Ft. Lauderdale Bankruptcy BLOG

Bankruptcy Filing Fees Increase June 1

Posted on by Jeffrey Solomon

The filing fees for bankruptcy are increasing on June 1.  Chapter 7 filing fees will be $335.00 and chapter 13 filing fees will be $310.00.  As for Chapter 11, the increase in fee will now require $1,717.00 to be paid to the clerk of bankruptcy court.

Florida Means Test Changes April 1, 2014

Posted on by Jeffrey Solomon

The median income used for the bankruptcy means test changes on April 1, 2014.   The median income figures slightly increase.  These figures are the starting point for determining eligibility between chapter 7 and chapter 13. The list below is the median income for each household size: 1    $41,939   2.    $ 52,598   3.     $ 54,742   4.   $64,122, and an additional $8100 for each additional person in the household.  These figures will now be used for any Florida bankruptcy including Fort Lauderdale bankruptcy filings.

Law v Siegel: Supreme Court Strongly Protects Exemptions from Trustees

Posted on by Jeffrey Solomon

The United States Supreme Court on March 4, 2014 in Law v Siegel thwarted a trustee’ s attempt to surcharge the homestead exemption.  Based on a strict statutory construction, Justice Scalia for a unanimous court gave debtors great protection to assert their statutory exemption rights.  In a highly pro-debtor opinion, the Court basically held that Congress created a scheme for exempt property, and the courts cannot avoid congressional intent by creating other exceptions that are not in the Code.  Though trustees and creditors might have other remedies, exempt property remains exempt.  This case could have a great impact in Florida bankruptcy cases. Below is the syllabus of the Opinion. Slip Opinion) OCTOBER TERM, 2013 Syllabus NOTE: Where it is feasible, a syllabus (headnote) will be released, as is being done in connection with this case, at the time the opinion is issued. The syllabus constitutes no part of the opinion of the Court but has…
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11th Circuit Says No Chapter 20 Lien Strip: Binding Authority?

Posted on by Jeffrey Solomon

Suppose a debtor has already filed chapter 7 and discharged his or her debts.  The debtor then files a chapter 13 and attempts to strip off a second mortgage. There have been differing opinions across the country, but locally the judges in the Southern District of Florida have said no.   A debtor who is not eligible to receive a discharge cannot strip a second mortgage. On October 29, 2013 the 11th Circuit held that the lien strip cannot take place in a Chapter 13 after the chapter 7 discharge.  The issue now seems resolved within this circuit which includes Florida-or does it?  See In re Colbourne, 2013 WL 5789159, 2013 US App Lexis 22011.  Colbourne is another unpublished opinion by the 11th Circuit which does not create binding precedent, though should be persuasive.  Also, the case involved non-homestead property.  The court expressly stated that it was not ruling as to junior liens…
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Debt on Stripped Association Liens May Survive When Condo Sold

Posted on by Jeffrey Solomon

Though Fort Lauderdale chapter 13 cases routinely enable a debtor to strip the association lien for the amounts due prior to the filing of the bankruptcy, a recent case limits the benefit of eliminating the lien.  This lien stripping of association liens seems to be well settled law amongst the bankruptcy judges in Florida.  Thus a debtor who is way behind to his association, and might be on the eve of foreclosure with the association, can file chapter 13 and eliminate that lien if the property is worth less then the balance of the first mortgage.  (Note that if the association cannot be stripped, the debtor can still pay the arrears plus the current fees over 5 years.) The debtor would continue to owe monthly payments on the current association fees as long as the debtor remains on title. Associations have tried to find a legal argument against this lien strip…
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