Finding Legal Solutions for Bankruptcy Litigation in Broward, Miami-Dade, and Palm Beach Counties
Bankruptcy isn’t always a cut and dry process, in fact, it can become quite complex in certain situations—namely, when one party files a lawsuit against another. If you are facing a lawsuit in relation to bankruptcy, you need a knowledgeable bankruptcy litigation attorney on your side. At LSAS, our team has the skill and experience necessary to represent your case in and out of court to protect your interests and your future.
However complex your case may seem, make sure you get in touch with our firm to secure legal representation and learn more about what you’re up against.
About Bankruptcy Litigation
Bankruptcy litigation is similar to other litigation in Federal Court in that the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure apply to many of the proceedings. However, the litigation is conducted in the United States Bankruptcy Court, unless determined otherwise.
Understanding the Adversary Proceeding
The bankruptcy process often involves the determination of rights or interests through a direct legal action that is called an “adversary proceeding.”
An adversary proceeding is a complaint filed in the United States Bankruptcy Court, to determine some of the following issues:
- The right of the Debtor to the bankruptcy discharge
- The right of the Debtor to discharge certain debts
- The validity, priority and extent of certain creditors’ liens against certain assets
- The avoidance of certain transfers and the recovery of certain assets that are voidable under applicable law
- The avoidance and recovery of preferential transfers, which are transfers made on account of an antecedent debt, made during certain time periods prior to the bankruptcy filing, depending on the nature of the relationship between the debtor and the transferee.
- Successor liability or alter ego liability matters
The bankruptcy adversary proceeding for discharge and dischargeability is often confused. The words are similar, and yet have different meanings. Discharge is one of the main reasons why people file bankruptcy – to permanently avoid payment of ALL of their debts and obligations by discharging them (with some exceptions). The bankruptcy trustee or a creditor may decide to file an adversary proceeding to deny a debtor’s discharge altogether.
However, there are very specific enumerated reasons why a person’s discharge can be denied. The bankruptcy laws favor a debtor receiving a discharge, unless one of these enumerated factors apply. Some examples are transferring assets with the intention to hinder, delay or defraud a creditor, concealing or destroying financial records, making a false oath, failing to provide the trustee with financial information, failing to satisfactorily explain the loss of assets and failing to obey court orders.
Even if a person receives his or her discharge, certain debts are specifically excluded from the discharge. Debts such as domestic support obligations and certain tax debts are automatically excluded from the discharge (although there are many other categories of non-dischargeable debts). Other types of debts, require the court to determine whether they are excluded or not from the discharge. Those types of debts that require specific court determination may be subject to a dischargeability adversary proceeding.
Common types of dischargeable debts include:
- Debts that arose by false pretenses, false representations or actual fraud
- Debts that are not scheduled by the debtor
- Debts that arose by virtue of fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity
- Debts that arose by virtue of theft or embezzlement
- Debts that arose by a willful and malicious injury to another
Upon the filing of the bankruptcy case, the Debtor’s assets become part of the bankruptcy estate that is formed. However, certain assets can be claimed as exempt pursuant to applicable bankruptcy or state law. The effect of having an asset be deemed as exempt differs depending on which chapter of bankruptcy is being filed.
A creditor or a bankruptcy trustee may file a contested matter in the bankruptcy proceeding to determine whether the asset should be deemed exempt. Some examples are whether a house is entitled to homestead exemption, or whether an account is entitled to an exemption as a retirement account, pension or annuity.
We’re Here To Help
Our attorneys at Leiderman Shelomith Alexander + Somodevilla, PLLC have considerable experience in bankruptcy litigation, representing debtors, creditors, trustees and third parties. Our attorneys have conducted trials and evidentiary hearings, and have also briefed and argued bankruptcy appeals to the United States District Court. We are prepared to help you if you are dealing with a bankruptcy litigation matter.
Contact Leiderman Shelomith Alexander + Somodevilla, PLLC today to get in touch with our Florida attorneys.
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