The Elliot Legal Group, P.A. Offices | Fort Lauderdale and Miami

3101 N. Federal Hwy., Suite 609,
Oakland Park, Florida 33306

*Licensed in England and Wales, Florida and Washington D.C.

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Fort Lauderdale

754-332-2101

Miami

305-399-3832

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Surfside bankruptcy attorney

Due to the financial impact of COVID-19 on individual families and the economy as a whole, governors across the country put up protections against evictions and foreclosures. Now seven months into the pandemic, states have begun allowing these eviction and foreclosure moratoriums to expire, Florida included. Governor Ron DeSantis’ moratorium expired on October 1, leaving many Floridians panicked about how they will make ends meet. You may be concerned about your family’s financial well-being, feeling as if you are on the brink of bankruptcy. Luckily, financial assistance is available and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have picked up where some of the states left off.

Affordable Housing Coronavirus Relief Initiative

In late June, Gov. DeSantis announced $250 million in CARES Act funding would be used as rental and mortgage assistance for families who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19. Known as the Affordable Housing Coronavirus Relief Initiative, the large sum of $250 million has been divided into two even pools. One was administered by the Florida Housing Finance Corporation (FHFC) as short-term rental assistance and the other half was released to counties throughout the state based on its reemployment assistance rate. According to the official press release, this second $120 million will be used for rental and homeowner assistance programs such as rehabilitation, new construction, mortgage buydowns, and more for those who have been impacted by COVID-19. The FHFC has information about the progress of the program.

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Posted on in Bankruptcy

Surfside bankruptcy attorney

Finding yourself drowning in debt is never the place that anyone expects to see themselves a few years down the road. Unfortunately, life can serve you with unforeseen circumstances—an ongoing illness that requires regular treatment or the loss of a job and regular income—and you can quickly see your debts piling up. Filing for bankruptcy is often people’s last resort; however, you may come to the realization that you actually do not qualify for bankruptcy. Depending on a number of factors, you may or may not be able to take this route when trying to get your finances under control. While it is always best to consult a bankruptcy attorney to know for sure, you may conduct your own financial analysis first to determine whether or not filing for bankruptcy is an option for you.

Passing the Means Test

There are two common ways to file for bankruptcy: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of your assets, then using these liquidated funds to pay off your debts. Not all assets are eligible, allowing you to keep a number of your assets in the process. Chapter 7 bankruptcy provides you with a financial fresh start once the legal process is complete. Sounds like a great option, right? While this type of bankruptcy is helpful for many families, not everyone qualifies to use its benefits. In 2005, a means test was created in order to make it more difficult for wealthy consumers to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The test uses Florida’s median family income for your household size as an indicator of your eligibility. In 2018, this income threshold totaled to $53,267 per household. In other words, if your household makes less than this amount, you automatically qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If, however, your household has a combined income that is higher than this amount, you will need to follow additional steps to determine your eligibility. 

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Dania Beach bankruptcy attorney

It is no secret that the economy has taken a significant hit from the COVID-19 pandemic. As stay-at-home orders initially went into effect back in March, the unpredictability of the virus has many restaurants and other businesses slowly opening as cases fall, only to reel back their services as cases rise again. The uncertainty regarding when things will go back to normal has forced many American businesses to make tough decisions about their workforce, including filing for bankruptcy. Although the entire country has taken a hit from COVID-19, Floridians are seeing some of the most significant financial distress in the country.

Looking at the Numbers

WalletHub conducted an economic analysis of all 50 states to determine who has been hit especially hard by the pandemic. According to their research, Florida ranks as the fifth-worst state when looking at the financial situation of its residents. The analysis was done by looking at credit scores; the number of people whose financial accounts are in forbearance or have deferred payments; the change in the number of bankruptcies filed in January versus July; and search trends for the term “bankruptcy” within that state. It was found that approximately 1.16 million Floridians were unemployed in July, resulting in an 11.5 percent unemployment rate for the state. The location for most of these unemployment numbers? The Miami-Ft. Lauderdale-West Palm Beach metro area with just over 402,000 residents unemployed that same month.

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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

When your credit card bills begin to build up and your pockets are feeling empty, you may be unsure of how to handle the situation. Debt can accumulate quickly, and without additional income coming in, you may not be able to pay off your debts by the date that your creditors are requesting. Filing for bankruptcy may be in the back of your mind, but you are likely considering your other options before fully making your decision. There are a number of bankruptcy alternatives, many of which do not fully solve your problems. Debt settlement companies are often considered by those who are deeply in debt and are avoiding filing for bankruptcy. While you may be avoiding bankruptcy, the risks of debt settlement companies are rarely worth taking.

What Is a Debt Settlement Company?

Debt settlement companies have the same goal as bankruptcy -- helping you rid yourself of insurmountable debt. However, these debt settlement programs are typically for-profit companies. The company or program will attempt to negotiate with your creditors to allow you to pay a “settlement” to resolve your debt. This settlement will typically be a lump sum payment that is less than the total amount that you owe. In order to build up this lump sum, the company will request that you set aside money each month into an account that holds your funds for paying off your debt. This savings account will eventually build up to the settlement that the company negotiated for you and you will pay off the debt with that saved money.

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Surfside bankruptcy attorney asset protection

Everyone’s biggest fear with filing for bankruptcy is losing everything -- your house, vehicles, savings, and more. What many do not know is that filing for bankruptcy does not mean that everything is taken away from you. There are a number of exemptions that Florida allows its residents to keep their assets even after filing for bankruptcy. In order to classify for such exemptions, you must be a Florida resident, not a recently relocated individual. You must have lived in Florida for the past two years to qualify, and if not, you will have to follow your previous state’s exemption requirements. Although it is always best to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer, you should be aware of possible exemptions available to you.

Homestead Exemption

If you are a Florida homeowner, you will likely be able to keep your home after filing for bankruptcy. Most states limit the amount of equity you can have in your house, but Florida is slightly more lenient. As long as you bought and have owned your property 1,215 days (a little less than 3.5 years) before filing, and your property does not exceed a half-acre in size, you qualify for Florida’s homestead exemption.

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