Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney: Bankruptcy Basics Explained

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your past due credit card bills, a credit card lawsuit judgment, mortgage foreclosure, car repossession or any other financial situation that is robbing you of your peace of mind - debt relief is available to you.  Bankruptcy in Fort Lauderdale is a powerful tool to get rid of credit card debt while keeping your assets in the majority of cases.  You can't go by what you hear from well-meaning friends and family or the creditors themselves.  Friends and families mean well but are sometimes misinformed and creditors will outright lie to you so you don't find out about the power of bankruptcy in Pembroke Pines to free you from their grip.  You have to invest the time to find out if bankruptcy is your key to starting over again and renewing hope and happiness in your life.  You are worth the investment of time and energy into finding out.  That is my message to everyone in Broward County who is feeling the weight and stress of financial pressure.  I can help and there is where my passion lies - helping good people through bad times.  This is a small law firm with a commitment to treat every case as if it were our own.  At the Bankruptcy Law Firm of Orfelia Mayor, we care about you, we care about the outcome of your case, we care about being honest in everything we say and do.

If you are wondering whether filing bankruptcy is right for you?  You're not alone.  No one wants to file bankruptcy in Broward County. The only reason people consider filing bankruptcy in Fort Lauderdale or Pembroke Pines is to get a fresh start and regain their peace of mind. If you’re reading this, it may be because you are going through financial difficulty and looking for a debt relief solution.  If you’ve gotten to the point where all you can think about is stopping the harassing creditor phone calls, credit card lawsuits, wage garnishments, mortgage foreclosure or car repo – you’ve come to the right place. At the Bankruptcy Law Firm of Orfelia Mayor, we are here to expose the bankruptcy myths and give you honest answers about filing bankruptcy in Miramar, Sunrise or Weston.  We can show you how to take advantage of the solutions available in bankruptcy to get you back on your feet quickly and then rebuild your credit after filing bankruptcy.  Our focus is always on facilitating the bankruptcy process so it’s efficient and we analyze your unique financial situation to make sure that your case will conclude with minimal stress. After all, you already have stress in your life – we’re here to help you get rid of it! We are committed to helping good people through these difficult times. We use technology as much as possible to make things easy and keep you informed.

Ft Lauderdale Bankruptcy Overview

There are a lot of bankruptcy myths that have made the rounds over time.  Creditors like to make bankruptcy sound like the worst thing that anyone can ever do – and for them, it is.  The bankruptcy automatic stay will stop debt collectors from harassing you on the day you file bankruptcy.  Creditors also like to make you think that your credit score is a reflection of who you are and your personal worth - but it's really not. The reality is that your credit score is just a snapshot of a point in time that could be good yesterday, bad today and great again tomorrow.  In fact, those same creditors will be offering you credit again very soon after your Chapter 7 bankruptcy closes.

Creditors hate it when you talk to a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy attorney because you then find out that bankruptcy laws are designed to give you a fresh start and stop them from harassing you,  Creditors don't want you to know that an emergency bankruptcy petition can be filed quickly and will immediately stop wage garnishment and stop a foreclosure sale quickly.  If you are behind on car payments, filing bankruptcy will stop a car repossession and give you an opportunity to catch up on your payments. And, they also don’t want you to know that they will also welcome you back with open arms as you rebuild your credit. I say this from experience as a Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy attorney. During the last recession, we helped many Fort Lauderdale and Broward County residents find peace and financial success by using the power of bankruptcy laws to get rid of delinquent IRS taxes, medical bills and overwhelming credit card debt.  Finding a good bankruptcy attorney may be the hardest part of getting debt relief.  But if you have an emergency situation that needs a quick bankruptcy filing - we are your bankruptcy law firm.

The bankruptcy process has 7 steps:

  1. Find a good bankruptcy attorney to handle your case. They will make sure you pass the Bankruptcy Means Test.
  2. Collect the necessary documents and fill out the bankruptcy questionnaire.
  3. Take the pre-filing credit counseling course online.
  4. File the bankruptcy petition.
  5. Attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors.
  6. Take the second bankruptcy financial education course online.
  7. Wait for your bankruptcy Order of Discharge.

Chapter 7 And Chapter 13 Are The Two Most Commonly Used Bankruptcy Chapters

There are two consumer bankruptcy chapters: Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. In both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13, a trustee is assigned to the case to review the documents, verify the accuracy and truthfulness of the documents and take the appropriate steps to conclude the case. It is important to note that in both bankruptcy chapters, creditors will receive the value of whatever unprotected assets you have. The difference is that in a Chapter 7, the trustee assigned to the case will either sell the asset or give you an opportunity to buy it back from the bankruptcy estate. The challenge with a Chapter 7 is that if you have assets that couldn't be protected with Florida bankruptcy exemptions and you want to keep, you must pay the trustee the value in one lump sum. That’s a little difficult for most people. In a Chapter 13, you still have to pay the value of your unprotected assets to the trustee but you can do it over time through a 36 or 60 month payment plan to the Trustee. A Fort Lauderdale Chapter 13 can sometimes be likened to a Chapter 7 with a payment plan. Both bankruptcy chapters offer unique advantages that are dependent on your individual situation.

