Florida And Bankruptcy Laws
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In Florida bankruptcy is governed by federal bankruptcy laws, including the Federal Bankruptcy Act of 2005, which requires individuals seeking bankruptcy to undergo credit counseling and stipulates how bankruptcy eligibility is calculated (this process is commonly known as the “Means Test”). While Florida follows federal bankruptcy laws, it has opted out of federal laws relating to “exemptions,” or property that is protected during bankruptcy. Here are some of the exemptions unique to Florida bankruptcy laws:
Chapter 222 of the Florida statutes states that an individual may claim an exemption on their “homestead,” or place of residence, including property that does not exceed ½ acres within a municipality or 160 contiguous acres elsewhere. This means that if you own your primary place of residence, it will most likely remain protected under Florida bankruptcy homestead laws.
Section 10 of the Florida Constitution and Chapter 222 of the Florida statutes allow an individual to keep up to $5,000 in personal property when they file for bankruptcy, depending on the circumstances. In addition, they may keep a vehicle of up to $1,000 in value and any and all health aids.
Other exemptions laid out by Chapter 222 of the Florida statutes include illness or disability benefits; alimony; child support; property protected by a business partnership; pensions for some qualified employees; Social Security; unemployment or workers’ compensation; some wages; prepaid accounts for situations such as hurricanes; medical expenses or educational expenses; and some insurance benefits. In addition, some qualified workers can take advantage of certain federal exemptions covering things like civil or Foreign Service retirement, survivors’ benefits for military service, and miscellaneous federal benefits.
If you’re planning to file for bankruptcy, the law requires that you complete a U.S. Trustee approved Credit Counseling Briefing before you file your bankruptcy petition. Your bankruptcy attorney will file the Credit Counseling certificate, which must be filed with your petition.
If you or a loved one is suffering from financial difficulties and feel that filing for bankruptcy is your only option, contact us today for a free consultation. Take the first step to regaining control of your financial future.