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Does My Recent Move Impact My Ability to File for Bankruptcy?

 Posted on December 30,2020 in Bankruptcy

Sunrise bankruptcy attorney

This past year has been filled with ups and downs, leaving many Americans in financial disarray. Millions have lost their jobs, taken a pay cut, or have had to reduce their spending to survive the ongoing pandemic. Although it may not have seemed like the best time to relocate, many have left large cities or moved to another state to reduce their cost of living and gain the necessary distance from others to avoid contracting COVID-19. If you have relocated to Florida and are still struggling financially, you may be at the point where filing for bankruptcy is one of your only options. Newfound Floridians are still able to file for bankruptcy after relocating, but they should be aware of the implications that their move can have on the legal process.

Beginning the Bankruptcy Process

Depending on how new you are to the state, you may need to wait before filing. Bankruptcy law is federal law, meaning that a federal court will need to hear and review your case. Generally speaking, you are required to have lived in the state where you are filing—in this case, Florida—for at least 91 days. The court will verify your claimed state of residency in your official bankruptcy paperwork, typically through an apartment lease agreement or utility bill, before moving forward with the process. It is a good idea to hold off on filing until you meet this 91-day requirement; otherwise, you may be able to file in your previous state, although this would require significant travel between Florida and your previous home state.

Recognizing Exemptions

The key difference between filing from one state to another is the exemptions that come along with the state you are filing in. Bankruptcy exemptions are the laws that dictate what property you can keep after filing for bankruptcy. Florida offers a wide range of bankruptcy exemptions compared to other states, but you must be a resident of the state for at least 24 months to qualify. The following are the state exemptions allotted to those living and filing in Florida:

  • Homestead exemption: Those who have owned property for longer than 1,215 days get an unlimited exemption on their property. Those who have owned property for less than this time period receive an exemption of $170,350.

  • Automobile exemption: All filers have an exemption of $1,000 on each owned vehicle. Couples who file will receive an exemption of $2,000 on one vehicle and $1,000 on any other owned vehicles. 

  • Personal property exemption: Those who do not benefit from the homestead exemption will be allotted a personal property exemption worth $4,000 that can be used on other owned property.

  • Additional exemptions: Certain financials are also considered exempt in the state of Florida, including IRAs, health savings accounts, workers’ compensation, unemployment benefits and compensation, social security benefits, disability income and benefits, and more.

If these exemptions are critical for you and your family, and you have recently moved to Florida, you may need to hold off on filing until you meet the 24-month requirement. However, discussing your situation with a reputable bankruptcy attorney may shed light on the other benefits or options available to you as a recent Florida resident. This is also true for those who have recently relocated from Florida to another state. By reviewing your current resident state’s bankruptcy statutes, you may be able to file in Florida and receive more exemptions.

Contact a Broward County Bankruptcy Attorney

Have you recently moved to or from Florida with sustained financial hardship? Filing for bankruptcy may be in the back of your mind, but you are likely unsure of what the legal process entails and whether or not you qualify. Elliot Legal Group is dedicated to helping Floridians navigate their most difficult financial circumstances. Our legal team understands how challenging filing for bankruptcy can be, which is why we guide our clients through the process in a compassionate and timely manner. Attorney Elliot can help you determine if you qualify for bankruptcy, what belongings are exempt from the process, and how to use the legal process to get a fresh start. If you are considering filing for bankruptcy in Florida, contact our Fort Lauderdale, FL bankruptcy lawyer today at 754-332-2101 to set up a confidential consultation.




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