Fort Lauderdale Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 is known as the “liquidation” bankruptcy chapter. It’s usually referred to as a liquidating bankruptcy because the trustee assigned to the case will liquidate unprotected assets for the benefit of the creditors. Chapter 7 bankruptcy is also a very straightforward bankruptcy that doesn’t provide many benefits other than eliminating consumer debt. In a Chapter 7, we can stop a mortgage foreclosure, eliminate credit card and installment debt and get a fresh start, but after the case is closed, the mortgage foreclosure resumes. If you want to save your home, you do have the option of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. In Fort Lauderdale, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy will normally take anywhere from 4 to 6 months from the date it’s filed to the date you receive your discharge assuming everything goes well. Depending on your individual situation, not all debts may be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy - but for the overwhelming majority of our clients, all debts are wiped out.

A good and experienced bankruptcy attorney to thoroughly review all Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings prior to filing to ensure as smooth an experience as possible. Quite frankly, if we feel that filing a Chapter 7 has a good chance of turning into a nightmare, we will strongly recommend that you either wait to file (if waiting eliminates the problem) or file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead.  Our goal is to provide a stress-free bankruptcy experience and our many years of experience has confirmed that paying attention to details and getting it right from the beginning provides the best chance for that to happen.  As stated earlier, if we anticipate that your Ft. Lauderdale Chapter 7 bankruptcy case may have some “wrinkles” – we let you know beforehand and we also discuss the options available in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It’s important to know that you may lose unprotected assets in a Chapter 7– but you always have the option of keeping them by paying the trustee for the assets in a lump sum or by filing a Chapter 13 and paying over time. We give you all the details so you can make an informed decision. You don’t like surprises and neither do we!

No Money? No Problem! – Fort Lauderdale Zero-Money-Down-Chapter-7-Bankruptcy Allows You to File Bankruptcy Quickly

You are coming to see a Ft. Lauderdale bankruptcy lawyer because you are struggling financially. We get that. That’s why we offer many different and affordable bankruptcy payment options if you qualify for a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Our Chapter 7 payment options have qualifications also but most people will find that they qualify for one of them.

Our firm is committed to being the most affordable bankruptcy lawyer in Fort Lauderdale. You will definitely find other bankruptcy attorneys in Ft. Lauderdale that are cheaper – but if you need to file Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy quickly and you don’t have the money, it doesn’t matter how cheap a bankruptcy attorney is – it’s not affordable! We allow you to file bankruptcy quickly with affordable terms while providing excellent customer service and extra value such as free enrollment in a credit rebuilding program after you file. I can assure you that other Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy lawyers are not happy that we offer zero-money-down Broward County Chapter 7 bankruptcies but we are committed to providing access to debt relief when you need it.

Ft Lauderdale Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is known as the “reorganization” bankruptcy chapter.  In Fort Lauderdale, a Chapter 13 is the best bankruptcy chapter to file under if you want to stop a mortgage foreclosure and try to keep the home. A chapter 13 also offers the most affordable way to keep unprotected assets, reduce the balance of your auto loan to the value of your car on the filing date, cram down rental property to what it is worth and pay it off through your plan (if possible) eliminate or reduce IRS debt, catch up with any delinquent payments such as condo associations and many other benefits that can help you get your financial life back in order. Attorney fees can be incorporated into the affordable monthly payment plan. I’ve often referred to Chapter 13 as a Chapter 7 with a payment plan and in some cases, it provides better options for your fresh start.

Small Business Bankruptcy (SBRA)

If you own a small business and have ever thought about reorganizing under a Chapter 11 bankruptcy, you probably found out quickly that a Chapter 11 bankruptcy is extremely expensive. Although we read about Fort Lauderdale Chapter 11 bankruptcies daily, it’s usually larger businesses that can afford the legal fees and as a result, most small businesses have historically been unable to avail themselves to a fresh start. In response to the growing need of small businesses, the Small Business Reorganization Act (SBRA) went into effect in February 2020.

Before SBRA, a small business owner was either priced out of a Chapter 11 reorganization or had to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy which led to a liquidation of the business and a sale of business assets. If you are hoping to save your business, keep control of it and reorganize your debt, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy is not an option.

Under the SBRA amendments to Chapter 11, small businesses in Broward County experiencing financial difficulty can opt into the SBRA and take advantage of the streamlined bankruptcy process. By streamlining the confirmation process and eliminating certain provisions of a regular Chapter 11, small businesses can reduce the legal fees associated with reorganization and get back on their feet again.

