Bankruptcy is sometimes viewed as “the easy way out.” But the reality is that sometimes bankruptcy is the only way out. Talia Gahanian has years of experience dealing with people and families in your situation.
At Gahanian Law, PA, we will evaluate your entire financial picture and help you decide if bankruptcy is the right choice for you. Most importantly, we will help you understand the benefits and consequences of filing so that you can make an educated decision. We will treat you with the compassion and understanding that you will not find in many other firms. We know that the decision to file bankruptcy is not an easy one. So we guide our clients through this stressful situation with compassion and caring. Contact our office to schedule a free consultation.
How Does Bankruptcy Work?
Bankruptcy is a powerful tool that can help you rebuild your finances and get a fresh start. There are two primary types of consumer bankruptcy:
- Chapter 7 bankruptcy: sometimes called “fresh start” bankruptcy. This chapter allows people to wipe out the majority of their debt and begin to rebuild their credit with a clean slate.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy: like a debt consolidation, it allows you to pay all your creditors in one payment each month. At the end of the repayment period, you obtain a discharge of the remaining balances on your debts.
Each form of bankruptcy has its own eligibility requirements as well as unique advantages. A Jacksonville FL bankruptcy lawyer at Gahanian Law, PA can help you evaluate your options and determine which chapter of bankruptcy best suits your situation.
However, no matter which chapter of the Bankruptcy Code you select, your filing will trigger a bankruptcy stay. For many of our clients, this stay is a welcome relief and significant benefit. Simply put, once you file for bankruptcy, your creditors and their collection agencies must pause their phone calls, letters, and legal actions — including foreclosure and other money judgments.
Why Should I File Chapter 7 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a relatively fast process that can eliminate much of your unsecured debt, including credit card, note loans, repossessed or voluntarily surrendered vehicle loans and medical bills. Chapter 7 is not for everyone. For instance, you may have assets that you can lose in a Chapter 7. Or, you could be over the income guidelines.
Understanding the Process
For a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must show that you do not have the financial ability to pay your debts. The Bankruptcy code calls for an evaluation of your annual household income and then compares it to Florida’s median income for the same-sized family. This is known as the means test. Many factors can impact your eligibility and the means test requires complex calculations. For this reason, it’s best to consult with a Jacksonville FL bankruptcy lawyer before filing under Chapter 7.
The Role of the Trustee:
Once you determine your eligibility and file the appropriate paperwork, your Chapter 7 bankruptcy case will begin. The court will appoint a bankruptcy trustee who will oversee your case. The Trustee’s job is to review the case for assets and to verify the accuracy of the bankruptcy forms that are submitted to the court.
Both federal and state laws determine which property your creditors can take and which property is protected. The protected property is referred to as exempt. This is a complicated determination that should only be made with the assistance of a competent attorney who focuses on bankruptcy.
Why Should I File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is sometimes referred to as a “reorganization bankruptcy,” and it does not involve the liquidation of your assets and property. You also will not have to pass a means test to qualify under Chapter 13. Instead, you’ll need to show that your debts are under certain thresholds and that you have the ability to make ongoing payments under a Chapter 13 repayment plan.
Once you file for bankruptcy, you will enter into a repayment plan with your creditors. For three to five years, you will make monthly payments that are disbursed to your creditors by the trustee. Once you complete your Chapter 13 payments, the majority of your remaining debt is erased.
Compared to Chapter 7, a reorganization bankruptcy is a slow process that requires the ability to honor the payment plan. If you default on a Chapter 13 payment plan, your creditors may subsequently be able to terminate your automatic stay or the court may dismiss your bankruptcy. If you’re unsure whether Chapter 13 is right for you, contact a Jacksonville FL bankruptcy lawyer at Gahanian Law, PA today.
Can I Eliminate All My Debt During Bankruptcy?
Unfortunately, bankruptcy cannot discharge all debts. While the rules vary depending on which chapter of bankruptcy you’re using, you typically cannot eliminate:
- Unpaid, court-ordered child support and alimony
- Fines, penalties, and restitution from a criminal case
- Certain tax debt
- Judgments from a drunk driving wrongful death claim
Other debts are difficult to discharge unless you can show undue hardship or you qualify for an exemption. These hard-to-discharge debts include student loans.
Talk to a Jacksonville FL Bankruptcy Lawyer Today
At Gahanian Law, PA, we pride ourselves on our compassion, practical advice, and sophisticated debt relief strategies. If you’re struggling with overwhelming debt, contact us today. Consultations are always free, no-risk, and confidential. We can help you understand your bankruptcy options, as well as how you can get started on regaining financial stability.
The Gahanian Approach
About Talia Gahanian
When we meet at your consultation, I am going to take the time to get to know you a bit. But before then, I wanted to take a minute to tell you about myself. I am an bankruptcy lawyer licensed in Florida since 2015 and I practiced for several years in Ohio and was a paralegal before that. And I have been helping people with financial issues for the better part of 17 years. I was drawn to this area of the law because I feel like I can really help people in a major way. Freeing people from a financial bind is often the difference between improving their credit to allow them to buy a house in a few years, or to retire without an overwhelming amount of debt, or to just get back on track after job loss or divorce.
Free Initial Consultation
I don’t charge a fee for the initial consultation. I always feel like my clients come to me with financial problems, I don’t want to add to the financial burden if I can’t help them. That said, oftentimes I meet with people who don’t need my help or who are capable of handling the matter on their own. In those cases, I tend to give them a bit of advice on how to best handle the matter — what is going to happen next, what to watch out for — and send them on their way.
The legal system in the United States can be intimidating. I help my clients navigate the system to achieve the best possible outcome for them. Each client is an individual and I dedicate time to get to know each one. If you decide to allow me to represent you, I assure you I am always reachable to my clients.
I am looking forward to meeting you at our appointment. I am sure that I will be able to help you. And if not, then I am sure you will at least gain a bit of free legal guidance and peace of mind.