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Best Bankruptcy Attorneys in Orlando

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Anne-Marie L. Bowen, P.A. logo
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Anne-Marie L. Bowen, P.A.

816 North Thornton Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Anne-Marie L. Bowen, P.A., is an Orlando-based bankruptcy law firm that has been offering legal counsel and representation since 1994. The firm's founding attorney, Anne-Marie L. Bowen, has more than 20 years of legal practice involving bankruptcy cases. She assists her clients with their financial problems and gives advice on considering alternatives to filing bankruptcy if deemed unnecessary. Bowen has served as president and one of the board of directors of the Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.4
Avvo
4.0 / 5 (54)
Google
5.0 / 5 (29)
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (2)

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5.0
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Attorneys Justin Clark & Associates logo
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Attorneys Justin Clark & Associates

500 Winderley Place Suite 100, Maitland, FL 32751
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Attorneys Justin Clark & Associates is a legal office that caters to clients in Orlando. It represents clients who are filing for chapter 7 and 11 bankruptcy. Its lawyers also help individuals and businesses with loan modifications and foreclosure defense and negotiate on behalf of clients. The firm has been serving the community since 2008. Justin Clark, its founding partner, is a civil trial attorney who focuses his expertise on bankruptcy, real estate, and tax law. He is a member of the Orlando Claims Association.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Google
4.7 / 5 (100)
Facebook
4.7 / 5 (67)
Yelp
4.0 / 5 (4)

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5.0
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Badgley Law Group logo
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License Verified:

License: 599417

The Florida Bar

Badgley Law Group

801 North Magnolia Avenue, Orlando, FL 32803
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Badgley Law Group is an Orlando-based law firm that offers legal representation in the areas of personal injury law, bankruptcy law, and medical malpractice. Its team of bankruptcy attorneys provides solutions to clients seeking to file bankruptcy protection under chapter 7 and chapter 13 provisions. It conducts a means test before filing to decide on which type is appropriate. The firm is committed to guiding clients in every step of the filing process including defending them from harassment in debt collection.

License Verified:

License: 599417

The Florida Bar

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (139)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (70)
Facebook
4.5 / 5 (20)

(+3 additional sources)

Professionalism:

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Bartolone Law logo
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Bartolone Law

1030 N. Orange Avenue Suite 300, Orlando, FL 32801
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Bartolone Law, which caters to clients in the Orlando metro, deals with bankruptcy, real estate, and business litigation matters. Founder and managing partner Aldo G. Bartolone, Jr. has been handling consumer bankruptcy cases for nearly 20 years. He helps individuals file for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy. He also represents businesses and assists them with chapter 11 filing. Bartolone has worked on more than a thousand bankruptcy cases during the course of his career.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.4
Facebook
3.7 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Can't Afford A Lawyer PLLC logo
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Can't Afford A Lawyer PLLC

1802 N. Alafaya Trail, Orlando, FL 32826
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Can't Afford A Lawyer PLLC is a full-service debt relief agency that serves the residents of Orlando and the surrounding areas. It represents individuals who are being sued by debt collection companies, credit card companies, and banks. It helps clients manage credit card debt by negotiating for favorable settlements. In addition, the firm assists with identifying credit reporting errors and filing for chapter 7 bankruptcy. Principal attorney Christine Hansley has been practicing law for over a decade.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (19)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (12)
Justia
10.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
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Caplan & Associates logo
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Caplan & Associates

31 N Hyer Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Caplan & Associates assists Orlando residents in finding solutions for minimizing or eliminating debt. Its bankruptcy attorneys are well-versed in chapters 7 and 13 and assist clients in filing cases in bankruptcy courts. It assists clients in the elimination of unsecured debt and the personal restructuring of debt. The firm also handles family legal matters including divorce, child custody, spousal support, and pre-nuptial agreements. Its founder and chief bankruptcy lawyer, Stephen Caplan, has nearly 30 years of experience.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.8 / 5 (110)

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We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Clark Law PLLC logo
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Clark Law PLLC

501 N. Magnolia Ave, Orlando, FL 32801
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Clark Law PLLC counsels and represents clients in Orlando. Vanessa Clark, the firm's founding attorney, assists clients in obtaining debt relief through filing chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, which may stop debt collectors from contacting them forcefully, garnishing their wages, or seizing their properties. The action also helps individuals dismiss their debts, achieving a fresh financial start. Clark provides legal assistance to the Hispanic community. She has previously served on the Board of Directors of the Hispanic Bar Association of Central Florida.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (5)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (3)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Jacobs & Davis Attorneys at Law logo
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Jacobs & Davis Attorneys at Law

