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N7SC

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  1. FWIW, I had a paid appointment with a bankruptcy attorney to help sort out the original question I posted, above. Here is what the attorney said, hopefully to help someone in the future: Because we pool our income to support the whole household, do as follows: On the Form 22A, for the Means Test - Show my gross income, and then, on Line 10 a, bring in my Parents' gross income. Since we are below the limit for the means test even with everyone's income included, stop right there. In our district, the attorney said, that is all it takes. On Schedule I (income), enter my gross, deduct my taxes (I have no other deductions) to get my net, then, on line 13, bring in my Parents' NET income, to arrive at the household's average monthly income. On Schedule J (Expenditures), list all household expenditures, including my student loan payments, my parents' credit card payments, their mortgage, etc. It all makes sense to do it this way because we really do pool our funds, and we'd never be able to make it otherwise. It provides the court and trustee with full disclosure of everything and makes it clear that this is not an abusive filing. Actually, it wound up being pretty scary when we saw just how close to the edge we live. We really don't wind up with much or any disposable income.
  2. Thanks, that is what I thought, based on my readings too. For future reference about Florida's new, higher exemption, the applicable Florida Statute is Section 222.25 and reads (note sub section 4) 222.25 Other individual property of natural persons exempt from legal process.--The following property is exempt from attachment, garnishment, or other legal process: (1) A debtor's interest, not to exceed $1,000 in value, in a single motor vehicle as defined in s. 320.01. (2) A debtor's interest in any professionally prescribed health aids for the debtor or a dependent of the debtor. (3) A debtor's interest in a refund or a credit received or to be received, or the traceable deposits in a financial institution of a debtor's interest in a refund or credit, pursuant to s. 32 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended. This exemption does not apply to a debt owed for child support or spousal support. (4) A debtor's interest in personal property, not to exceed $4,000, if the debtor does not claim or receive the benefits of a homestead exemption under s. 4, Art. X of the 1State Constitution. This exemption does not apply to a debt owed for child support or spousal support. Subsection 4 was just added this year, and only applies if you don't claim a homesteaded property, which I don't. The old $1000 exemption is under the constitution, and some bankruptcy attorneys say that the two exemptions add together for those without a homestead to exempt, thus giving a total of $5000 in exemptions. That is not a factor for me, though, because my total personal property is only worth a little under $2000 But at least it all fits under the $4000 exemption
  3. I live in Fla, and have very little in my bank accounts, about $1040. Because I don't own a homesteaded property, under Fla law I get a $4000 exemption for personal property. Can I claim the bank accounts under that, or does it only apply to clothes, books, etc?
  4. From a conversation with a bankruptcy attorney, I would have to include my parents' income, but that still does not cause a problem as my income combined with theirs is still low enough to qualify for a chapter 7 without having to do the whole means test. Further, my income is not all disposable: Due to my work hours, which vary, I only eat dinner at home four or five nights a week, the rest I pay for. I buy my own lunch 5 days a week, and sometimes breakfast too. I buy my own clothes, shoes, some of my grooming supplies, etc. Some months this all actually costs more than I make. And, although they haven't needed it yet, I will willingly help out my parents if they need to borrow a few hundred $$ to make it through a month. What I would like to know, without having to pay the high fees attorneys charge, is what complexities arise from my situation. The forms for bankruptcy seem to all be geared to debtors who live on their own or with spouses. I do have an appointment with an attorney who may help, but I can only just barely afford it. The jam here is that I need to file to get a creditor off of my back, but can't really afford the high cost of having an attorney handle the whole filing for me.
  5. I need to file a chapter 7, am over 21, and live at home with my parents. The total household income, including my parents', is low enough to easily qualify me for chapter 7. But I have a question: In filling out the form 22A, for the income and means test, do I stop at the end of Part III? Even if I include my parents' income I certainly qualify. Or, since I live with my parents, rent-free, do I have to complete the rest of the whole form and declare that the free lodging is equivalent to some kind of income for me?
  6. Depending on what you mean by "CO" that could bring up an interesting twist. If you mean "charge off", then, what do you think about this: According to my credit report, the amount that the JDB is claiming I owed the Orig. Creditor is the "High Balance" shown on the Experian credit report. The Experian report shows a charge off or write off (they use both terms) of more than half of the amount that the JDB is claiming I owe. The amount that shows on Experian as the "Recent Balance" is less than half what the JDB is claiming I owed. The Equifax report shows the account as charged off, with no mention of a balance as high as what the JDB is trying to collect. Is this good for me, and if so, how do I use it, if I have to?
  7. Did not ask for validation (yes, I know . . .). But from what I've seen so far, the JDB has nothing from OC. What if the judge asks me if I ever had a credit card or account with the OC? Then what do I say, without admitting, and without looking like I'm doing a legal tap dance trying to avoid admitting that I did have the account with the OC? Heck, can the judge take a "legal tap dance" into consideration, and decide, right then and there, that he thinks I owe the money and enter a judgement to that effect? FWIW, even the court clerk says that most people, 85% to 90% never even show up for these credit card suits. However, the judge is said to be very casual or relaxed. I don't know if this going to be in my favor or not if I start filing denials and memoranda of law.
