When facing bankruptcy, you face other difficulties. These are three things that our bankruptcy services can help you with:
What Happens When You Face Repossession?
In Florida, a repossession can happen when you signed an agreement using the property as collateral for a loan. If you fail to honor the loan agreement terms, the property may be put up for repossession immediately. While the majority of repossessions in Florida are cars or trucks, it can be any vehicle. This includes RVs, motorcycles, ATVs, boats, or even airplanes. Repossession agencies do not need to notify you that your vehicle is going to be repossessed, nor does there need to be a court hearing. This is very scary, but know you have some rights:
- Agents may not enter your property without your invitation
- Agents may not use violence in any way to retrieve property
- Agents cannot trick you into bringing your vehicle into a shop to repossess it when you leave
- Florida repossession laws state that the lender must mail all borrowers of a repossessed vehicle a notice stating you have the right to retrieve your car once you have satisfied all the outstanding issues. This might be a requirement to pay off the entire loan
- The notice will give you a date that you must redeem your vehicle before it is sold at auction
- Florida repossession laws allow you to retrieve your personal belongings from your repossessed vehicle. This might come at a cost to you.
- If the lender sues you for the balance of the loan on your repossessed car or truck, you may have defenses and counterclaims to what they are suing you for
- If they fail to provide you with written notices of your rights and deadlines and fees, you may have a claim against them
- Florida repossession laws also protect you against the unreasonable sale of your repossessed vehicle. This means that if your vehicle is sold at well under the proper auction value, you may not be responsible for the full balance of your loan.
It is always best to seek professional help when facing these sorts of situations. Courtney Durham has the experience and the knowledge to help you make the best out of the bad situation, and might even be able to help you find a way to save your vehicle.
How Can Filing For Bankruptcy Stop Foreclosure?
When facing foreclosure, many debtors resort to bankruptcy. This provides protection known as the “automatic stay.” This provides additional time to help deal with the pending foreclosure. The options are determined by which type of bankruptcy you claim.
- Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
This method doesn’t have a way to help you catch up on payments and keep your house. If you are behind and want to stay in your home, this is not the best chapter for you. If you need time to arrange other housing or enter into a loan workout, this chapter might be the answer. Also, if the trustee sells the property for enough money, you might be entitled to a portion of the proceeds. After paying off mortgages or liens, the trustee must reimburse you your homestead exemption amount before paying off other creditors. Also, if the home sells for enough to pay off all of your creditors and there’s money left over, you are entitled to that.
- Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
This method can give you time to catch up on your mortgage and stay in your home. You’ll repay debts over a period of three to five years, including the payments on your mortgage. For this, you must have enough income to keep up with both your current mortgage payments and your payment plan.
Before a home goes to auction, the lender must allow you time to catch up on your payments or apply for a loss mitigation program, such as a mortgage modification.
In Florida, the lender can only use the judicial foreclosure process. This begins when the bank files the lawsuit. You can respond to this and defend it. At this point, it follows the litigation process, and if the bank wins, the court orders the home to be sold at auction.
Filing for bankruptcy will stop this foreclosure process as long as the foreclosure sale has not already happened.
An automatic stay doesn’t always apply. Here are the two exceptions to the automatic stay:
- You have had one bankruptcy case dismissed within the past year. In this case, the automatic stay only lasts for 30 days.
- You have had two or more bankruptcy cases dismissed within the past year. In this case, the automatic stay does not go into effect at all.
Another thing to note: a lender can file a motion asking the bankruptcy court to lift the automatic stay and allow the foreclosure process to continue. You are entitled to file a response, and if you oppose the motion, the bankruptcy court will hold a hearing.
Courtney Durham can help you decide if filing bankruptcy is the best solution for you to prevent foreclosure on your home. Her experience with bankruptcy law can help you prevent the lender from successfully lifting an automatic stay.
How Can You Prevent Wage Garnishment?
Wage Garnishment means that a creditor has taken legal action to seize a portion of your wages, bank account, or other assets. In Florida, the creditor will contact your employer and have them remove a portion of your check each week. This money gets forwarded to the creditor.
You do have legal ways to prevent or stop these wage garnishments. Before the creditor can obtain the garnishment, he must receive a court order.
These types of debts are eligible for wage garnishment:
- Unpaid child support
- Judgments from private lawsuits
- Medical bills
There are limits on how much a creditor can garnish from your paycheck. You also have the option to protect your wages with exemptions. To do this, you must file an affidavit with the court to prove you are the head of a household. To qualify, you must provide more than 50% of the support of a dependent or child. Even if you are not, in Florida, creditors cannot garnish more than 25% of your wages or an amount that exceeds thirty times the minimum wage.
You can also stop a wage garnishment by filing bankruptcy, which leads to an automatic stay. Child support and alimony are an exception: an automatic stay will not put a stop to those. If you file bankruptcy shortly after the garnishment has happened, you might be able to get back some or part of the amount that was paid by your employer. You can usually get back wages within 90 days of your bankruptcy filing if they were over $600 in aggregate and you have enough exemptions.
If you have previously filed for bankruptcy and your case was dismissed within one year of the current filing, the stay will only last 30 days as opposed to the life of the case. You can ask the court to extend the time if you can prove you made the filing in good faith. If you filed twice in the past year, the automatic stay will not apply unless you petition the court for the stay and prove good cause.
Courtney Durham can help you defend your rights and determine whether a bankruptcy filing is called for. She can also provide advice as to what other remedies might be.