111 North Orange Avenue, Suite 875, Orlando, FL 32801
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Jacobs & Davis Attorneys at Law is a practice that serves the Orlando area. Its lawyers are Christopher Jacobs and Tiffany Davis, who both work on bankruptcy, debt defense, and foreclosure matters. They have experience in civil lawsuits and work on personal injury and family law cases. Jacobs and Davis also represent individuals who have been accused of a crime, including DUIs. Both of them are members of the US District Court for the Middle and Southern Districts of Florida.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.7
Google
4.8 / 5 (25)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Juan C. Burgos logo
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Juan C. Burgos

7901 Kingspointe Parkway, Suite 21, Orlando, FL 32819
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Debt Settlement

Business Description

Juan C. Burgos works with clients in the Orlando metro. He takes on bankruptcy cases and assists individuals in petitioning for chapters 7 and 13 claims. He also handles personal injury matters and provides legal representation for the victims of auto accidents and workplace injuries, helping them obtain maximum financial compensation for their lost wages and medical bills. While in law school, Burgos volunteered for the VITA Program, which aims to provide free tax services to low-income individuals.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Avvo
4.9 / 5 (8)
Google
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Latham, Luna, Eden & Beaudine, LLP Attorneys at Law logo
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Latham, Luna, Eden & Beaudine, LLP Attorneys at Law

201 S Orange Ave #1400, Orlando, FL 32801
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  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Latham, Luna, Eden & Beaudine, LLP, Attorneys at Law, provides legal assistance to commercial clients in Orlando. It helps businesses navigate the process of filing chapter 11 petitions efficiently. The firm assists with business reorganization, asset sales, debt restructuring, and refinancings. Since 1996, the law office has been protecting the interests of business owners, whether in small or complex cases. It handles hospitality, real estate, agribusiness, construction, and intellectual property law matters. The firm also practices employment law and commercial litigation.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (2)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
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––
Liz McCausland P.A. logo
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Liz McCausland P.A.

426 N Fern Creek Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Liz McCausland P.A. is a bankruptcy lawyer that represents individuals and businesses in Orlando and the surrounding cities. She and her team provide assistance to clients who are experiencing difficulties with loans, credit reports, and mortgages. McCausland's firm also handles chapter 7 and 13 case filings. In addition, she works as a mediator for the Federal Bankruptcy Court's Mortgage Modification Program and trains other lawyers on how to handle alternative dispute resolutions.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.6 / 5 (10)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Michael A. Paasch logo
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Michael A. Paasch

225 E Robinson St #600, Orlando, FL 32801
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Michael A. Paasch serves clients in Orlando and nearby areas. His chapter 13 bankruptcy assistance allows clients to keep their properties while adhering to repayment plans—while requiring unsecured creditors to obtain small debt percentages. Also on offer is counsel with chapter 7 bankruptcy, which prioritizes liquidation and the sale of non-exempt properties of debtors to creditors. Michael A. Paasch is a member of the Central Florida Bankruptcy Law Association. His firm has been providing its services since 1960.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (45)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Nardi & Nardi, P.A Attorneys at Law logo
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Nardi & Nardi, P.A Attorneys at Law

1059 Maitland Center Commons Blvd, Maitland, FL 32751
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Nardi & Nardi, P.A. Attorneys at Law serves individuals throughout the Orlando area. It deals with matters involving bankruptcy law and handles chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcy cases. It also deals with loan modifications and credit repair and negotiations and assists clients in safeguarding their rights and financial security. Perry Nardi, firm co-principal, has been representing clients for more than 20 years. He also deals with cases involving personal injury, such as those involving workplace and vehicular accidents, slips and falls, and wrongful death.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (6)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (6)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Detail
Nater Law Firm, PLLC logo
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Nater Law Firm, PLLC

337 N Fern Creek Ave, Orlando, FL 32803
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Nater Law Firm, PLLC, serves Orlando and the neighboring areas. Since 2013, the practice has been providing counsel and representation for individuals dealing with various legal issues. Its attorneys assist clients in filing for chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcy. They also handle personal injury cases, auto accident and medical malpractice suits, criminal defense, and immigration matters. Lead attorney Fanny Nater and her staff have more than 30 years of combined experience in providing legal services.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Avvo
4.8 / 5 (21)
Google
4.9 / 5 (12)
Facebook
4.6 / 5 (9)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
Richard A. Heller, P.A. logo
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Richard A. Heller, P.A.

