and control of their assets under the supervision of a bankruptcy court.

Filing for Chapter 11 suspends all judgments, collection activities, foreclosures, and repossessions of property against the filing business. This gives it time to negotiate with its creditors. The company’s creditors are not allowed to pursue debts or claims that arose before the bankruptcy petition was filed.

The business must file a written disclosure statement and a plan of reorganization with the bankruptcy court. The disclosure statement contains information about the company’s assets, liabilities, and business affairs, and the reorganization plan includes a discussion of how the company will handle the claims against it.

The company’s creditors participate in the bankruptcy proceedings. A creditors’ committee, usually consisting of those holding the seven largest unsecured claims against the company, can investigate the company’s conduct and its business operations, and the committee can help
formulate the reorganization plan. The creditors can question the company under oath during what is called a “section 341 meeting” (after the relevant section of the bankruptcy code). Creditors can also file motions to convert the bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 liquidation or to dismiss the case.

For 120 days after filing for Chapter 11, the business has the exclusive right to file a reorganization plan, and the business has 180 days to persuade creditors to accept its plan. If the company misses those deadlines, creditors can file their own reorganization plans.

Once the creditors have accepted a reorganization plan (either the company’s plan or a competing plan), the bankruptcy court confirms that the plan is feasible and proposed in good faith. The plan’s confirmation discharges the company from its old debts, but the company is
bound by the plan to make payments to its creditors.