West Palm Beach Chapter 7 Bankruptcy Attorney

Skilled Legal Guidance with Over 2,000 Successful Bankruptcy Cases Handled

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is about qualifying from an income standpoint and, more importantly, ensuring that any applicable legal exemptions are available to protect your property. It is essential that you have the right attorney to ensure you don’t unnecessarily lose money or property to an overly aggressive Chapter 7 Trustee. At Southeast Bankruptcy, LLC, we have assisted over 2,000 individuals and businesses in successfully filing for bankruptcy relief. We have a deep knowledge of the bankruptcy process and can help you work towards a debt-free future with a Chapter 7 plan if appropriate for your situation. Our firm provides personalized services and will lay out several legal options for you to explore. We understand how overwhelming finances can be, and it is our job and our goal to help you out of your financial mess.

Schedule a free consultation with Southeast Bankruptcy, LLC to discuss your legal options in more detail.

I couldn’t believe the difference they were making, and have made in my life, by restoring my confidence both in the system, and in myself.
J McGall Jr.

Who Can File Chapter 7?

You qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, or liquidation bankruptcy, if your gross income is lower than the state’s median income. If your income is higher, you must pass the “means test,” which determines whether you have enough disposable income to repay a portion of your unsecured debts (e.g., credit card bills, medical bills, personal loans) over a repayment period but not enough to feasibly complete a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Note that you must have lived in Florida for 730 days to qualify for Florida’s bankruptcy exemptions in your bankruptcy petition (below).

You cannot file Chapter 7 if you have received a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge within the last 8 years or a Chapter 13 discharge within the past 6 years. You also may not qualify for Chapter 7 if a previous bankruptcy case was dismissed within the past 180 days because you violated a court order, the court ruled that your filing was fraudulent, or you requested a dismissal after a creditor asked for relief from the automatic stay. Learn more about the Chapter 7 basics in our Chapter 7 FAQ.

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Why Choose Southeast Bankruptcy?

We are motivated to help good people through tough times by leading the way to your fresh start.
  • Personalized Service

    Once you hire us, you’ll finally be able to breathe deeply and relax. We will represent you with compassion, dignity and respect. We handle it all so you can focus on your new beginning in life!

  • Affordable
    We truly strive to work with our clients to find the most affordable path to bankruptcy protection including a no up-front attorney fee Chapter 13 for certain wage earners.
  • Accessible

    We take pride in client communication, even after-hours calls to ensure peace of mind.

  • Solution Choices

    Although we will certainly make our recommendations and why, we will not force anything upon our clients. You will be provided with all the information and alternatives for you to decide.

  • Free Consultations
    The initial meeting is free with no obligation. Know the benefits before you hire us.
  • Skill & Expertise
    As the name suggests, Bankruptcy is all we do every day, all day. We have assisted over 1500 individuals and businesses successfully file for bankruptcy relief and protection.

The Filing Process

The Chapter 7 filing process generally follows these steps:

  1. You file a petition for Chapter 7 with the bankruptcy court.
  2. An “automatic stay” goes into place that temporarily prevents creditors from trying to collect from you.
  3. A court-appointed bankruptcy trustee will examine your bankruptcy papers and determine whether you have any nonexempt property to sell, for which the proceeds will go to the creditors.
  4. The bankruptcy trustee will run a “creditors’ meeting” to discuss your bankruptcy with all the creditors listed in your papers. These meetings are currently conducted via telephone conference only and typically last about 5 minutes.
  5. If the trustee determines that you do have non-exempt funds or property to disburse to creditors (which is very rare) your attorney will work with the trustee to negotiate that administration and payment. But in most cases your property will be exempt or otherwise abandoned by the trustee as not being worthy of administration.
  6. 60 days after your creditor meeting you will receive your Discharge Order formally and legally relieving you from most of your debts.

Bankruptcy Petition & Forms

Note that your bankruptcy petition and forms should include information about:

  • your property;
  • your current income and monthly living expenses;
  • your debts;
  • property you claim the law allows you to keep through Chapter 7 (“exempt property” like your home, clothing, Social Security payments, and other necessities like your car);
  • property you owned and money you spent during the last 2 years;
  • property you sold or gave away during the last 2 years.

At the end of a successful bankruptcy process, all your debts should be wiped out by the court except for:

  • debts that automatically survive bankruptcy, such as child support, certain tax debts, and student loans;
  • debts that the court has declared non-dischargeable due to a creditor’s objection, such as debts incurred by your fraud or malicious acts.

Florida Bankruptcy Exemptions

One of your biggest anxieties when filing Chapter 7 may naturally be concerning what property is exempt from surrender or liquidation. Florida has fairly generous exemptions, including:

  • Homestead exemptions. You can exempt an unlimited amount of equity in your home or other property covered by the homestead exemption as long as the property isn't larger than half an acre in a municipality or 160 acres elsewhere.
  • Personal property exemptions. You can exempt certain amounts of personal property like furniture and art, education savings, health savings, tax credits, funeral costs, and other personal property.
  • Motor vehicle exemptions of up to $1,000.
  • Wage exemptions.
  • Pension exemptions.
  • Public benefits exemptions.
  • Personal injury exemptions. You can exempt damages for a work-related incident.

The state offers several other categories of exemptions depending on your Chapter 7 case, and an experienced lawyer can better help you examine your situation. Chapter 7 can be a confusing process, and you may not be aware that certain property can be exempt from your case. Southeast Bankruptcy, LLC practices exclusively in bankruptcy and can help you through every stage of your Chapter 7 case, from filing your initial petition to understanding the debt discharge results.

Contact Southeast Bankruptcy, LLC for a free consultation to discuss your Chapter 7 case in more detail.

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