In Florida and across the US, bankruptcy is filed in federal court and follows the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. Under this procedure, bankruptcy courts follow the U.S. Bankruptcy Code that was established in 1978.

Bankruptcy may be filed under Chapters 11, 7 or 13 by an individual or a business, and the filing will create an automatic stay that acts as an injunction against creditors. This means that creditors may not collect on debts that were incurred before the bankruptcy filing. In this way, the bankruptcy filing will give the debtor temporary relief from all creditors, including the courts and the government.

The stay created from a bankruptcy filing will suspend a debtor’s garnishment of wages, housing foreclosure, divorce proceedings, sheriff car repossession, freezing of bank accounts and creditor collection calls. This stay will remain in effect until a federal judge lifts the stay order on behalf of a creditor who has filed a motion to do so, or the bankruptcy petition is dismissed. If a creditor violates a stay, it may face penalties or be on the hook for the attorney fees of the debtor.

Federal bankruptcy judges have 30 days to set a court date for a bankruptcy filing and another 30 days to set the final hearing. Hearings can be expedited depending on the nature of the bankruptcy petition, and different procedures will be followed depending on whether the filing involves lawsuits, insurance claims or past-due housing or car payments.

It is important to get assistance from the right bankruptcy attorney when filing bankruptcy under Chapters 7, 11 or 13. A bankruptcy lawyer has the knowledge to offer detailed bankruptcy assistance that is tailored to a person’s individual needs during this challenging time. Starting off on the right foot with a bankruptcy filing can lead to a quick rebound in the future.