St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Assist You With Your Chapter 13 Payment Plan

Financial Freedom Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan

Bankruptcy attorneys often refer to a Chapter 13 petition as a wage earner’s plan. You should ideally opt for a Chapter 13 filing if you have a regular source of income. A Chapter 13 filing is also more beneficial if you are facing foreclosure and you want to save your home. Consult with a St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyer to know if you can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.
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How St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Attorney Can Help Married Couples File For Bankruptcy Protection

Bankruptcy lawyer Couple debt

If you are drowning in debt, then filing a St Petersburg bankruptcy may be the only way out.

Bankruptcy is a legal proceeding in which a debtor initiates by filing a petition in the bankruptcy court. Bankruptcy is also an option if you are facing foreclosure. A St. Petersburg bankruptcy attorney can help you file for bankruptcy protection if you are located in Tampa Bay or surrounding areas of Pinellas County.

Married Couple

In Florida married couples can file for bankruptcy either as individuals or file a joint petition in a bankruptcy court. The federal bankruptcy code allows married couples to file a joint bankruptcy petition. An experienced St Petersburg bankruptcy attorney can assist you determine if you should file a joint petition or an individual petition. To file a joint petition, you must be legally married. Merely staying together will not count. If you file a joint bankruptcy petition, it will be treated as a single filing and you will have to pay the filing fee only once.

Biggest Advantage

An experienced St Petersburg bankruptcy attorney will explain to you that the biggest advantage of a joint filing over individual filing is that in individual filing the non-filing spouse will not be protected by the automatic stay nor be eligible for the benefits of the discharge. If the individual bankruptcy petition is filed under Chapter 13, the non-filing spouse will be protected if he or she is co-debtor for joint consumer debts.

Initial Meeting

During your initial meeting with an experienced St. Petersburg bankruptcy, the attorney will assist you determine whether to file a joint bankruptcy petition or individual petition. The attorney will consider the following factors to help you reach a decision:

  • The amount of debt owed
  • Joint Assets
  • Individual assets

Spouses assets

Generally an experienced St Petersburg bankruptcy attorney will advise that you file a joint bankruptcy petition if one spouse has few resources or the financial affairs of the spouses are mixed up with the other. Another advantage of joint filing is that it can prevent situations where creditors attempt to collect one spouse’s debt by going after the other’s assets. The attorney will advise you to file an individual petition when the spouse in debt has most of his or her debt in his or her name alone or if the spouse who is not in debt has many protected assets or inheritances on the horizon.

Role of an Attorney

An experienced St Petersburg bankruptcy attorney will help you determine the right bankruptcy chapter based on your circumstances. If you want to file under Chapter 7, you must pass the bankruptcy test. The attorney will explain the details of the means test. If you do not pass the means test, it does not mean that you cannot file for bankruptcy. It merely means that you cannot file under Chapter 7. You can however still file for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 13 of the federal bankruptcy code.

The fact that you are deep in debt should not prevent you from hiring an experienced St Petersburg bankruptcy attorney if you are filing for bankruptcy protection in Pinellas County. The benefits of hiring an experienced bankruptcy attorney are immense. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you know the means test?
  • How long does it take to discharge a bankruptcy?
  • Do you know the Summary of Schedules?
  • Do you know the Schedule D, E or F?

Unless you can answer these questions without looking elsewhere for answers, you are better of hiring the services of an attorney to file your bankruptcy petition. If you want to protect your assets, then your petition must be properly filed.

Knowledge of Attorney

Tampa Bay bankruptcy attorneys are professionals and understand how to work with the legal system to make the process of discharging debt as quick and painless as possible. Bankruptcy lawyers have the required knowledge and skill to get you a discharge. The bankruptcy court procedures are complex and even a minor error can result in your petition being dismissed. The qualified bankruptcy advice you will get from an experienced attorney can be priceless for pre-bankruptcy planning and for chalking out a successful bankruptcy strategy. The fees you pay to an experienced bankruptcy attorney will be nothing compared to the consequences on your personal life if bankruptcy proceedings go wrong.

There are many attorneys in Tampa area but only bankruptcy attorneys understand the complex nature of bankruptcy laws. Not all lawyers are well versed with bankruptcy laws. If you are located in the Tampa area and you are considering bankruptcy filing, then contacting an experienced St. Petersburg bankruptcy attorney is your best option. Do not waste anymore time.

