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Should I file in California or Florida?

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  • Should I file in California or Florida?

    (1) I have not had an actual home for the past 2 years. I've been working off and on as an Independent Contractor during this time which we worked in a different city/state everyday. During my off time I would spend it split up between California, Florida, and a little bit in Nevada. My license is still Florida, but the company I'm hired out of, bank account, and phone bill, is all out of California. I also lived in CA the 6 months prior to starting the past 2 years as an Independent Contractor. I read there's a rule regarding the number of days you've spent in a state regardless of your actual state of residency.

    (2) If I was able to file in California I hear they have a generous Wild Card Exemption. I do not have a home, rental property, or vehicle. At the time of filing I will have around $12,000 in wages saved up from the past 6 months. I literally live out of a suitcase and only have clothes, a laptop, and digital camera to my name. Would I be able to exempt the cash and those few items using the Wild Card?

    (3) If I had to file in Florida, someone said I could exempt the $12,000 bc it is earned wages from the past 6 months, and by florida law I can keep 6 months wages at $500 per week. I could not find this anywhere and was curious if anyone could validate this for me?

    (4) If that is too much money on hand then what should I do with it? I do not have permanent housing so it's impossible to stock up on food, if I do live somewhere it is "month to month", and if I needed to buy a car to retain some of the money, how much can be spent on it? Could I get Lasik Surgery and Dental work and that be a legitimate expense before filing?



    Thank you for your time and help!!!!

  • #2
    CA has a wildcard of close to $22k (which you can use to exempt cash) in addition to all it's other fairly generous exemptions. If CA is an option for you, it's the way to go!
    Filed Chapter 13 on 2-28-10. 341 completed 4/14/10. Confirmed 5/14/10. Lien strip granted 2/2/11
    0% payback to unsecured creditors, 56 payments down, 4 to go....

    Comment


    • #3
      Hi again AFIsurfer,

      lived in CA the 6 months prior to starting the past 2 years ...this is the key, for state hoppers you use the rules of where you spent the majority of the 6 months before the 2 yrs prior to filing. (majority = 91 days)

      Now for the actual filing (handing paperwork over to a court clerk) is called venue and can be in a different state if you have been there 90 days or more. (saves on travel)

      I think I was the one who gave you the Florida 12K wage exemption, here is a link that has it and other exemptions too:

      http://www.thebankruptcysite.org/exe...s/florida.html

      Here are the CA exemptions:

      http://www.thebankruptcysite.org/exe...alifornia.html

      System 1 was designed for people with a chunk of real estate to protect.
      System 2 has lots of nice non-real estate exemptions (exempt more 'stuff')

      Buying a car is legit, just don't put down more than the state exemption (CA 3300 Fla only 1000)

      Dental work is legit, imagine Lasik would be too,

      Need some better CA knowledge: Can any of the 'personal property' exemptions be cash?

      Good luck to you,

      Tom in Colo
      Ch7 filed 5/12/2010.....341 meeting 6/30/2010....report of no distribution 8/15/2010.....discharged 10/01/2010.....closed 11/09/2010

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by tcreegan View Post

        Need some better CA knowledge: Can any of the 'personal property' exemptions be cash?


        Tom in Colo
        Yep, you can exempt cash, or if the car has more than the $3300 exemption, you can exempt the difference of that too. You can exempt pretty much anything with the wildcard. We actually had around $12k of our wildcard unused, so my attorney exempted our future tax refunds too, lol. CA is AWESOME!
        Filed Chapter 13 on 2-28-10. 341 completed 4/14/10. Confirmed 5/14/10. Lien strip granted 2/2/11
        0% payback to unsecured creditors, 56 payments down, 4 to go....

        Comment


        • #5
          I would vote for CA. Quite frankly it seems most of the people with problems in their BK's are from Florida. They appear to have little exemptions (other than house equity - which no one has anymore) and all the stories of a Trustee coming out to appraise your personal property are from Florida. I filed in CA and the only issue I have had is because I have my own business. The exemptions pretty much cover everything.

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          • #6
            You guys are awesome! This site has helped me more than I could have ever hoped, and it is really nice to have somewhere to go where you aren't judged for mistakes you've made in the past. Thank you very much for your info, and it looks like California is the way to go!!

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            • #7
              I was able to exempt $18,000 using the wild card here in California.

              Comment


              • #8
                given how expensive it is to live in CA I don't really consider the exemptions to be generous. but they are better then most states.

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you have the choice, don't file in FL. Don't know what it is but FL filers are getting raked over the coals.
                  Ch 13 filed 06/22/09. Dismissed,thankfully, 03/31/10. Ch 7 filed 06/28/10. 341 07/29/10. UST POA 08/06/10. UST mot to dismiss hearing extended to Dec...Feb...March...May...Aug. UST withdrawal of dismissal filed 05/31! DISCHARGED 07/12/2011!

