The Melbourne Florida Bankruptcy Attorney at the Bowin Law Group has consulted thousands of Brevard families looking for information on whether filing bankruptcy is right for their family. Many people are surprised to learn how a bankruptcy can improve their financial situation and help them to regain their peace of mind. Most people know that bankruptcy can eliminate a lot of your debt, but what else can it do? What type of person would benefit from filing? This blog aims to answer those questions. For more detiled information on bankruptcy, click one of the tabs to the left, or click one of the following links:
Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
What can bankruptcy do besides eliminate debt? The first and most immediate relief you get from filing bankruptcy is the relief from creditors' harrassing phone calls. Creditor harrassment has become an awful reality for a great number of Melbourne, Florida residents. I often say that debt collectors are a different breed of human. I know everyone has a job to do, but some of the more aggressive debt collectors seem to take a special pride in being as nasty and rude as they can to the people they call. They know that the more harrassing they are, the more likely you are to pay them money. They don't care that you lost your job or were hospitalized for a critical illness or accident. They don't even care if you can afford groceries. All they care about is bringing in as much money as they can to get their bonus at the end of the month. Of course, there are federal laws that prohibit them from being abusive, but the collectors feel free to ignore those laws because they believe you can't afford an attorney to do anything about it. Even if you do sue them, the damages you recover are likely to be minimal. For the most part, outside of bankruptcy, there is not much to stop them from harrassing you, your family, your employer or anyone else they can get ahold of. Hey, it's there job.
This is where bankruptcy can provide extraordinary relief. Immediately upon filing a bankruptcy, whether Chapter 7 Bankruptcy or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the Bankruptcy Codes provides a federal injunction against all of your creditors' collection efforts. The creditor can no longer call you, send you collection letters or sue you. If they have started to sue you then they have to stop. In most case, especially in most Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases, you will never hear from those creditors again. This federal injunction is called the "Automatic Stay". Unlike other federal debt collection laws, the Automatic Atay has teeth. If the creditor makes any attempt to collect the debt, even reporting negative credit to the credit bureaus, the debtor can sue the creditor in federal bankruptcy court and receive meaningful amounts of money. The Automatic Stay is one federal debt collection law the creditors will not violate. From the moment you file, you can breathe easy knowing that there is nothing the creditor can ever do to you again. You will actually be able to get a good night sleep without lying awake worrying about whether your wages or bank account will be garnsihed or whether your personal property will be seized. From the very moment of filing, the game is over for the creditor. Pretty cool, huh?
What type of person would benefit from filing bankruptcy? Anyone who has a substantial amount of credit card debt, medical debt, unsecured loans, personal signature loans, and substantial mortgage debt should consider consulting an attorney about bankruptcy. Both Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy can eliminate all of these debts.
The public perception in years past is that bankruptcy is for deadbeats who are trying to escape responsibility for debts they intentionally ran up beyond any reasonable means of paying them back. Today, nothing can be farther from the truth. In fact, the majority of my clients are local Melbourne, Florida families who, 2 or 3 years ago, would have never considered filing a bankruptcy. Until recently, they never missed a payment on anything in their life. But like many, they got caught in the economic downturn and their financial situation spun out of control. First, one of the parents loses a job or a substantial amount of income. After the loss of income, they can no longer afford their mortage. But unlike years past when you could just refinance your mortage to a lower payment, their home value was cut in half and now the banks won't even consider re-financing. So now they are stuck in a mortage they can't afford in a home that is worth half of what they owe. Add to that the credit card debt that piled up during their unemployment, and the family quickly finds themselves in a hole they cannot get out of. Now if the bank files a foreclosure, not only can they take the home, but they can also sue the homeowner personally for the loan balance remaining after the sale of the home, which is often in the $50 - $100k plus territory. With a salary of half that, there is no feasible chance the family will be able to pay that debt in their lifetime. They feel trapped and have no idea what to do.
This is a scenario I see way too often. But this is only one example. There are many reasons why good people get into bad debt situations. If you are having debt problems, instead of feeling ashamed, know that you have options to take control of your debt situation and get your family's debt situation back in stable condition. Bankruptcy is not a crime, and is definitely nothing to be ashamed of. It's a very powerful legal remedy to get your life back on track. Through bankruptcy, the homeowner can discharge all their medical and credit card debt, as well as eliminate their mortgage debt and perhaps modify the mortgage on their home. They can often come away from a bankruptcy with lower monthly payments and a new lease on life. After they file bankruptcy, many of them talk with their friends about their experience only to realize that their friend has already been through it. When you consider that nearly 30% of mortgages are in default, you come to realize that a good number of the people you know (friends, co-workers, bosses, etc) are in the exact same boat as you. Financial crisis affects all walks of life and all income brackets. We've assisted lawyers, doctors, and even bona fide rocket scientists. Even Donald Trump filed bankruptcy...TWICE! (although we did not represent him)
Bottom line - don't be ashamed to talk about your debt situation. Contact your attorney to discuss if bankruptcy or some other debt relief option is available to you. If you don't have any attorney, contact my office and ask for a free 1 on 1 confidential bankruptcy consult. You may be surprised what you learn.
Bowin Law Group - Brevard's Hometown Law Group
Melbourne Florida Bankruptcy Attorneys