Frequently Asked Questions
Is there a fee for the initial consultation with the Attorney?

Yes. The consultation fee varies based on the complexity on your situation. For a consultation involving a basic personal Bankruptcy there is a fee of $100.00 for 30 minutes; however, should your situation be more complex, the consultation fee is $250.00. Complex matters include, but are not limited to: involvement in/ownership of a business (whether incorporated, an LLC, self-employment, sole proprietorship, or "side" work); involvement in any lawsuit (including, but not limited to, foreclosures, money due for loans or credit cards, etc.); and/or, ownership of investment/rental properties. In these circumstances you should expect to pay $250.00. Your initial consultation fee will be credited toward the full attorney's fees due in the event you file Bankruptcy with our office within the following six months. Please call our office at (407) 228-1300 to schedule your appointment and obtain a consultation fee quote over the phone which applies to your specific situation.

Does your office have payment plans?

Yes! We work with each client individually to provide them with the flexibility necessary for them to retain our firm.

What areas of law do you practice?

I help clients through financial difficulties by advising them of their best course of action and through Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 Bankruptcies, as well as through student loan consolidation, repayment, and counseling, negotiations with creditors, foreclosure defense, and mortgage modification mediation.

What should I bring to my initial consultation?

1. A list. You will need to bring a simple, complete list of everyone you owe money to with the amount you owe to each company or person. Just write the name of the bank, company or person and the total balance due. Your handwritten or typed list should include your home mortgages, vehicles, credit cards, bank loans, personal loans, student loans, and medical bills.

2. Law Suit Documents. If you have received any papers from an attorney bring them. If you have been sued or anyone has taken you to Court, bring those papers to your first meeting with the attorney.

What should I NOT bring to my initial consultation with the attorney?

Please, please do not bring a big stack of bills or your credit reports. The attorney will spend time getting to know you and your problems, rather than reviewing all of your bills. That way she can advise you of all your options and answer all of your questions. If you arrive at your appointment with only a credit report or a large pile of bills, you will not be able to meet with Ms. Bowen until you have prepared the simple list (discussed above) with the creditor’s name and the total balance you owe to each person or company.

What are the different kinds of Bankruptcy?

There are four different types of Bankruptcy including Chapters 7, 11, 12, and 13. At your initial consultation, the attorney will explain the various types of Bankruptcy as well as other non-Bankruptcy options which may apply to your specific situation.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy is called a "Liquidation" and is the most common type of Bankruptcy filed. In general, most people in Chapter 7 keep most of their property and erase most of their debt within a short period of time. There are a lot of exceptions here, so talk to the attorney to fully understand if you qualify for Chapter 7.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is called a "Reorganization" or a "Wage Earner" Bankruptcy. In this type of Bankruptcy you consolidate all of your bills into one monthly payment. You pay for 3 or 5 years. Generally, you do not have to pay back all of your debts - only what you can afford to pay back. Chapter 13 is often used by people who are behind in their mortgage or car payments, who have tax obligations, who own a lot of property which they would otherwise lose in a Chapter 7, who have the ability to repay some, but not all of their debt, or who just have a strong desire to repay what they can.

Chapter 11 Bankruptcy is a Reorganization for Corporations trying to stay in business. Some individuals who do not qualify for Chapter 13 must file Chapter 11. However, it is a very complex and expensive type of Bankruptcy, so most individuals try not to fall into this category.

Chapter 12 Bankruptcy is for Family Farmers and Fisherman. We have almost no farmers or professional fisherman in Central Florida, so it is not a type of Bankruptcy we usually see in Orlando. Out of the thousands and thousands of cases filed in the 5 county area of Central Florida that makes up our Orlando Division of the Bankruptcy Court, only a handful have been Chapter 12's in the last decade.

How long does this process take?

A Chapter 7 case usually takes between 4-6 months. A Chapter 13 case can take between 3-5 years.

What is a Discharge?

A Discharge is a Court Order that states that you are no longer responsible to pay most of your debts.

Can I wipe out my student loans in bankruptcy?

The truth is, almost never can you erase student loans through bankruptcy. In fact, I have never seen it done in the over two decades that I have been practicing law in Orlando. However, there are many different repayment options to pay them back and I can help determine which one will be the best option for you and can help put you in a financially affordable repayment plan if you are struggling to make your student loan payments. If you would like to discuss your options with me, please call my office to schedule an appointment at (407) 228-1300.

Will I be able to obtain credit after filing for Bankruptcy?

Yes! You will be offered credit immediately after your Bankruptcy case is "Discharged" or done. However, you can expect to pay higher interest rates initially than someone who never had financial problems.

How long will a Bankruptcy Notice stay on my credit?

A Bankruptcy filing will remain on a credit report for 10 years.

Will I ever be able to purchase a home if I file Bankruptcy?

Yes! Most people can buy or refinance a house at a decent interest rate three years after Bankruptcy. Some mortgage brokers say they will lend you money to buy a home one day after Bankruptcy, but watch out for ridiculously high interest rates!

How long until I can purchase another car?

Usually you can buy a new or used car immediately after Bankruptcy. With your Discharge in hand, most any creditor in town will finance your purchase — but at a very high interest rate.

Do I have to include all of my credit cards and bills when I file Bankruptcy?

Yes. You must report/include ALL of your debts. You can still agree to pay some of your debts after Bankruptcy, but you must disclose all debts to the Court. Please ask the attorney to discuss the difference between a "legal obligation" and a "moral obligation" if this disclosure concerns you.

Do I have to go to Court?

Yes. Usually one time for Chapter 7 cases and twice for Chapter 13 cases. The attorney will fully prepare you for the hearings so that you do not have to worry about what to expect.

What do I need to bring to Court?

Your Driver’s License showing your current address and your Social Security card.

Is there anything I have to do before going to a Court meeting?

Before the §341 Creditor's Meeting you must read the U.S. Trustee’s Information Sheet which we mail to you. You will not be tested on it, but you want to be able to tell the Trustee that you did review the sheet.

Does your firm accept credit cards as payment for your fees?

No. We accept cash, cashier’s checks, official checks, or money orders for payment.

Will I be able to keep my home? ... my car?

Usually. It depends on a lot of factors, and this question can best be determined by scheduling an office appointment.

How can I schedule an appointment?

You can schedule an appointment by contacting our office Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Our staff will gladly assist you in finding a time that is convenient for you.

The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely upon advertisements. Before you decide, ask us to send you free written information about our qualifications and experience. The U.S. Congress has designated us as a Debt Relief Agency. We proudly help people file for Bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code. Read full disclaimer.
NACBA Bankruptcy Relief American Bankruptcy Institute
© Anne-Marie L. Bowen, P.A. 2004 - 2017. All rights reserved.