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2013 View From the Bench Seminar

Held every year, this was one of the first I attended without Judge Paskay as a speaker.  Our newly appointed Judge Delano (Middle District of Florida Fort Myers Division) was present along with nearly every Judge from the Middle District of Florida: Judge Jenneman, Judge Hyman, Judge Specie, Judge Glenn, Judge Williamson, Judge May, Judge McEwen, Judge Jackson.

A lot of consumer issues were reviewed.  I’ll update my blog to present some of these issues for anyone keeping tabs..


Mortgage Modification in Bankruptcy

Did you know that you can received a court ordered modification mediation in Bankruptcy?

Many bankruptcy filers are having great success in having their mortgage modified at a bankruptcy court ordered mediation. A financial disclosure is required and the bank is required to appear in good faith and evaluate which modification programs you qualify for. The Mediator oversees the process and makes sure that all parties are doing the best they can to reach a modification.

If you have been having problems modifying your mortgage this is an additional option! Talk to a bankruptcy attorney today to inquire about how you can get a successful mortgage modification mediation!

Does Filing a Bankruptcy stop my divorce, support or child custody proceedings?

On occasion I have a Debtor who asks me if filing a bankruptcy will stop thier divorce or support case. When a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case is filed, an automatic stay immediately goes into effect stopping all creditors from proceeding with attempts to collect from the Debtor. This automatic stay does not apply to family law matters and exceptions are carved out under Bankruptcy Code Section 362(b)(2)(A). The code specifically provides that the filing of a bankruptcy does not operate as a stay to civil action proceedings including but not limited to proceedings for the establishment of paternity and establishment or modification of an order for Domestic Support Obligation such as child support. There many other exceptions, if you have questions contact a good bankruptcy attorney.

Mortgage Debt Relief Act Extended!

In January, President Obama signed the American Taxpayer Relief Act which among other things, extended the Mortgage Debt Relief Act that was set to expire at the end of 2012. This was a big relief for many people who received a 1099C as a result of a foreclosure because in most cases it relieved the recipient of the 1099C from the potential tax liability. Talk to your accountant or attorney if you have further question!

Exceeding the Debt Limits may be OK!?

As a Naples Bankruptcy Attorney I have dealt with many situations where the property was valued at significantly less than the outstanding mortgages; underwater. In many of those cases the consumer was unable to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy as a result of the interpretation of the debt limits rule in our district – this was because often times the mortgage deficiency was added to the other unsecured debts. Many other districts had interpreted the debt limits rule much more liberally allowing many consumers to file a Chapter 13 even if they may have exceeded the debt limits.

As you may remember, Judge Delano recently took the bench in the Fort Myers Bankruptcy Division. After observing her address the debt limits issue and the pending motions to dismiss those cases (where the Debtor exceeded the debt limits), it is apparent that she follows the more liberal and majority interpretation of the debt limits rule. That being said, it appears that for the time being consumer Debtors in the Fort Myers Division will be allowed to present Chapter 13 cases where they may exceed the debt limit. This is not a guarantee that such a Chapter 13 will be confirmed by the Court but it allows consumer Debtors an option that was unavailable for some time. If you have any questions concerning this issue and how it may apply to you please consult your local bankruptcy attorney.

Removing judgment liens from your homestead…

I have had a few clients recently ask about removing judgment liens from thier homestead. A judgment may be removed from a properly claimed homestead property by giving notice (filed in the public record of the county in which the homestead property is located) to the judgment creditor. The creditor then has essentially 45 days to respond. This procedure is outlined in Florida Statute 222.01 and the actual form of the notice is also contained within the statute. If you are need additional information about removing a judgment lien from your homestead contact an attorney!

You’re not always eligible for Bankruptcy?

Recently, I have had consultations with people who are not eligible for chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. If you make more than the state median and have debts that exceed the jurisdictional limits for chapter 13 you may not be eligible to file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy. Where does this leave you? There are many options. One option is to file an individual Chapter 11 case. I do not file any Chapter 11 cases. If you feel you may not be eligible to file a chapter 7 or chapter 13 case be sure to consult with an attorney first before investing your time and money!