Although there are different types of bankruptcy defined in the bankruptcy code, at the law offices of Jorge L. Gonzalez, P.A. we are specialized in personal consumer bankruptcy cases, wherein we help individuals who wish to file for Chapter 7 of such code.

Chapter 7 is the most common type of bankruptcy in the United States, and it governs the process of liquidation under the bankruptcy laws of the United States. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, the individual is allowed to keep certain exempt property, while at the same time liquidating all consumer debts. Some secure debts, or liens, such as real estate mortgages and car loans do survive bankruptcy, in the event you wish to reaffirm said debt and keep those properties. The value of property which can be claimed as exempt varies from state-to-state. If the individual has other non-exempt assets, they are sold by the interim trustee to repay your creditors. Many types of unsecured debt are legally discharged by the bankruptcy proceeding, but there are various types of debt that are not discharged in a Chapter 7. Common exceptions to discharge include child support, spousal support, income taxes less than 3 years old, some luxury purchases made prior to filing, most student loans (unless the debtor prevails in a difficult-to-win adversary proceeding brought to determine the discharge ability of the student loan), and fines and restitution imposed by a court for any crimes committed by the debtor.

When filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7, you must take into account the following:

- Bankruptcy discharge stays on the individual's credit report for up to 10 years for most purposes, which may make credit less available and/or terms less favorable (although high debt can have the same effect).  You may not not file a chapter 7 bankruptcy in the event you have a previous filing in the last 8 years.

- If your are financially incapable of paying certain debts, Chapter 7 may be the solution for you. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, some of your property may be sold to pay down your debt. In return, most or all of your unsecured debts (that is, debts for which collateral has not been pledged) will be erased. And you can keep any property that is classified as exempt under the state or federal laws (such as your clothes, furniture, car, retirement, your homestead, etc.). However, if you owe money on a secured debt (for example, a car loan for which the car is pledged as a guarantee of payment), you have a choice of allowing the creditor to repossess the property; continuing your payments on the property under the contract (if the lender agrees); or paying the creditor a lump sum amount equal to the current replacement value of the property.

- Can the debtor avoid the challenge by the United States Trustee to his or her Chapter 7 filing as abusive? Recently, after the passage of a new 2005 bankruptcy statute, the U.S. Trustee has become much more aggressive in pursuing what he/she believes to be abusive Chapter 7 filings, to avoid some of the abuses that the new law was intended to prevent. The U.S. Trustee will challenge the debtor's filing Chapter 7 and will typically try to force him/her into the repaying some or all of his debts out of disposable income in the five year time frame, under Chapter 13 of the Code.

Attorney Jorge L. Gonzalez has the expertise to help you dealing with your overwhelming debt. Contact our office at (305) 227-4700 (Miami), or (305) 888-7177 (Hialeah) for a free consultation and let him determine if you qualify for filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7.


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