Contact our office

If you would like an appointment with one of our experienced professionals, please call one of our Florida offices.

St Petersburg: 727-214-0400

Tampa: 813-749-9981

Land O’ Lakes: 863-877-0007

You also can visit our website at

For more information about filing Chapter 13, click the link below.

St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Assist You With Your Chapter 13 Payment Plan(Opens in a new browser tab)

Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Be A Fresh Start

Bankruptcy lawyer chapter 7 unemployed

Is chapter 7 or chapter 13 bankruptcy right for me?  

I read an article that said 78 percent of NFL players are broke within two years of retirement.  That’s staggering.  Unfortunately, being broke is a common occurrence in today’s economy.  Many in Tampa Bay are struggling.


Sometimes people just can’t make it work anymore.  That’s why our laws allow for bankruptcy.  Whether you’re a former NFL player or a small mom-and-pop shop, bankruptcy is a process for either erasing or restructuring your debt.  Bankruptcy can give you a fresh start. Continue reading

Bankruptcy And Your Utility Bills: Keep your utilities on!

Bankruptcy utility payment

Utility companies are different–they must continue to provide service even after bankruptcy is filed. However, under the law, companies have the right to demand “adequate protection” within 20 days of the date of filing to continue service on an ongoing basis.

What is Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy ( is a legal process whereby individual consumers and businesses can eliminate or repay some or all of their debts. If creditors are hounding you or you face repossession or foreclosure, filing for debt relief may be the right path to take. It is a complex process, however, and there are many issues to consider. Here, we will look at one of the most common areas people have questions about: how utilities and utility bills are affected by bankruptcy.

Anyone who is considering filing for debt relief should consult with an experienced attorney who can guide you through the process and answer all your questions. The Coleman Law Group, with offices ( in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Land O’ Lakes, has experienced professionals who are dedicated to providing you with sympathetic, effective, affordable representation throughout the bankruptcy process.

Chapter 7 bankruptcy

In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (, a court-appointed trustee ( cancels most or all of your debts. However, the trustee may take over and liquidate some of your property to pay back your creditors. Nevertheless, under Florida law, you may be permitted to keep certain “exempt” property, such as your car and home.

Utility bills after filing bankruptcy

Two questions many people who face bankruptcy have are: (1) whether utility companies are allowed to shut off their utilities after they file and (2) if bankruptcy protects them from having to pay ongoing utility bills.

Like it or not, utility bills are a fact of modern life. Whether you live in Clearwater, Tampa, St. Petersburg or Land O’Lakes, everyone needs water to drink and for washing every single day. And we all use energy to some degree throughout the year, to turn on the lights or keep us warm.

Discrimination Prohibited

Federal law prohibits utility companies from discriminating against people based solely on a bankruptcy filing. If you are current with your bills, utilities generally will not become an issue. However, very often this is not the case.

Usually, a creditor ( has the right to stop giving credit to someone who has filed bankruptcy. Utility companies are different–they must continue to provide service even after bankruptcy is filed. However, under the law, companies have the right to demand “adequate protection” within 20 days of the date of filing to continue service on an ongoing basis. While the statute does not precisely define “adequate protection,” in practice it means that the company can require a deposit equivalent to or based upon the amount that is overdue at the time bankruptcy is filed. Then the debtor must keep current with ongoing monthly utility bills.

List all utilities bill amounts

When filing bankruptcy, you are required to list all money then owed for utility bills. Bills that can be included in a filing include electricity, water, gas, sewage, and trash. Even less essential services such as telephone, television and internet can be included.

Consult an experienced bankruptcy attorney

More than one million people in the U.S. file for debt relief each year. Almost anyone can find themselves in the position of seeking bankruptcy protection, whether because of a failed business venture, a mortgage foreclosure, or medical bills. But the bankruptcy process is complicated, so it is important to seek out qualified professionals who have the expertise to help you navigate the legal maze.

The attorneys at the Coleman Law Group are not only dedicated to helping clients resolve their financial difficulties and obtain debt relief, they are committed to providing all their clients with the personal attention and compassionate representation they deserve.

Whether you live in Clearwater, Land O’ Lakes, St. Petersburg, Tampa, or anywhere in Pinellas County or along the Gulf Coast, please call one of the Coleman Law Group’s Florida offices to make an appointment.