  8. In Florida, Small Claims. For a pre-trial conf. the judge will likely ask if I admit or deny the claims of the plaintiff, a JDB, where I want to force the JDB to prove their case (they probably can't). What do I do if the judge does not ask in technical/legal terms, but takes a more easy-going, get-to-the-truth kind of approach and asks "Did you ever receive a credit card from XXX, did you use it, and do you owe them the money?" Or something to that effect. Is he allowed to put me in a position to have to admit the debt or risk perjury, even if the JDB can not prove it? Isn't that kind of intimidating a defendant or possibly violating my rights to have the plaintiff prove their case (or make them meet their burden of proof)?
  9. bump . . . Please, I really need to know what to do about this. Can they introduce the so-called "statement of account," Exhibit A, at a later date? For example just before, or even at, the pre-trial conference? Must the judge, in Florida Small Claims, adhere to the same standards of evidence that a judge would in Circuit Court? Does the plaintiff need to prove the whole chain of custody of the records? Must the custodian of the records appear in Small Claims? Or, in Small Claims, is it sufficient just for them to say "we have this account that the defendant owes," and thus shift the burden of proof on to me? If the judge is too relaxed about the rules of evidence, chain of custody, etc. is there any way to appeal to Circuit. I sure don't want to take it to County court because that is the same judge!
  10. Hello, and an a priori thanks to everyone for this superb web site. Have been studying things here for a while. But, as a newbie, would like to make sure that I am reaching right conclusions. Answering the Admin's Questions should provide background, my questions follow later: 1. Being sued by a JDB who purchased the debt, in Florida, small claims court. 2. For $1400 + costs + fees + prejudgement interest (all unspecified amounts) 3. OC was a credit card company/bank (a VISA card), not the plantiff 4. & 5. Was served, at home, by a Sheriff's Deputy 6. The JDB sent me letters which I, unfortunately, ignored 7. I'm in Florida 8. Don't know exact date of last payment. Only one I have record of was in June 2003, but there may have been a few since then. None since early 2005 or maybe earlier. All were to the OC, though. 9. Stauts of case? We have a pre-trial hearing/mediation in late October. 10. & 11. Never disputed, never DV'd (yes, I know, now, from reading this forum that I should have). 12. Summons does not SEEM to require a response, but does state that any counterclaim must be filed at least 5 days prior to the pre-trial conference. Court Clerk said by phone that I can answer if I want to, but won't loose by default in small claims if I don't. He said it is not like Circuit Civil court. This is an important factor in my strategy, below. Fl. Small Claims rules don't even mention replying to a complaint. 13. Evidence attached to my copy of the summons is the pleading, and an affidavit of an employee of the JDB (NOT the OC) stating that, in addition to the usual crap (he is over 18, authorized, maintains books of JDB, etc.): He has reviewed the books of the JDB with respect to my indebtedness and they reflect that I have an outstanding balance of $1400 "The account originated with the assignor named above and was on sold, transferred, and set over [sic]" to the JDB ***NOTE that the date of sale of the debt to the JDB is missing*** That the JDB has full power and authority to do and perform, all acts for collection, etc. There were no uncredited payments That a copy of the statement of account is attached here to as Exhibit A, and remains unpaid. ***Note that my served copy of the complaint and Affidavit do not have any Exhibits attached. Further, the Court Clerk said by phone that their computer system shows no Exhibits attached either*** 14. SOL on the debt is probably 5 years in Florida, if I understand what I have read on this and other forums correctly, as it is a VISA card, not a store card. My Proposed Strategy and Questions: 1. Get my fanny down to the court house and get copies of everything in the file to make SURE that the JDB/Plaintiff did not attach the Exhibit to the Affidavit. 2. If they failed to attach any proof that I owe them anything, then I need to determine absolutely whether or not I need to formally file an answer in a Florida Small Claims action within the 20 day limit, after service, that a normal Circuit Civil action has to be answered in. That was a lousy sentence, sorry, but you get the idea. 3. If it is really true that I don't have to answer in 20 days in small claims, I will probably hold off until the 5-days-before-pre-trial deadline, to avoid letting the plaintiff know that I plan to deny the claim. On the other hand, if I have to answer sooner to insure that I don't default, then, of course, I will. 4. In either case, will keep a low, polite, and gentle profile, just denying the plaintiff's claims, and requesting strict proof thereof. I won't tip my hand that I am preparing a solid defense by studying case law, "Sheppardizing" the cases, and preparing briefs and a case book for the judge (a binder with copies of the cases to hand to the judge if he wants to see them). Save that surprise for the JDB's attorney in court. Your comments and suggestions on my strategy are solicited and welcome. Now, if this works, I'm concerned about what to tell the judge at the pre-trial if he actually asks me "Is the debt yours?" or "Did you have a credit card issued by XYZ and use it or incur this debt?" I don't want to admit it, don't want to look like I'm dancing around to avoid telling the truth, and don't want to commit perjury either. I hear that they are pretty informal at small claims court and am concerned that, in order to get to the heart of the matter, the judge might just ask such a question directly. If they really did not attach anything to an affidavit that is from their own guy is this really a big break for me? Don't they have to prove that the account with the OC actually existed and that I used it to rack up the debt that they bought? I mean that they could easily provide an affidavit from their own employee stating that virtually anyone owes them money on some, unproven account they claim to have bought. Right? Thanks in advance.
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