This is a new bankruptcy amendment and Congress modified the debt parameters for those affected by the Coronavirus Pandemic. Make an appointment today to see if your small business can benefit!

Owe IRS Debt in Ft Lauderdale?  Bankruptcy May Eliminate Tax Debt

Taxes…everyone’s favorite subject! You are not a slave to your tax debt. Taxes do not have to haunt you for eternity. Chapter 13 offers some options on eliminating some tax debt, reducing or eliminating penalties and paying it off within the safety of a Chapter 13 plan.

But all taxes are not treated equally in a Fort Lauderdale Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For example, Trust Fund Taxes such as payroll and sales tax are not dischargeable but you can force the state to accept a payment plan for them through your Chapter 13 payment plan.

Internal Revenue Tax Debt may be dischargeable in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. IRS tax debt that is less than three years old is not dischargeable. But with that said, delinquent IRS tax debt that is more than three years old is dischargeable. Tax debt that is less than three years old is considered a priority tax that can be paid off through your Chapter 13 payment plan. If you have a tax lien in place when you file your bankruptcy case, the tax lien can be discharged by paying the amount of the tax lien in installments through your payment plan. The good news is that the amount of the tax lien may be capped by the value of your assets so you might end up paying a lot less than the lien amount.

The bottom line is that you can get your life back if you owe IRS taxes! There are options for eliminating tax debt or paying it off within a Fort Lauderdale Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Coronavirus Debt Relief in Broward County

You were doing great. Bills were getting paid, job was good and then it happened. No one was prepared and many lives have changed forever. Now, you may be getting sued by credit card companies, facing eviction or a foreclosure sale through no fault of your own.  Although we cannot turn back time, we also do not have to continue to live in uncertainty and financial stress because of the financial catastrophe left behind. Come in and talk to a bankruptcy lawyer today to see if you can alleviate the financial difficulty that the Coronavirus Pandemic left in its wake.  You can always file bankruptcy on your own without an attorney but it is not recommended.  Take advantage of our free bankruptcy consultation today.

Rebuild Your Credit After Your Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy On Us!

We also care about rebuilding your credit after bankruptcy. After all, the goal is to get a fresh financial start and in today’s world, that should include guidance on how to rebuild your credit after bankruptcy. We will give you a free enrollment in a credit rebuilding program once you’ve completed your case. Having access to information on how to rebuild your credit is only one way that we show our commitment to your long term financial success – but it’s an important one!

Ask About Our Affordable Payment Plans and Zero-Money-Down Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.

Just a quick note about the main thing on everyone’s minds when they are thinking about bankruptcy. You’re looking for a cheap bankruptcy attorney near you but you should be looking for an experienced and affordable bankruptcy attorney near you instead. We make bankruptcy affordable in Broward County.

When Your Debt Relief Can't Wait - We Can Wait For Our Attorney Fees!

How Zero Money Down Bankruptcy Works For You

While the majority of our clients prefer to make regular payments towards a bankruptcy before they file so they can get discounted attorney fees, some clients need to file right away to stop a wage garnishment, car repo or foreclosure sale. Those clients prefer to take advantage of our $0-down-payment bankruptcy option.

We can tell you more about it during your free bankruptcy consultation but to sum it up briefly, it works like this:
Once you sign a retainer agreement, you only pay the costs of filing your case (approximately $500) and all of your attorney fees are paid after we file your case. This option does not get a discount on attorney fees but it does allow you to file an emergency bankruptcy petition so we can stop whatever debt collector that is threatening to take your property or garnish your paycheck. Of course, you can also take advantage of our zero-down-bankruptcy option if you do not have a bankruptcy emergency. It’s up to you. I do promise that we have a payment option that fits your budget and your situation. Make an appointment at our Cooper City bankruptcy office today! No matter where you live in Broward County, we are a bankruptcy attorney near you!

Client Reviews
"Orfelia Mayor is that rare combination of integrity and compassion in an attorney. I think she does as much counseling as she gives legal advice. I turned to her during a very difficult time in my life. I could never have imagined that I would ever have to file for bankruptcy. She listened to all of my concerns and fears and put me at ease during our consultations. She is very knowledgable and extremely professional..." Olga
"Ms. Mayor clarified our concerns and we had no qualms about bringing our case to her. She is knowledgeable, professional, diligent and caring. She treats her clients with special care. I cannot say enough about this firm. She is our secret weapon...always there to battle on our behalf." Dorcas
“...She explained everything to me with a lot of patience and listened to what I was worried about. Everything went exactly as she said it would and I am not worry free, debt free and already have credit cards again. I got rid of about $50,000 in debt for a SMALL fraction of that amount, THANK YOU!” Magaly
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