Chapter 7

What is a Chapter 7?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy involves the liquidation of all of an individual’s non exempt assets in order to satisfy the claims of creditors. The successful completion of a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will result in a discharge on the individual’s debt. Once discharged, the individual cannot be compelled to repay the debts and no action can be taken to collect the debt.

Once we file your case, the automatic stay protection is immediately invoked. The automatic stay will stop any further collection activities against you. This means your creditors must stop sending you letters or making harassing phone calls. If any lawsuits have been filed (including foreclosure), they will immediately stayed or postponed.

Can I keep any of my property under a Chapter 7?

In many cases, debtors can keep their vehicles and homes, provided there is not excess equity above governing exemption laws. The Chapter 7 Trustee is entitled to take possession and ownership of all the debtors property that is “non-exempt.” Non-exempt property is defined to include all assets of the debtor that cannot be claimed as exempt under governing exemption law. Florida, like a host of other states, does not allow residents to use the federal bankruptcy exemptions. Instead, Florida requires its residents to use the Florida bankruptcy exemptions. Fortunately for Floridians, Florida’s bankruptcy exemptions are widely regarded as being favorable to its residents. Florida bankruptcy exemptions include unlimited exemptions for homestead, annuities, and the cash surrender value of a life insurance policy.

However, it should be noted that mortgage liens on the real estate remain valid in a Chapter 7. In the even that the debtor defaults on a mortgage payment the lender has the right to petition the Bankruptcy Court for relief from the automatic stay and receive permission to foreclose against the real estate.

How is my credit score affected by a Chapter 7?

Filing a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy allows a debtor to get a fresh start and begin rebuilding credit immediately after filing. For some clients their credit actually improves due to filing bankruptcy because they can eliminate debts, improve their debt-to-income ration and become more attractive to lenders.

Will Chapter 7 work for me?

Chapter 7 works extremely well for individuals with limited disposable income or individuals that do not have non-exempt assets. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can be a great option for debtors with large amounts of “unsecured” debts such as credit cards and medical bills.

How much does Mearkle | Trueblood | Adam charge to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy in Jacksonville?

Our Jacksonville bankruptcy attorneys’ fees for filing a simple personal chapter 7 begin at $1,250 and may increase from there depending on the complexity of the case and your individual financial circumstances. The Bankruptcy Court charges a filing fee of $306. In addition, all debtors are requited to complete a credit counseling course prior to filing the bankruptcy. The fee for the credit counseling course is approximately $40. We also recommend all clients obtain an updated credit report prior to filing a chapter 7 at a cost of $43.

Can the Jacksonville Chapter 7 attorneys’ fee be paid in installments?

Yes. With our new Quick 7 program, we can divide our services into pre-petition and post-petition bankruptcy services.  First, the client signs a pre-petition engagement contract. We will charge a flat fee of $250 plus costs to counsel the client and file the chapter 7 case. Then, after the case is filed, the client executes a separate engagement contract to continue to employ the firm for post-petition bankruptcy services. The post-petition bankruptcy services are paid through monthly installments of $250 which are automatically withdrawn from the client’s bank account.