Debt Relief under Chapters 7, 11 and 13 of the Bankruptcy Code
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Good judgment comes from experience, and experience coms from bad judgment.
- Rita Mae Brown
Chapter 7 - Liquidation
If you are unemployed, or underemployed, and can no longer pay your debts, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may give you the fresh start you need to recover from a financial hardship. A Chapter 7 may result in the Court forgiving, or Discharging,” your unsecured debts such as credit cards, lawsuits, medical bills, and other debts. If you qualify, you could be debt free in as little as two months.
Chapter 13 - Adjustment of Debts of an Individual with Regular Income
Chapter 13, often referred to as “reorganization” or a wage earner’s plan, allows individuals who do not qualify for a Chapter 7 to benefit from the discharge of some of their debts they can not afford. Chapter 13 also allows you to resolve financial matters such as Mortgage Foreclosure, Tax debt owed to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), and even workout options for Student Loans. Chapter 13 cases allow you to propose a payment plan that pays what you can afford for up to five years, and can potentially discharge or forgive amounts you can’t afford to pay over that period of time.
Chapter 11 - Reorganization
Similar to a Chapter 13, Chapter 11 allows you to extend the plan period potentially over five years. This may assist individuals that need more time to get up to date on their mortgages, and other debts that cannot be discharged or forgiven.
It starts with you. If you have an attorney, discuss getting the case in front of a mediator as soon as possible. The earlier in the lawsuit or dispute, the better, as fees and costs can begin to accrue quickly.
Once you have decided to attend mediation, your attorney can reach out to the other side in an attempt to have them agree on attending mediation, and selecting a mediator. Even if the other side doesn’t agree, your attorney can always ask the Court to Order mediation. Most Courts in Florida send both parties to mediation, even if only one asks.
Once at the neutral setting, if you asked for the mediation, your willingness to settle, and put aside the emotions associated with your dispute, will save you time and money in the long run. If you were a party that did not want to attend mediation, approach the process with an openness, knowing you haven’t waived any rights or claims by attending, but realize that you could end this dispute that very same day, at a lesser cost than if it continues in Court, or even goes to Trial.
Most lawsuits are resolved by agreement or settlement. Many of those settlements are reached at mediation. Going to trial is usually very costly and time consuming. Many litigants get “sticker shock” when their attorneys tell them the required retainers for proceeding to trial. Mediation can save you all that expense and time.
Discuss mediation with your attorney, or contact me regarding your case.
Schedule your mediation conference online at one of our Florida locations, telephonically, or at a location everyone agrees on.
Work with the mediator and all parties involved in the dispute to settle the issues without Court intervention.
Save potentially hundreds or thousands of Dollars in legal fees, and months of time arguing in Court.
If an agreement is reached, the dispute is settled; if an agreement can't be reached, you are in the same position you were prior to mediation, but much smarter about your case.
If you reach an agreement, or even a partial one, the issue or issues agreed upon are settled and done. The Court can always help you enforce the terms of the agreement, but that is usually a much simpler and efficient process than litigating all the issues in a particular case or dispute.
Of course, not all mediations result in an agreement. However, even those that do not, provide the parties an invaluable opportunity, in a confidential, informal setting, to listen to the other side’s arguments and defenses.
Whether you do or do not reach an agreement, everything that happens in mediation, stays in mediation. Everything is confidential. Mediators are immune from having to testify in Court on matters they have mediated. So you can feel comfortable that what you say, can never be used against you in Court.
Further, mediators are allowed to speak to parties separately from the other litigants in the case. These private sessions between parties and mediators allow everyone to use the mediator as a vehicle of communication of ideas, while not having the other party present. Most mediations end up with the parties in separate rooms, and the mediator going back and forth.
I always tell the parties “I get an instant case of amnesia the moment the meeting concludes.” It’s the law that gives me that amnesia, so that I can better assist all the parties.
Over 2,000 Mediations Conducted
Examples of Mediated Cases
Bank v. Homeowner
Homeowner going through hardship, no longer able to afford their mortgage payments due to reduction in income. Learn More
Mom v. Dad
After 12 years of marriage, Mom and Dad have now chosen to split up. They own a home, two cars, and, more importantly, have two kids they both love. Learn More
Developer v. Investor
Developer and Investor joined forces a few years ago to build homes. The market has changed, and the Investor wants out.
Employee v. Employer
Employee is let go from their job, but had not received a paycheck in two months.
Web Developer v. Business
Web developer hired to create a business website on company servers. Website delivered, payment never made.
Spouse v. Spouse
Young couple married for five years, want to amicable divorce. They own a home and two cars all in one spouse's name.
2nd Mortgage v. Homeowner
Homeowner took out a 2nd Mortgage on their house while property values were high. Today, property values are less than what is owed on 1st.