Daytona Bankruptcy Lawyer

Bankruptcy Law

Bankruptcy is a method where an individual or an organization that is neck deep in debt can request to be relieved from paying the debts. Or they can ask for a reorganization. But in order to do so they have to file for bankruptcy first.

Your bankruptcy lawyer will answer all your queries in detail and will also help you file for bankruptcy.  Some of the services offered by bankruptcy lawyers are as follows.

Help you decide if you should file for bankruptcy

The decision to file for bankruptcy is personal and depends on the individual. The lawyer will be able to help you decide if you should seek the protection of federal laws. Bankruptcy laws are federal laws. You will be informed by your lawyer if all the debts are dis-chargeable. Not all debts, such as the child support payments, are dis-chargeable or can be eliminated. The lawyer will explain all the pros and cons of filing for bankruptcy.

Decide the right ‘Chapter’ for you

The Bankruptcy Code has several chapters to it. The Bankruptcy Code is a group of federal laws or statutes that need to be adhered to. The individual or organization filing for bankruptcy has to follow one of these chapters. The four most common chapters are 7, 13, 11 and 12 (in that order). Consumer and non consumer debts are differentiated under bankruptcy laws.

Chapter 7 –

An individual or a business can file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 if they wish to ‘liquidate’ their debts. Doing so would cancel out all their debts and let them make a fresh start financially. Bankruptcy under Chapter 7 is also known as ‘straight’ bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 –

Any individual seeking a reorganization can file bankruptcy under Chapter 13. A reorganization means that the individual will try to repay the whole of the debt amount.

Chapter 11 –

Any business or company or corporation seeking a reorganization can file for bankruptcy under Chapter 11. They can do so only if they do not wish to liquidate or eliminate their debts.

Chapter 12 –

Any family business, say for example a family of farmers, can file bankruptcy under Chapter 12.

Bankruptcy laws fall under the jurisdiction and supervision of United States Bankruptcy Courts but are decided in the local bankruptcy court of the particular state. Florida has 3 bankruptcy courts. Even though bankruptcy is governed by federal laws, each local court has its own set of local rules to determine a case of bankruptcy.

If you are a resident of greater Daytona or your business is located here, and you need help regarding filing for bankruptcy or understanding the laws related to it, do not hesitate to contact a bankruptcy lawyer in your area today.

To contact Florida attorney Debra G. Simms, P.A. in Port Orange or New Smyrna Beach, FL please call 877.447.4667.

 Volusia County Lawyer

If you are a resident of the Volusia County, Port Orange or the Greater Daytona area or anywhere in the surrounding areas, you should not worry about finding a lawyer. There are plenty of registered law firms in these areas who can advise you regarding various laws.

Today we will discuss about filing for bankruptcy in Volusia County. The steps included in filing for bankruptcy have been discussed here. Your bankruptcy lawyer will answer all your queries in detail and will also help you file for bankruptcy if you want them to do so.


8268391500_e15e941452_zBankruptcy is a method where an individual or an organization that is neck deep in debt can request to be relieved from paying the debts. Or they can ask for reorganization. But in order to do so they have to file for bankruptcy first. Bankruptcy filing has different steps involved in it.

Mandatory pre-filing credit counseling

Before you can file for bankruptcy you need to get a credit counseling session certificate. The session will provide you with all sorts of information regarding bankruptcy. You can get an opinion on your financial situation from the credit counselors. The session lasts for only 90 minutes. Once the session is complete you can file for bankruptcy.

Preparing your bankruptcy papers

You need to fill out bankruptcy forms. These forms will require details about your income, expenses, assets, and your current debts. Any loans taken against any collateral and how you intend to repay them will also have to be mentioned. Secured debts, such as property, also need to be mentioned.

Meeting with Trustee and Creditors (341 Meeting)

After you have filed your papers, you will have to meet court trustees within 20 to 40 days. The trustee will ask you questions regarding the information that you have provided in the forms. You will have to meet the creditors next. They will either object to the claims that you have made or will challenge the exemptions you have requested for. You can respond to these objections by either filing a motion (request) with the court or by responding to their objections with the help of a lawyer.

Mandatory “Debtor Education” Debt Management Course

After you have completed filing for bankruptcy, you will have to attend a compulsory Debt Management Course. Only when you have completed the ‘debtor education’, will you be handed over your ‘discharge’ certificate. The certificate will officially declare that you are in debt.

