Bankruptcy FAQ


BANKRUPTCY! The very word can send chills up your spine, but it doesn’t have to!
It may be helpful for your peace of mind to know that for many who have travelled down this road, the decision to file for bankruptcy turned out to be their best possible option given the difficult circumstances that confronted them. You aren’t alone!

As experienced attorneys here at Ochoa & Rubio, we’re here to guide you through what must seem like an extraordinarily stressful and difficult series of steps to get you to a point of relief and freedom. Your goal is to get out from under the mounting debt and difficulties associated with your bills. We offer a FREE Consultation where we get to know your situation and recommend different options for your unique case.

Only ‘losers’ file for bankruptcy.

Not True. There are many reasons why people at all levels of society may find bankruptcy a valid and necessary option for recovery. Then there are those who have suffered through a difficult divorce or a devastating illness making bankruptcy the perfect choice to stave off even greater problems. Life is never perfect. We’re fortunate we have such a legal device that allows us to move on with a fresh start.

The world is going to know if I go bankrupt.

While bankruptcy is a public proceeding, that doesn’t mean that someone’s going to take out newspaper ads and notify all your friends on Facebook with the news. Unless you tell someone, most often the only people who will know your situation will be your creditors.

The things I own will be taken by my creditors.

This is one the biggest misconceptions. Though every state has some differences in what exemptions (or protections) they allow, for the most part, you will not lose your house, your car (up to a certain value), money in qualified retirement plans, such as 401Ks, or IRAs, general household goods, tools for your work, and clothing.

I’ll never have good credit again if I file bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy is not a prison sentence. It’s a temporary setback. True, credit may cost you more as a result than what it was in the past, but it won’t disappear from your life altogether.

Filing bankruptcy could cost me my job!

NO! An employer cannot fire you because you filed bankruptcy. Nor can an employer take any other adverse action as a result of a bankruptcy.

Will my debts follow me if I’m unemployed and I just ignore them?

Another notion that stops some people from filing bankruptcy is thinking that their problem will simply “go away all by itself” if they just ignore their debts. They won’t. Bankruptcy is the logical and positive solution. In Florida, you can still be sued for certain bad debts for a four year period and some debts can be collected for another 20 years after that.

Can I max out all my credit cards and then file bankruptcy?

In a word, NO! That would be considered fraud. Bankruptcy trustees will go over all your purchases from the months immediately prior to your filing. If they find the slightest evidence of what could be considered fraud, you could be immediately responsible for paying back all the money you charged. Further, your case could be dismissed and you’d be back where you started – and with more debt!

All my debts will be wiped out in bankruptcy.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way. A careful analysis of your entire indebtedness by your attorney will sort out what will go and what has to stay.  But certain types of debt such as child support, alimony, student loans, taxes, and anything incurred as the result of fraud cannot be discharged.

Is it true that I can only file for bankruptcy once?

It is possible to file multiple bankruptcies but it has everything to do with your circumstances at the time of an inquiry.

How Long Do Bankruptcy Cases Take?

The length of a bankruptcy case depends on a variety of circumstances and which type of bankruptcy you file (Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, the two main types of personal bankruptcy). A Chapter 7, (Liquidation Bankruptcy) can take as little as three to six months Whereas, Chapter 13, (Repayment or Reorganization Bankruptcy), will take somewhere between 3 to 5 years to reach your discharge.


Will a Bankruptcy Show on My Credit Report?

Yes. Most types of bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for approximately seven to ten years.

How Do I Stop Creditors from Calling?

Should you decide to file bankruptcy, you effectively silence your creditors. A bankruptcy filing results in a court order which makes it illegal for creditors to attempt to continue collection efforts on your debt.

If I am Married, Must We File Bankruptcy Together?

No. There may be very good reasons why only one spouse would want to file. Whether you file alone or as a married couple is a decision that you can work through with your attorney once they have all the facts of your specific case.