611 Wymore Rd, Winter Park, FL 32789
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Richard A. Heller, P.A., is a firm that has been providing legal services for Orlando residents since 1990. Founding attorney Richard Heller has been practicing bankruptcy law for over three decades. He protects clients from creditor harassment, garnishment, and foreclosures and helps them determine whether filing for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy is suitable for their situation. Heller also identifies assets that are exempt from bankruptcy. The attorney has participated in the local broadcast program, Ask a Lawyer.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.9
Google
4.9 / 5 (27)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (15)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (1)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Detail
Tejes Law, PLLC logo
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Tejes Law, PLLC

7212 Curry Ford Road, Building 3, Orlando, FL 32822
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

Tejes Law, PLLC, provides representation to individuals residing in Orlando and its surrounding communities. The firm's head attorney, Josh Tejes, assists clients who are undergoing chapter 7 and 13 bankruptcy procedures. He helps them prepare various financial documents, file bankruptcy cases, and attend creditors' meetings. He also represents clients in other areas of practice, such as estate planning, elder law, debt defense, and collections actions. Tejes is a member of the ElderCounsel and American Bankruptcy Institute.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Yelp
5.0 / 5 (1)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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The Law Office of J. Craig Bourne logo
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The Law Office of J. Craig Bourne

1415 East Robinson St, Orlando, FL 32801
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Office of J. Craig Bourne is a bankruptcy and family law firm in Orlando that serves individuals, families, and businesses in the metro. The firm is headed by Craig Bourne, a Barbados-born lawyer who has been in the legal industry for more than 25 years. Craig helps clients seeking to file bankruptcy protection in the form of liquidation (chapter 7) or debt readjustment (chapter 13). He also provides mediation services in debt settlements and mortgage modifications.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Google
4.7 / 5 (17)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (5)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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The Law Offices of Astrid Vellon, P.A. logo
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The Law Offices of Astrid Vellon, P.A.

1500 S Semoran Blvd, Orlando, FL 32807
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Astrid Vellón, P.A., has been providing guidance and representation to Orlando since 2001. The firm, which practices bankruptcy law, works with people who have already tried asset liquidation, debt consolidation, or credit counseling. It declares bankruptcy under chapters 7 and 13 in order to discharge debts or obtain a repayment plan. Its namesake, Astrid Vellón, worked as a state prosecutor before opening her law firm. She also deals with family law and foreclosures.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.6
Google
4.5 / 5 (69)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (16)
FindLaw
5.0 / 5 (3)

(+1 additional source)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
4.0
Responsiveness
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Detail
––
The Law Offices of Camille Sebreth PLLC logo
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The Law Offices of Camille Sebreth PLLC

4604 Andrus Avenue, Orlando, FL 32804
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 11 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Camille Sebreth PLLC represents personal and business clients in Orlando. The small boutique firm assists with chapters 7, 11, and 13 bankruptcy, handling mortgage modifications, consumer collections, collections harassment, consumer repossession, and foreclosure representations. It helps clients eliminate and reorganize debt. The firm also provides legal services for clients in matters related to family law, estate planning, and immigration. Camille Sebreth is a member of NACBA and the Central Florida Bankruptcy Lawyers Association.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
5.0
Google
5.0 / 5 (36)
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (18)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (18)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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The Law Offices of Dean A. Reed logo
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The Law Offices of Dean A. Reed

283 Cranes Roost Blvd. Suite 111, Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
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  • Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Business Description

The Law Offices of Dean A. Reed is a legal firm that works with individuals in Orlando and nearby areas. It counsels clients in making the decision to file for chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy and creates strategies tailored to their needs. Reed and his team assess debts and assets and develop solutions to halt lawsuits, foreclosures, and wage garnishment. Reed has been practicing law for over 20 years and is a former assistant state attorney. He is also an army veteran.

Reputation:

We scour the internet for reviews from well-known resources. Each provider is evaluated based on the quality and quantity of their reviews, their presence on multiple review sites, and their average minimum rating.
4.8
Facebook
5.0 / 5 (10)
Google
4.5 / 5 (8)
Avvo
5.0 / 5 (8)

Professionalism:

We hire mystery shoppers to call our providers anonymously and evaluate them. Providers who respond quickly, answer questions thoroughly, and communicate politely score higher.
5.0
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Back to Providers

Frequently Asked Questions

What does a bankruptcy attorney do?

Bankruptcy attorneys help clients understand whether they qualify for bankruptcy and what their best options are. They also prepare and file petitions, answer questions during the proceedings, and educate clients about potential best steps for a positive bankruptcy outcome. Bankruptcy attorneys might also file motions or paperwork if creditors dispute the bankruptcy, or to stop creditors from taking collections actions forbidden by the bankruptcy.

What happens when you file bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy is a formal process that individuals, married couples, or businesses can enact when they are no longer able to pay creditors. In a bankruptcy proceeding, filers are allowed to reduce debt to more manageable levels to best pay off money owed.

