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Bankruptcy FAQ

Have questions about bankruptcy in Florida?

If you are contemplating filing for bankruptcy, it is important that you get all of your questions answered, this way you can make an informed decision about your debt relief options. At Richard S. Johnson & Associates, P.A., we have been guiding clients through Chapter 7 & Chapter 13 bankruptcies since 1994, and we would be glad to help you decide if bankruptcy is right for you.

What sets us apart from the competition in Florida?

  • We have 25 years of experience.
  • We gladly offer free case evaluations.
  • We serve Okaloosa & Walton counties.
  • Client satisfaction is our top priority.

Since most people that come to us have questions about bankruptcy, we have provided a list of frequently asked questions and answers below. For further information about the bankruptcy process, don't hesitate to contact our office directly to schedule your free, initial consultation.

What type of bankruptcy should I file?

The two main types of bankruptcies for individuals are the Chapter 7 liquidation and Chapter 13 adjustment of debts. Some debtors whose incomes are in excess of the guideline income threshold may not be eligible for relief under a Chapter 7, which allows a debtor to discharge most debts. In effect, they would have to file a Chapter 13 instead of a Chapter 7.

What is a Chapter 13?

A Chapter 13 allows the debtor to reorganize and eliminate or reduce debt payments. The debtor enters into a repayment plan where they make regular monthly payments over a period of three to five years. In cases where a debtor is seeking protection from a foreclosure, a Chapter 13 may be more appropriate than a Chapter 7.

Will I lose everything that I own?

Consumers filing for bankruptcy have numerous exemptions available which allow them to protect personal property from creditors. To illustrate, a debtor's retirement savings is usually exempt from creditors' claims and home equity is protected under Florida's constitutional provisions.

Can I discharge all of my debts?

You cannot discharge all debts in a bankruptcy; for example, some tax obligations, student loans, child support, spousal support, and criminal fines are not dischargeable in bankruptcy. Additionally, if a debt was incurred by fraudulent means by the debtor, the court may refuse to discharge it.

Will I have to go to court?

Once you have filed for bankruptcy, you will have to attend a hearing called the "Meeting of Creditors" or the "341 meeting." There is no judge at this meeting, it is conducted by the bankruptcy trustee. In most consumer cases, there will be very few or no creditors at this meeting. The trustee will place you under oath and ask general questions about your bankruptcy petition and whether you accurately disclosed all of your property and debts in your petition.

Can I run up my credit cards, then include them in my bankruptcy?

If you are considering bankruptcy, you should ensure that your filing is done in good faith. It is a mistake to incur new debts and run up credit card balances in contemplation of filing for bankruptcy. The courts view this as bankruptcy fraud, a criminal act, which can result in the denial of a discharge of debts and even imprisonment in federal prison.

Meet With Our Okaloosa County Bankruptcy Attorney

Have more questions about bankruptcy? Contact our office today to schedule a free, initial consultation with our Okaloosa County bankruptcy lawyer. With two decades of experience, we can provide you with honest answers and advice about how you should address your financial situation.