Bankruptcy FAQ

There are many myths about bankruptcy that make it a taboo topic. People are afraid that bankruptcy means failure. But that's simply not true. The reality is that bankruptcy has helped honest people find debt relief for thousands of years.

I have provided answers to some of the most common questions I hear from individuals, families and businesses facing bankruptcy. If you don't find the answer you are looking for here, I urge you to contact me, attorney Sam Pennington, for a free consultation where I can answer your questions and explain your options. From my law offices in Orlando and Tavares, Florida, I have represented clients throughout Lake County and Orange County in bankruptcy matters for more than 25 years.

Will I Lose My Home And Other Property?

In Florida, most people are able to keep their homes after filing for bankruptcy. Learn about what other property you can keep by clicking here:

What Debt Won't I Be Able To Discharge In Bankruptcy?

There are certain types of debt that will stay with you after bankruptcy, including:

  • Student loans
  • Child support
  • Spousal support/alimony
  • Certain taxes
  • HOA fees
  • Court penalties/fines
  • Certain debts arising from criminal actions

Note that the "nondischargeable debts" are different in Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Will Bankruptcy Destroy My Credit?

The opposite is often true. Bankruptcy can help save your credit. Learn more here:

Do I Qualify For Bankruptcy?

The answer to this question will depend on your unique situation, but more people qualify for bankruptcy than the myths will have you believe. If you do not pass the "Chapter 7 means test," which looks at your particular financial situation to determine if you can discharge your debts through Chapter 7, you may still qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

How Long Will Bankruptcy Take?

The length of a bankruptcy case depends on a number of factors, but Chapter 7 cases typically take three to four months. Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves creating a repayment plan that lasts three or five years. The process of creating and confirming the plan takes, on average, three to four months.

What If Another Storm Hits? Can You File For Bankruptcy More Than Once?

There is no limit to how many times you can file for bankruptcy, but you must wait a certain number of years before you can file again. The number of years depends on your previous bankruptcy case:

  • If your previous case was a Chapter 7 and you would like to file another Chapter 7, you must wait eight years.
  • If your previous case was a Chapter 7 and you would like to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must wait eight years between discharges, though you can file for Chapter 13 immediately after your Chapter 7 case.
  • If your previous case was a Chapter 13 and you would like to file a Chapter 7, you must typically wait six years (though there are instances where you can file Chapter 7 immediately after Chapter 13).
  • If your previous case was a Chapter 13 and your new case is a Chapter 13, you usually do not need to wait to file your second case (unless the first case took fewer than two years).

Do I Need An Attorney For Bankruptcy?

You are allowed, by law, to represent yourself in bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy, however, is a complicated area of law involving many moving parts. Imagine making a false move that lands you in court for bankruptcy fraud or having your case dismissed because you forgot to attend a credit counseling class. A bankruptcy lawyer can help ensure every step is taken to get you the debt relief you need.

Pennington Law Firm, PA, is a debt relief agency. I help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.