Bankruptcy laws fall under the jurisdiction and supervision of United States Bankruptcy Courts but are decided in the local bankruptcy court of the particular state. Florida has 3 bankruptcy courts. Even though bankruptcy is governed by federal laws, each local court has its own set of local rules to determine a case of bankruptcy.

If you are a resident of Volusia County or your business is located here, and you need help regarding filing for bankruptcy or understanding the laws related to it, do not hesitate to contact a bankruptcy lawyer in your area today.

To contact Florida attorney Debra G. Simms, P.A. in Port Orange or New Smyrna Beach, FL please call 877.447.4667.

It’s finally official.  If your home is underwater (your house is worth less than the amount owed) and you have a second mortgage (sometimes known as  HELOC or junior loan) you might be able to get rid of the second mortgage in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
If you meet the criteria to qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, you may be able to get rid of your second mortgage all together, along with other unsecured debts, much like Visa, Sears, and medical bills. The Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in the case of Malone v. Wilmington Trust that such “strip offs” are permitted in Chapter 7.  Formerly, strip offs were only permitted in the more costly and time-consuming Chapter 13 cases.
If you are interested in lowering your monthly debt on your home, and getting rid of your second mortgage, please call the Law Office of Debra G. Simms for your bankruptcy consultation.
Debra G. Simms
The answer to that question – in the Middle District of Florida – is NO.
If the amount of the first mortgage on a property exceeds the value of the property (the home is “underwater”) then a second mortgage or any other junior lien can be “stripped off” in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
But, on July 28, 2010, the Bankruptcy court in the Middle District of Florida declined to follow a minority of courts which allow stripping in Chapter 7.   The Florida court ruled that a second mortgage on a primary residence can NOT be “stripped off” in a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, even though there is a a significant number of homes which lack equity beyond the first mortgage lien and there is a “high rate of home foreclosures in this area”.
If you want to keep your home, but can’t afford the payments, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy relief may be your best option.  Call our offices for a consultation.
Debra G. Simms
Efforts to find relief for people crushed by private student loan debt are buried again in the halls of Congress.

Illinois Sen. Richard Durbin re-introduced the Fairness for Struggling Students Act of 2013 on Jan. 23, and it apparently is going nowhere. The bill would provide a bankruptcy escape for people unable to pay back college loans issued by private lenders. Those loans account for about $150 billion of the estimated $1 trillion in outstanding college loan debt.

The bill was co-sponsored by Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., Sen. Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I.

According to Harkin’s office, the bill was referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where it apparently is all but forgotten underneath more pressing issues

The purpose of the Fairness for Struggling Students Act is to give people a chance to rid themselves of excessive debt incurred while in college. Provisions of the bill force the borrowers to make a legitimate effort to repay the loans before they can be included in bankruptcy procedures.

Current laws put all student loan debt in the same category as child support and criminal fines, meaning debts that can’t be forgiven, even in bankruptcy. Many people, seeing no way to dig themselves out of the substantial holes the college loans created, simply give up.

“Too many Americans are carrying around mortgage-sized student loan debt that forces them to put off major life decisions like buying a home or starting a family,” Durbin said in press release. “We can no longer sit by while this student debt bomb keeps ticking,”

But that’s exactly what is happening. The bill was referred to committee last year and died there without getting a vote.

He brought it back this year, along with a similar bill, Know Before You Owe Act, that would require schools to advise students if they have federal aid available before they take on private student loan debt. Students typically pay considerably higher interest rates for private loans than for federal loans.

Durbin, Franken, Harkin, Reed, Warren and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, sent a letter to 13 major banks on March 1, asking them to work at reducing the number of students defaulting on private loans. According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, 850,000 students have defaulted on private loans, totaling $8.1 billion.

