How long does one have to live in a home before it can qualify as an exempt asset for a Chapter 7?

Get Legal Help Today

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption

How long does one have to live in a home before it can qualify as an exempt asset for a Chapter 7?

I owe double what my home is worth. I have a rental condo that I also owe approximately double what it is worth. I make about half the income that I used to, and I have nearly drained my savings trying to hold on. However, my father passed away a couple of years ago, and I soon will have ownership of an island duplex free and clear. I’m thinking of moving into it and claiming chapter 7. Will the island duplex be exempt from the bankruptcy? Is there a certain amount of time that I need to live in the duplex before it will qualify for the homestead exemption in Chapter 7? Should I speak with a bankruptcy attorney? I Manatee County, FL.

Asked on November 2, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, Florida

Answers:

M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

First of all, it must be your primary residence before you file.  Assuming that it is (and you are a legal FL resident), I could find no specific provision for how long prior you would have to live in it.  Basically, if its your home then the homestead exception can apply.  However, a judgement which is recorded before a debtor acquires and occupies a homestead attaches the property, and such lien is not avoided in a subsequent Chapter7 bankruptcy.  If the creditor records its judgment when the property is already the debtor’s homestead then the judgment lien cannot be enforced against what is the debtor’s homestead property.  So you must move in, establish the house as your primary residence, and file - prior to any creditor getting a judgement against you and attaching the house.

Frankly, since this can all get comlicated and technical, your really ned to consult with a bankruptcy attoreny in your area for a fuller discussion of your rights. 


IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although AttorneyPages.com has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

Get Legal Help Today

Find the right lawyer for your legal issue.

 Secured with SHA-256 Encryption