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.

Fort Lauderdale

754-332-2101

Miami

305-399-3832

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Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

Those who are unfamiliar with the details of bankruptcy, which typically includes anyone who has not filed for bankruptcy, may incorrectly believe that all of your debts disappear upon filing. While bankruptcy is meant to help rid you of significant debt, the process will still require you to pay off most of your debts. The details of this financial breakdown vary depending on the type of bankruptcy that you file as well as the depth of your debts. Many filers do, however, get some form of a break, known as a discharge. Before moving forward with the bankruptcy filing process, it is important to understand what exactly you are responsible for and which of your debts will be forgiven without full repayment.

What Is a Bankruptcy Discharge?

A bankruptcy discharge is a legal term for debt forgiveness. In other words, a discharge releases a debtor from personal liability for a number of specified debts, not requiring him or her to pay back the discharged debts. A discharge is a permanent legal order that restricts the debtor’s creditors from taking action to obtain money for the outstanding debts. A bankruptcy discharge does not, however, cancel out any liens that a creditor may have against a property, meaning that a creditor is still able to enforce a lien and recover the associated property.

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Surfside bankruptcy attorney

For most people facing financial difficulties, the thought of filing for bankruptcy can seem out of reach. You keep thinking, “This will be the month where I get things together,” then find yourself hit with another round of unforeseen expenses. This cycle can go on for months, or even years, before people start to seriously consider filing for bankruptcy. There is a reason for this—no one actively chooses bankruptcy until it is the very last option—but this denial can allow your debt to continue building until it feels insurmountable. As a result of COVID-19, many Americans are facing the possibility of bankruptcy, which is why it is important to have the following considerations in mind before moving forward with this legal process.

Reasons You Should Consider Bankruptcy

As previously mentioned, many people do not realize that they are on the verge of bankruptcy, or that their situation is a common reason why others file for bankruptcy. If you are in the middle of any of the following scenarios, filing for bankruptcy can be a common remedy:

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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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