“We need the public and private sector to work together to prevent a calamity for middle-class students,” Reed said in a statement. “I hope we can get everyone to the table to find workable solutions to controlling costs and reducing the debt burden for students and families.”
We at the offices of Debra G. Simms urge you to engage your lawmakers on this issue and help ensure a fair and effective bankruptcy system for all of us.
Debra G. Simms
 I know from my law practice that people facing bankrutpcy are often suffering with anxiety, depression and maybe even domestic abuse, all brought on by the turmoil of this recession.  Hard working folks are looking face-to-face with the Big Bad B word, and it hurts.  It’s unthinkable.
Last November, this community was rocked by the news that a young father was killed and 4 others were shot and injured in a downtown office building.  The man charged with the crimes had recently filed bankruptcy.
Only a few months earlier, an Orlando man in bankruptcy was charged with killing his wife in their lavish home.
Orlando has the highest rate of increases in bankruptcy filings in the State’s Middle District, which covers the area from Ft. Meyers all the way to Jacksonville.
Thanks to the Orlando Bankruptcy judges, Bankruptcy filers can now be referred to the United Way’s 211 hot line, which offers 24 hour crisis counseling, as well as referrals to other free or low-cost agencies that offer food, housing, and clothing.
Debra G. Simms
Did you hear about the 31 year old Ohio man who was able to get rid of $89,000 in student loan debt???
Wait a minute, I thought student loan debt was never dischargable in bankruptcy.  What happened?
This is what happened.  Federal law requires those who wish to erase student loan debt to prove that repaying it will cause “undue hardship.”  That usually involves convincing a federal judge that there is a “certainty of hopelessness” to your financial life.  In Ohio, the debtor, Doug Wallace, was able to do that.  Diabetes had rendered him legally blind and unemployed only a few years after graduating from college.
So, is that what it takes to discharge your student loans?  The certainty of hopelessness?  Yep, that’s about it. You know what Mr. Wallace said about this?  “It’s like you’re not worth much in society.”
It wasn’t always like this.  Before 1976, debtors were able to get rid of student loans in bankruptcy just a they could with credit card debt or auto loans.  But, Congress changed the laws after it was reported that some new doctors and lawyers were wiping away their student debt.  Well, ok, that seems wrong.  But, requiring utter life-long hopelessness?  Well, that seems wrong, too.
Reform may be on the way.  For the past three sessions of Congress, Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has introduced legislation to allow discharge for private loans in bankruptcy.  Durbin says the current law treats students who face financial distress the same way as delinquent taxpayers or dead-beat dads trying to discharge their child support debts.
“This harsh treatment of students in the bankruptcy system was built on the false premise that students were more likely to abuse the bankruptcy system,” said Durbin, “yet there is no evidence…to support this assumption.”
But this legislation, according to Durbin, is “going nowhere.” Banks already had lined up against it, despite the lack of progress to get even a committee vote.

Some analysts are warning that lenders might raise interest rates on private student loans “to reflect additional risk.”

But Wallace said advocates are not seeking special treatment. “We’re fighting for basic consumer protections,” he said.
Are you thinking about bankruptcy?  Are you unable to work due to a disability?  Call the Law Office of Debra G. Simms.  We offer a consultation for all bankruptcy related matters.
Toll free: 1-877-447-4667
Debra G. Simms
Declaring bankruptcy can help you save your home and assets, eliminate credit card debt, stop creditor calls and harassment, and even permanently erase old IRS debts. And, fortunately for us, the laws covering Florida bankruptcy are more lenient than many in other states. Sites giving “general information” on national government bankruptcy laws often do not tell the full story, making it important to contact a bankruptcy attorney in Florida for your needs.

There are many questions people ask when it comes to bankruptcy. Often, they want to know how long bankruptcy will be reported on their credit reports. Generally, the period in Florida is up to 10 years (7 years with Chapter 13 bankruptcy). This is important because creditors will report your bad credit for up to 10 years. With the bankruptcy listed, you are ensuring that anyone who looks up your credit score will see that you have declared bankruptcy in the past and are trying to get out of debt.

People also worry whether or not they will qualify for bankruptcy. In Florida, you do not have to qualify for anything, although with Chapter 13 cases the court may sometimes feel that your plan is not feasible, denying it if you do not have enough money or income to make it work.

You also may wonder about the different types of bankruptcy. Chapter 13 has been mentioned, but there is also Chapter 7 bankruptcy. When most people think of bankruptcy, they think of Chapter 7. This is a “straight” bankruptcy where the court forgives the individual all of their dischargeable debts. You might also be allowed to keep a credit card or two, which is important as without one it is almost impossible to rent a car, book airline tickets, or be prepared for some types of emergencies.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy,  on the other hand, is often used to save your home from foreclosure. It lasts from three to five years, and each month you make a regular payment as well as an additional amount to help catch up on your mortgage. This allows you to file a “plan” with the court that shows how much money you will be paying and how long it will take you to catch up. If the plan is approved, the bank or mortgage company is then forbidden from taking your home. Then, once you are caught up, you will be able to return to paying your mortgage as you did before.

