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Ellen, Attorney
Category: Bankruptcy Law
Satisfied Customers: 36714
Experience:  Bankruptcy Lawyer. Experienced.
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I live in Florida. To start with, my credit is spotless (716

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I live in Florida. To start with, my credit is spotless (716 FICO). I have no problem paying the mortgage on my primary home; however, I am saddled with massive credit card debt that will take me forever to repay, as well as a first & second mortgage for a second home which is currently rented out. (I was going to sell my current home and move into the new one but the builder lied about construction timetable and by the time it was finished, the real estate market tanked. Most of the credit card debt is a result of trying to keep that house's mortgage up to date.) Worse, I was laid off 2 months ago and have not yet found a job.

I am seriously thinking about declaring bankruptcy to start fresh but am worried about how that will affect the terms of my primary home mortgage, which I want to continue paying as normal. Would that be affected if I don't default on it? I could even pay some of the credit card debt if they agree to reduce it. Can you give me some advice? Thanks!


You can file bankruptcy WITHOUT the bankruptcy affecting the terms of your primary mortgage.

As an individual, there are two types of bankruptcy available. A Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13. A Chapter 7 may be of help to you.

There are distinct differences in between a Chapter 7 and a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

A Chapter 7 bankruptcy could discharge (erase) all of your unsecured debt such as credit cards and personal loans. It would be an opportunity for a fresh financial start. However, you may have to surrender assets that exceed your exemption.

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a repayment plan for an individual. It may require that you repay some of your unsecured credit card debt over a 3 -5 year period. However, you may retain assets that exceed your exemption.

Here are the exemptions for Florida:

It would be best to retain local counsel to assist in the filing.
Ellen and other Bankruptcy Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Thanks, XXXXX XXXXX helpful. Can you clarify one thing with regard to assets: I am pretty sure they would not be able to touch my IRA account, which was a rollover of my 401k when I lost my job. But can they touch my Schwab brokerage account if it is basically the only thing right now that is allowing me to make money and pay my debts?

You are correct about your Ira - it is exempt from the creditor claims. Unfortunately a regular brokerage account would not be exempt and could be lost.