You’re Not Alone
With its high-interest rates and late fees, credit card debt can quickly become difficult to manage, but you can potentially eliminate it by filing for bankruptcy in Florida. If you cannot make the minimum payments on your credit cards, the attorneys at Carolyn Secor, P.A. may be able to help you. Our attorneys offer experienced legal counseling and representation in the area of bankruptcy law, including the resolution of credit card debt.
Types of Debt Created by Credit Cards
Credit card debt can accumulate quickly. Late payment penalties, high-interest rates, and other fees can add up and hamper your ability to make even the minimum payments on your debt. When this happens, the credit card company can sue you to collect on the debt.
Credit card debt is, for the most part, an unsecured debt. Unsecured debt has no security interest in any property. In other words, there is no collateral for the debt, and a creditor cannot take property for the money it lent you. For example, a credit card company usually has no interest in any of your properties. A mortgage, on the other hand, is a secured debt because the lender can take your home through foreclosure if you fail to make your monthly mortgage payments.
Although most credit cards create an unsecured debt, some credit card debt is secured. If you have a credit card issued by a retail store, for example, the property you purchase on the credit card may be repossessed if you fail to make your credit card payments. While a creditor may have the right to take this property, it may be impractical to actually repossess it. In many cases, the credit card company will instead pursue wage garnishment as a way to collect on the debt.
Eliminating Credit Card Debt in Bankruptcy
If a credit card company sues you for any outstanding debt and wins, a court will issue an order for wage garnishment. Your employer will withhold a portion of your wages to pay the credit card company. Although the amount of wage garnishment is limited, it can still have a detrimental impact on your ability to make other debt payments, such as your mortgage or car payments.
You can eliminate your credit card by filing for bankruptcy. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, your assets will be liquidated to pay off any creditors. Creditors are paid in order of priority. Credit card debt is typically a non-priority claim. There is usually not enough money to pay non-priority claims in Chapter 7 bankruptcy. If payments are made, they are paid on a pro-rata basis. This means that each non-priority creditor will receive the same percentage of its claim. Any remaining credit card debt you have is eliminated once you receive a Chapter 7 bankruptcy discharge.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize your debt. You can eliminate your credit card debt by making payments based on your proposed debt repayment plan over the course of three or five years. Your proposed payment amounts should be reasonable and appropriate based on your level of income. Once you complete the plan, you will receive a discharge of any remaining credit card debt. The process is much longer than in Chapter 7, but it is still a viable option for individuals with enough disposable income to make some payments on their credit card debt.
Filing for bankruptcy places an automatic stay on any attempts to collect on your debts. It halts wage garnishment, stops incessant phone calls and other forms of creditor harassment, and prevents a credit card company from filing a lawsuit against you for nonpayment.