Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is bankruptcy?
A: Bankruptcy is legal process that provides important protection to people who are faced with debt that are unable to pay. It is designed to provide a fresh start to the debtor and to provide fair and equal treatment to the creditors. It is absolutely necessary to ensure the functioning of a marketplace economy because it allows people to take risks, experience loss and misfortune without become life-long slaves to debt.
Q: Can I lose my job because I file for bankruptcy?
A: It is unlawful for either a public or private employer to discharge or discriminate in any way against an employee who has filed for bankruptcy protection.
Q: Will I lose the equity in my house if I file for bankruptcy?
A: Florida provides a broad homestead protection that in most cases prohibits creditors from taking a person’s home to satisfy a debt unless the person has pledged the home as security for the debt.
Q: Do I need an attorney to file bankruptcy?
A: The law does not require an individual or couple to hire an attorney in order to file for bankruptcy. However, bankruptcy law is complex and there are numerous procedural requirements that a debtor must comply with in order to obtain a bankruptcy discharge. Hiring an attorney experienced in bankruptcy can prevent needless loss of property and dismissal of the bankruptcy case.
Q: Will I lose my retirement savings if I file for bankruptcy?
A: Generally, retirement savings are protected provided they are held in a designated retirement account such as a Roth IRA, pension fund, or other similar fund.
Q: Can I transfer property to a friend or family member to keep it out of my bankruptcy?
A: No, a person seeking bankruptcy relief must honestly disclose all their property and all their debts. Bankruptcy fraud is a criminal act that can subject a person to loss of their bankruptcy discharge and prison. Transfer of property, both in and out of bankruptcy, for the purpose of avoiding a creditor’s claim can be voided by the Court.