In order to determine which type of bankruptcy is the most appropriate for your case, contact the Law Office of Debra G. Simms as we will be able to assess your situation and help you get out of debt as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Debra G. Simms

As a bankruptcy attorney, I consider myself to be on the “front line” when it comes to observing how a lot of folks are doing in this economy.  For most of my bankruptcy clients, it’s gone from bad to worse. Many of my clients work, some only part-time, but there is no way they can make ends meet. Others have been out of work and have used up all their unemployment benefits and their credit. Still others have been in accidents or are sick, and have yet to qualify for disability.

The stigma of bankruptcy is slowly deteriorating as people line up to plead their case in the courts to receive a bankruptcy discharge. The US Bankruptcy Court is the court of last resort for a lot of these people and quite a few of them walk into court in tears.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is what people typically think of when they hear the word “bankruptcy”.  If your income is low and you have few assets, then this might be right for you.  You can keep your house. And you can keep your car depending on how much it is worth and whether you can afford the payments. Your retirement plans are also safe. The rest of your debts are wiped out and you get to start anew.

With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your debt is consolidated and reorganized. You pay it off in a monthly schedule. It lasts for three to five years and allows you to catch up on your mortgage, which is especially useful if your main concern is going into foreclosure on your home. Once you have finished catching up on past payments, you will return to making mortgage payments as normal.  Most other debts are discharged at the end of your plan.

Don’t put off dealing with your debt.  Financial stress can cause health problems and relationship problems.  It’s not going to go away by itself.
At the Law Office of Debra G. Simms, you are treated with the respect that you deserve.
Call now for a consultation.
Toll free:  1-877-447-4667
Debra G. Simms

Frequently, my bankruptcy clients come to me after reaching out to debt consolidation companies.  They wanted to solve their debt problems by avoiding bankruptcy.

I’m all for avoiding bankruptcy if possible, but are these companies legitimate?
Here is a typical scenario:
Clients have about  $50,000 in debt.  The net income is around $4,000 a month.  The debt consolidation agency tells the clients if they pay $1,200 per month they could pay off the debt over a 52 month period.  The service fees range from $50 – $150 per month or more.
Here’s my reaction:  these companies are not doing anything the clients couldn’t just do themselves. They are paying $15 – $150 a month for somebody to make phone calls and send out checks.

But, I got to wondering – do they EVER work?  So, I asked my friend, Sam, a debt collector.   Here’s what he said:

“As a debt collector, I’ve had occasion to deal with a number of debt settlement companies, and can say I NEVER think it’s a good idea for a consumer to employ the services of such a company.  First, these companies simply do not do anything for a consumer that he or she could not do for his or herself.  (I thought so!)  Second, it’s ridiculous for a consumer to pay thousands of dollars to such a company when those dollars could actually go to paying down debt. Third, and this is the big one, when a consumer hires a debt settlement company, collectors look at that action as an invitation to sue.  Why?  Debt collection success is predicated on communication with a debtor.  If a collector cannot speak with a debtor, make payment arrangements, etc., there is nothing left to do but file suit.”

Then I asked Donna, a consumer advocate lawyer friend of mine what she thought about these companies.  She said:
“HIGH potential for scam activity with these things.  I’ve heard of them taking the payments and never giving them to the creditors – putting the debtor in an even worse situation.”
Then I asked her, “Can’t these folks just do the same thing for themselves?”
Typical lawyer, Donna answered,  “Well, yes and no. Sure the debtor can talk to his own creditors and negotiate with them. But it’s about as effective as a non-lawyer representing himself in litigation. A lawyer or advisor who knows what he is doing will likely produce a much better result. Of course, it’ll cost something to achieve.”
Lastly, I  asked my bankruptcy guru lawyer friend, Steve, and he added this to the debate: “The Fair Trade Commission added debt settlement to its telemarketing sales rule, but this only regulates a debt settlement company who talks to clients on the phone, including if a client calls them.  It prohibits upfront costs, but there is no cap on the amount of fees they can charge.  And, there is no regulation of internet companies.”
So there you have it!   When the evil debt collector, the consumer advocate, and the bankruptcy guru all agree on something, you have to take notice!
Before you hire a for-profit debt settlement company, call the Law Office of Debra G. Simms.  Toll free: 1-877-447-4667 for your  consultation.
Debra G. Simms

Contact Us

Port Orange Office:
Prestige Executive Center
823 Dunlawton Ave. Unit C
Port Orange, FL 32129
Local: 386.256.4882
Toll Free: 877.447.4667
New Smyrna Beach Office:
817 E. 7th Ave
New Smyrna Beach FL, 32169
Local: 386.256.4882
Toll Free: 877.447.4667