Once the bankruptcy process is initiated, debt collectors can no longer seek repayments outside of the arrangements detailed in the bankruptcy settlement. Some forms of bankruptcy result in the liquidation of assets to pay back debts, while others allow filers to retain most of their possessions and investments. Many types of unsecured debt can be managed with bankruptcy filings, but not all.

Can you file bankruptcy on student loans?

Under most circumstances, student loans aren't dischargeable and aren't included in bankruptcy proceedings. In rare cases, it may be possible to eliminate student loans through bankruptcy, but only if the courts determine that continuing to pay the loans would impose an undue hardship. Meeting the criteria for undue hardship is challenging, and most bankruptcy filers don't qualify.

What is bankruptcy fraud?

Bankruptcy fraud is a blanket term that refers to any kind of dishonest bankruptcy proceeding, which can include:

  • Hiding assets by transferring them to another person or entity
  • Intentionally omitting assets when reporting to the court
  • Destroying or withholding required documents
  • Knowingly making false statements to bankruptcy trustees or creditors

How long is bankruptcy on public record?

How long bankruptcy stays on public record depends on the kind of bankruptcy filing in question. Chapter 7 bankruptcy remains on the record for 10 years as there isn't necessarily a repayment component. Chapter 13 bankruptcy remains on the record for seven years as some obligations are repaid following filing based on the terms of a discharge settlement.

Does bankruptcy clear tax debt?

Bankruptcy can clear tax debt, depending on the circumstances. Taxes are dischargeable under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, not Chapter 13, and only if the tax debt is:

  • Federal income tax debt related to current properly filed tax returns
  • Honestly incurred with no fraud or evasion
  • At least three years old
  • Assessed at least 240 days before bankruptcy filings

Existing liens are not eliminated with bankruptcy.


Can they take my car in Chapter 7 bankruptcy?

In many cases, it's possible to keep a vehicle following Chapter 7 bankruptcy. The Chapter 7 Motor Vehicle Exemption allows filers who own their vehicles outright or who are up to date with payments to keep their cars. However, those behind on making car payments are required to arrange a repayment plan. Otherwise, the vehicle may be repossessed as a part of the proceedings.

How bad is it to file bankruptcy twice?

Although possible, due to the damaging nature of bankruptcy, filing bankruptcy more than once isn't recommended. Filing multiple times puts a serious burden on one's credit report, making it harder to get a loan, buy a house, buy a car, or even open credit cards.

Note that filing for bankruptcy isn't something that can be done at a filer's leisure. There are time limits following bankruptcy cases that dictate when it's permissible to file again. For example, after Chapter 7 bankruptcy, filers must wait at least eight years before filing Chapter 7 again or four years before filing Chapter 13.

Can anyone file bankruptcy?

Anyone can file bankruptcy, but there are limitations regarding which form of bankruptcy is permissible. Qualifying for Chapter 7 requires a means test that evaluates income, debt levels, and income left over each month after paying basic obligations. Income over the median set by the court and monthly income that allows meaningful payments toward unsecured debt can disqualify filers from Chapter 7, which is generally the preferred form of bankruptcy due to the possibility of a full discharge. Anyone can file Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but the terms are less favorable. In most cases, some debts must be repaid following a successful filing. Chapter 13 is also more likely to result in asset forfeiture.

How will bankruptcy affect my credit score?

Bankruptcies are noted on credit reports. How much a bankruptcy might drop a person's credit score depends on how high the score was to begin with, but generally speaking, the hit can be as much as 100 to 200 points. Often scores are already dropping because people filing for bankruptcy may have already missed payments on debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are listed on credit reports for seven years from the filing date, while Chapter 7 bankruptcies are listed for 10 years from the filing date. This is because Chapter 13 bankruptcies require at least partial payment of debts owed.

What are the benefits of filing for bankruptcy?

Filing a bankruptcy petition causes an automatic stay. This legally stops creditors from taking further action to collect debt, including garnishing wages or foreclosing on property. Going through a bankruptcy successfully means that debts included in the bankruptcy are discharged and don't have to be paid back, except as provided in a Chapter 13 repayment plan. Bankruptcy can help someone recover from financial duress so they can make better decisions and improve financial situations in the future. Disadvantages can include temporary lower credit scores and limitations on spending and financing.

What's the difference between debt settlement and bankruptcy?

Debt settlement occurs when people negotiate with individual creditors. The creditor agrees to take a payment that's lower than what someone owes and call the debt “paid in full.” Bankruptcy is a legal process that causes debts to be dismissed after someone proves they don't currently have the means to pay their debts as owed. Typically, someone can't enter into bankruptcy and also settle some debts, because the court would see that as favoring one creditor over another.

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