Just as it took more than one bill or missed payment to create your financial crisis, legal debt relief through bankruptcy is complex process that is made up of a number of steps. Once you submit your petition, a chain of events occur. In the end, you are able to discharge your debt and move forward with a clean financial slate.
My name is Dion R. Hancock, Esq. I help provide the supportive and insightful counsel my clients need to navigate the bankruptcy process. If you are considering declaring Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, I can be by your side every step of the way to safeguard your interests and protect your rights. For more information on how you can alleviate you debt, give my firm a call and ask for a free consultation!
The Automatic Stay
Regardless of which statute you file under for bankruptcy, the moment you file, you acquire legal protection. Known as the automatic stay, most creditors are immediately prohibited from any and all collection activities until after your bankruptcy process is completed. Any continued creditor harassment is illegal and punishable by law. If you continue to be victimized by unscrupulous collection agencies, my firm can provide the assertive advocacy you require to halt their unlawful tactics.
The automatic stay can also provide some temporary relief for certain types of financial emergencies, such as:
- Utility disconnections
- Wage garnishments
Distinct Paths to Debt Resolution
Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy each have their own distinct paths to debt resolution. As an experienced Tampa bankruptcy lawyer, I can help you work through the intricacies of your financial crisis and assist you in deciding which method would provide you optimal debt relief.
Here is an overview of the different steps that are taken to reach debt relief in Chapter 7, Chapter 11, and Chapter 13 bankruptcy:
- Chapter 7: Commonly referred to as a liquidation bankruptcy, your nonexempt property is sold and the cash is distributed to your creditors. After you submit your bankruptcy filing, the process continues with the First Meeting of Creditors. In this meeting, you will discuss the debt you intend to discharge with your bankruptcy trustee and your creditors. If no objections are made, then your debt will be discharged in a smooth timeline. You will be required to take a financial management course within 45 days of your first creditor meeting.
- Chapter 11: Chapter 11 bankruptcy allows the debtor (which is usually a business) to establish a reorganization plan, which may involve the selling off certain assets, downsizing a business, better balancing expenses and income, etc. Creditors will oftentimes vote on whether they accept the plan for getting the debt eventually paid off, though the final decision lies with the bankruptcy court. With Chapter 11 bankruptcy, the debtor is able to continue operating the business and usually will not be assigned a bankruptcy trustee, though the bankruptcy court will have to approve have major financial decisions during the reorganization period.
- Chapter 13: Also referred to as a reorganization bankruptcy, the petitioner’s debt is restructured and overseen by a bankruptcy trustee. The main component of this method is the repayment plan. This is a documented proposal on how you plan to consolidate your disposable assets each month and distribute them to your creditors. If approved, the trustee will collect the funds and allocate them to the appropriate creditors until your debt has been paid off or until the end of your repayment period. This process typically takes three to five years.
Skilled Guidance Every Step of the Way
At Dion R. Hancock, P.A., I can provide you with the skilled legal guidance you need throughout your bankruptcy process. From deciding which avenue to take, completing all the necessary paperwork, and providing assertive advocacy when needed, my firm is dedicated to comprehensive and experienced representation from start to finish. I serve Tampa, as well as other parts of Hillsborough County and Clearwater.
Contact a Tampa bankruptcy lawyer who can provide you with extensive and insightful information if you have further questions regarding what happens after you file for bankruptcy and beyond. As a member of the Florida Bar – Law Related Education Committee, National Association of Bankruptcy Attorneys, and the Community Law Program, Inc., I do my utmost to educate individuals about bankruptcy and assist them in successfully achieving debt relief. Call my office today to schedule an appointment!