Bankruptcy Lawyer Pinellas

Emergency Bankruptcy Lawyer Tampa|(813) 452-4400|FL|Attorney

If you are in need of debt relief and have questions about your options, turn to me, attorney Daniel J. Herman ESQ. I have over 25 years of experience handling bankruptcy cases for clients in and around the Largo and Clearwater, Florida, areas. I can advise you of your rights in bankruptcy and whether or not a Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be right for you. To learn more, contact my office today to schedule an initial consultation.

What Is Chapter 7?

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy is sometimes called a "fresh start" bankruptcy. Traditionally, Chapter 7 provides the most relief with the least impact and detriment to you than the other types of bankruptcies. I stand by clients throughout the entire bankruptcy process, from beginning to discharge (the issuance of court order that says the debts are forgiven and the debt is uncollectible forever).

The Means Test

To qualify for Chapter 7, you will have to pass the Means Test. This is a formula into which your debts and income are entered. By calculating your ability to pay on your debts, your ability to qualify for Chapter 7 can be determined. If you can pay some of your debts according to the Means Test, you may not qualify for Chapter 7, but Chapter 13 may be an option. The Means Test can be avoided by the primarily business-debt exception, meaning it's sometimes avoidable where the debts are primarily business-related.

Dischargeable Debts and Those That Cannot Be Discharged

In Chapter 7, there is a short list of debts that are not discharged, including student loans, domestic support obligations (alimony and child support) and most tax debts. However, some income taxes, if they are more than three-years old and stringent requirements are met, can be dischargeable in Chapter 7.

  • When we talk about the domestic support obligations in Chapter 7, essentially any obligation ordered by the divorce court is not dischargeable.
  • Certain debts considered "hold harmless" debts are dischargeable in Chapter 13.
  • Contrary to popular belief, drunk-driving debts are dischargeable through Chapter 7.

Many laws in bankruptcy can be summarized by the statement that the honest debtor is entitled to relief. So-called "bad behavior" debts, such as theft, willful/malicious injury and fraud, are not dischargeable in Chapter 7. However, these must be proved to the satisfaction of the bankruptcy court by the filing of an adversary proceeding (the bankruptcy equivalent of a lawsuit).

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