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Should I File For Bankruptcy? An Orlando Lawyer’s Guide

Choosing whether you should file for bankruptcy is a major decision in your life since it will have an impact on your credit and finances for many years into the future. While over the past few years the number of filed bankruptcies has dropped, over 700,000 people filed in 2019 in the USA, which shows that it’s still a common course of action.

Orlando has its own fair share of filed bankruptcies. In 2018 alone there were 1203 Chapter 7  bankruptcies filed in Orlando’s bankruptcy court, as well as 529 Chapter 13 cases and 26 Chapter 11 cases. So, how can you decide whether filing for bankruptcy is the right choice for you?

If you’re feeling as if your debt or bills are too much to handle at the present time, it’s something that you’re probably considering.

Here are some questions to ask yourself

Is Bankruptcy Going To Help My Situation?

This may appear to be an obvious question, yet you have to be completely certain that the place you’ll find yourself in after you’ve declared bankruptcy will be better than the place that you’re in now.

Bankruptcy has a serious impact on many elements of your daily life, so you need to be certain you know your goals and what you need to accomplish in your life after bankruptcy should this be the route you choose to go down.

Is There A Different Option?

Since bankruptcy has such an impact on your long-term finances, it should really only be used as a last resort. Before you declare bankruptcy, consider whether there’s another way of getting out of your current financial situation. Could you possibly get a second job? Work longer hours? Reduce your living expenses? Refinance your debts? Create and stick to a lower budget? If the answer to all of these questions is no, then bankruptcy could be the right choice for you.

There are some alternatives to bankruptcy – debt consolidation, selling property, restricting your mortgage, borrowing some money from friends or family – however if you try to avoid bankruptcy using any of these options and get it wrong you could end up worse than if you’d filed. In fact, many people who file for bankruptcy see improvements in their credit scores more quickly than those who tried to bring their debt level debt without going to court.

Will I Qualify For Bankruptcy?

Not everyone is eligible to file for bankruptcy. Eligibility heavily depends on your income and how much debt you have. Most bankruptcy filings in the USA are Chapter 7 bankruptcies. This is because the process is shorter at just 3 – 6 months, involving liquidating some property to pay off debts while most debts of other types are eradicated. If you have an income that doesn’t come close to pay your debt obligations, you may find Chapter 7 a good choice. An online means test for bankruptcy will help to determine whether you can qualify. Of course, you’ll find your credit score takes a severe hit that will take years to build back up, however, if you’ll be in a better place after you’ve filed for bankruptcy, it could be worth it. The Chapter 13 process is much longer at 3 – 5 years. It is an option for people who have sufficient income to pay off their debts but need more time to do so. Chapter 13 bankruptcy delays foreclosures and debts so you have more time to make your payments.

What Else To Consider?

Before embarking on a bankruptcy process, you should consider a few other things. Which debts are going to be paid off? Will following the process be worth it in the end? What will happen when you’ve filed for bankruptcy in Orlando? What happens to your home and property? How do you even go about filing? It couldn’t be more important to get legal advice, and Suncoast Law Orlando’s bankruptcy lawyer can help you to make this difficult decision.

With the right lawyer on side, you can make a well-informed choice about whether filing for bankruptcy in Florida is really the right option to meet your needs.

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