St. Petersburg and Tampa: 727-214-0400

For more information about bankruptcy, click below:

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A Tampa Bankruptcy Attorney May Demonstrate Special Circumstances

Chapter 7 & 13 bankruptcy tiles

Are you a potential debtor with special circumstances that requires the attention of a skilled bankruptcy attorney?  If so, continue reading and get your questions answered.

You are deep in debt or facing inevitable foreclosure, you will need the services of bankruptcy attorneys. A Tampa bankruptcy attorney can help you with bankruptcy filing if you are located in Pinellas County or Tampa Bay. Florida bankruptcy is complex. For the best advice on Florida bankruptcy, don’t go to one of the many lawyers in Florida. You need the services of an experienced Tampa bankruptcy attorney. The attorney will file your petition in a bankruptcy court.

Special Circumstances

If your income is above the state median and you file under Chapter 13, you may be able to claim additional expenses, beyond those allowed by the means test, based on special circumstances, circumstances which may in some instances, include your need for a new car. If you are filing under Chapter 7, your non-dischargeable obligation as a co-signer on your child’s student loans may qualify as a special circumstance of a kind sufficient to rebut the presumption that your Chapter 7 case is subject to being dismissed as abuse, where your child was afflicted with a medical condition that prevented him or her from repaying the student loans, and you had no reasonable alternative but to pay the monthly student loan expense.

Tampa Bay, Florida Bankruptcy

If you are located in the Tampa area and considering bankruptcy, a Tampa bankruptcy attorney can review your circumstances and explain the deductions you can claim and the best bankruptcy chapter for you. However if the monthly payments that you are obligated to make on your non-dischargeable student loan will not constitute a special circumstance where you incurred the student loan debt in the ordinary course of acquiring her education, and not as part of retraining necessitated by any permanent injury, disability, or plant closing or when the loan could be paid as long term debt through a Chapter 13 plan. If you and your spouse are both working and have to eat outside of your home while at work will not generally amount to a special circumstance warranting an additional food expense of $400 per month for purpose of rebutting the presumption of abuse. A Tampa bankruptcy attorney can review your case for special circumstances.

401(k) and Retirement Plans

Mere fact that you have an obligation to reimburse a 401(k) Plan for a pre-petition loan is not enough to establish special circumstances rebutting presumption of abuse, but the circumstances that led to you taking an advance from the plan could demonstrate special circumstance. A Tampa bankruptcy attorney can review your circumstances and advise you on your eligibility rebutting the presumption of abuse. The fact that you retirement loan repayments would be deductible from your disposable income in a Chapter 13 case, and thus would not be required to be included in you plan payments, does not establish special circumstances rebutting the presumption of abuse arising under the means test in your Chapter 7 case.

Your obligation to repay a loan from a 401(k) employee retirement plan is not a special circumstance per se, on which you can always rely on to rebut statutory presumption that Chapter 7 petition is abusive.

Do any of these apply to you?

Rather to determine whether such an obligation qualifies as a special circumstance, the bankruptcy court will engage in a fact-specific inquiry. Your obligation to repay 401(k) loan is a special circumstance if:

  • You incurred the loan more than one year prior to the petition date, and
  • You used loan proceeds to pay credit card debt and to reduce unsecured debt that would otherwise be paid in a Chapter 13 case, and
  • You could not stop making payments unless you quit your job or paid off the loans in full.

Above Median Income

If you are an above-median-income Chapter 13 debtor and you fail to demonstrate any special circumstances to additional deductions for food, clothing and personal care expenses above and that specified in the IRS guidelines, based on the fact that your job required you to be away from home for extended periods of time and resulted in an increase in such expenses, you must explain why your extended absences from home required the additional deductions and that you had no reasonable alternative, or that such additional expenses were necessary for you to produce income or for you health and welfare.

What qualifies as special circumstances for additional deductions or to rebut the presumption of abuse requires interpretation of complex bankruptcy laws. A Tampa bankruptcy attorney can review the facts of your case and demonstrate to the bankruptcy court that your circumstances qualify as a special circumstance. Do not take any chances. If you fail to explain rebut the abuse presumption, your petition can be dismissed.

Contact the Coleman Law Group

If you would like an appointment with one of our experienced professionals, please call one of our Florida offices.

St. Petersburg and Tampa: 727-214-0400

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Coleman Law Group!

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Coleman Law Group: Read our Blogs for Bankruptcy Information! 

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