Tampa Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys

Helping Florida Clients Find Debt Relief Through Reorganization

Being unable to get on top of your debt despite your best efforts is immensely frustrating. You might be making regular payments, but interest has grown so great, or an unexpected new bill has appeared, that your debt is growing rather than shrinking.

As your debt load accelerates, it is easy to feel helpless. How can you possibly tackle debt this great when you are already spending so much of your income to pay it off?

The answer may be in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a powerful tool that helps debtors reorganize their finances in such a way that they can actually overcome their debt in a reasonable amount of time. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, no liquidation is involved in Chapter 13.

Instead, you will propose a fair plan to repay your collective creditors through lump monthly payments for a period of 3 to 5 years. If a bankruptcy court approves your plan and you carry it out, you will typically be freed of remaining unsecured debts!

At Cremeens Law Group PLLC, our Tampa Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers have substantial experience setting our clients up for success through this process.

We have a full knowledge of the Florida Bankruptcy Code and can leverage our understanding of its machinations to assist in your case. Our goal is to help you craft a sustainable, advantageous repayment plan that will put you on the road to debt relief and financial recovery.

“They helped me with a collections matter and got the case done quickly and affordably.”

- Sandra K.

Qualifying for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Florida

Many who do not qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy instead qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Eligibility is tied to your income and expenses, and you will likely have to undergo the Florida Means Test to know for certain.

Generally, though, if you make a substantial amount of income, you will likely qualify for Chapter 13. A quick way to rule out Chapter 7 bankruptcy is to check your household’s current level of income against the current Florida median income for your household size.

If your income is greater than the median, you are more likely to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy but will still need to go through the full Means Test to confirm this. The Means Test involves a series of formulas that can be broadly described as determining your disposable income through subtracting expenses from income.

A bankruptcy court is trying to understand how much money you have available after cost-of-living expenses. If that number is sufficiently high, you will likely qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as you have enough resources to continue to repay creditors as you pursue debt relief.

However, having enough disposable income is not the only requirement to qualifying for Chapter 13. There are debt ceilings that, if surpassed, preclude you from qualifying. These thresholds are regularly adjusted for inflation.

As of 2020, your debt load must not exceed the following to qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  • $419,275 in unsecured debt
  • $1,257,850 in secured debt

What Is Unsecured Debt?

Unsecured debt does not include collateral but can include:

  • Credit card debt
  • Medical bills
  • Personal loans

What Is Secured Debt?

Secured debt is tied to some sort of physical asset, like a house or vehicle. Finally, note that there are limits to how often you can file for bankruptcy, no matter the severity of your debt situation.

How Long Do You Have to Wait Between Bankruptcy Filings?

You must wait a minimum of 2 years between filings for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you previously filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait a minimum of 4 years before filing for Chapter 13.

As you can see, determining whether you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not a simple endeavor. It will require an extensive tabulating of both your expenses and debt obligations – 2 things you will eventually need to create your repayment proposal – but there are numerous exemptions and categorical quirks that can make accurately establishing your eligibility challenging.

Our experienced Tampa Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys can ensure you qualify and assist in preparing your filing.

Take the first step in controlling your debt by dialing (813) 683-8688 or contacting us online. The sooner you call, the sooner we can help.

The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process in Florida

Once you formally file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will be issued an “automatic stay” that freezes collection actions being pursued against you.

This can include:

  • Foreclosures
  • Repossessions
  • Lawsuits seeking to recover debts

This order goes into effect as soon as you successfully file and can be a tremendous tool if you are at imminent risk of losing your home or other critical assets.

If you do not submit a proposed repayment plan in your initial filing, you will have to submit one within 14 days. This plan should include your tabulated disposable income and the installment amount you hope to regularly repay creditors. You will also need to overturn a great deal of financial records to support your conclusions.

The court will schedule a creditor meeting, where involved parties can evaluate your plan and register any objections. Fortunately, so long as your repayment plan meets all of the state’s regulations, creditors cannot legally reject your repayment plan.

Our Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers can assist in creating an advantageous and realistic repayment proposal through evaluation of your finances. This includes carefully determining your disposable income through understanding what can and cannot be categorized as a qualified expense.

Qualifying expenses are basically, things you need to reasonably live your life.

They can include:

  • Payments on your home
  • Taxes
  • Childcare
  • Food
  • Clothing
  • Medical costs

There may be disputes with creditors over these points and the extent of your ability to repay, which is why it is beneficial for us to represent you in any negotiations with your creditors. Creditors will always be seeking a plan that benefits them, not you, and it is crucial you have an advocate looking out for your rights.

After disagreements have been resolved in creditor negotiations, your plan will be sent to the bankruptcy court for approval. Once approved, you will begin repaying the installments established in your plan, for a period of 3 to 5 years. So long as you continue to make these payments, your creditors cannot take action against you.

After you have fulfilled all of the terms of your proposal, including all of your payments, you are typically permitted to discharge your remaining unsecured debts, like credit card debt, medical debt, and personal loans.

Get Experienced Help with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are experiencing growing debt, you do not need to panic, but you should act promptly to get your obligations under control. Our team at Cremeens Law Group PLLC has helped numerous Florida clients get on top of their debt through Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Our Tampa Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys can guide you through each step of the process and help ensure your proposal plan will both muster the scrutiny of the court and better prepare you for a more sustainable financial future.

You have options in managing your debt. Act now and schedule a free consultation with our team by calling (813) 683-8688 or contacting us online. We are proud to offer our services in both English and Spanish.

Taking the Burden Off of Your Shoulders

What You Can Expect With Us
  • Experience

    Having worked with both consumers and lenders, we have unique insight for how banks work, providing you with the best strategy.

  • Results

    If you hire us, we will be the attorneys that keep you in your home.

  • Affordability

    With payment plans available and without any hidden or extra fees, our goal is to help you budget when you're dealing with financial issues.

  • Communication

    You will never be kept in the dark. From start to finish, we maintain regular communication about your case.

Ready to Discuss Your Case?

Schedule a free consultation with us today to explore your options.