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                  • #10
                    Another vote for California's exemptions....seriously. Plus, I think the earned wages only apply to head of household.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      i agree with california....i'm born and raised there...but lived in nj...then moved to florida...

                      so our choice was between nj and florida...a no brainer...it's was florida for certain. wish i had had the choice of california.

                      but, i do want to just add, we had no problems with our filing in florida, we were a no asset case...and it was pretty hard for the courts or trustee to turn it into an asset case since we had surrendered the house in nj...and were living in "borrowed" property...and had absolutely nothing left...most likely anywhere we filed we would have been alright. so, basically, i also think it depends on the personal circumstances of the filers.

                      good luck which ever state you chose!
                      8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Thanks for all the responses. I am definitely going with California due to their $23,000 Wild Card. It will allow me to keep all the money I have saved up. The question I have now is...

                        Can I file my bankruptcy using an attorney in FL, but using California Exemptions, or do I need to go file in California?

                        Also, If I am able to file in FL using CA exemptions, I am worried I will still be using the dreaded "FL Trustees" I have been reading about on here. I have no assets other than around the $12000 I have saved up from the past 6 months of wages. I have already withdrawn $3000 from Checking + $3000 from Savings = $6000 so it doesn't get stuck in my account. I withdrew it as Cash and then gave the cash to my mother to hold on to. My last 3 checks of $2,000 each are direct deposited, so I will remove them as cash once they go in and give the cash to my mother as well. NOTE: I am giving the cash to my mother to hold on to so I do not spend it. I am in NO WAY trying to defraud the Trustee. I will report all that cash as my assets, but seeing as I have a $23,000 Wild Card to exempt that cash, it shouldn't be a problem. Am I thinking correctly, or is this a problem? It's my cash, that I'm not "hiding" from the trustee, and it will be protected under the California Wild Card. Am I right or ?

                        Thanks the the responses

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by AFISurfer View Post
                          Thanks for all the responses. I am definitely going with California due to their $23,000 Wild Card. It will allow me to keep all the money I have saved up. The question I have now is...

                          Can I file my bankruptcy using an attorney in FL, but using California Exemptions, or do I need to go file in California?

                          Also, If I am able to file in FL using CA exemptions, I am worried I will still be using the dreaded "FL Trustees" I have been reading about on here. I have no assets other than around the $12000 I have saved up from the past 6 months of wages. I have already withdrawn $3000 from Checking + $3000 from Savings = $6000 so it doesn't get stuck in my account. I withdrew it as Cash and then gave the cash to my mother to hold on to. My last 3 checks of $2,000 each are direct deposited, so I will remove them as cash once they go in and give the cash to my mother as well. NOTE: I am giving the cash to my mother to hold on to so I do not spend it. I am in NO WAY trying to defraud the Trustee. I will report all that cash as my assets, but seeing as I have a $23,000 Wild Card to exempt that cash, it shouldn't be a problem. Am I thinking correctly, or is this a problem? It's my cash, that I'm not "hiding" from the trustee, and it will be protected under the California Wild Card. Am I right or ?

                          Thanks the the responses
                          as far as i know, the atty you hire must file in the state they practice and in the district that you live in...so if you are actually living in florida, i'm not exactly certain you could file another state....i know if you are within the "limit" time for your moving, you could go federally in florida. in nj we had the choice to go either...nj or fed...however, florida, at the time seemed to work best for us.

                          we hired a florida atty once the decided. he handled even our foreclosure summons for the property located in nj. but i do not think if we had decided to use jersey's exemptions the firm could have filed for us in florida FOR nj they are completely two different and separate jurisdictions. had we chosen to go federal...either nj or florida atty's could have been used. (we did establish residency in florida for 2 years prior to filing in the state).

                          also, the consensus, in florida, at a glance, problems seem to only transpire when there is a house or property being retained. that being said, thus far, when you read the FL Tustees thread, really seems to be the common denominator when an audit has been order, although i'm certain that is only from my point of speculation based on the answers in that thread, ....but, i still agree with using california,

                          since, and although we had nothing, when preparing to file in florida, there was even talk about the possibility of us having to "buy" back our car because of it's value...it was the ONLY asset left we had between the both of us.

                          i would speak to a florida atty, but i think you may have to have a calif. atty to file in that state. i'm certain if anyone knows better they will chime in.
                          8/4/2008 MAKE SURE AND VISIT Tobee's Blogs! http://www.bkforum.com/blog.php?32727-tobee43 and all are welcome to bk forum's Florida State Questions and Answers on BK http://www.bkforum.com/group.php?groupid=9

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            I just spoke to an attorney from Orlando, FL who said because I bounced around and haven't had a residency for the past 2 years bc of living on the road that I would have to use Federal Exemptions. Is this true? I thought if I didn't have residency anywhere over the past 2 years that they use the place you lived the 6 months prior to the 2 years. That would have been California for me.

                            The main thing I'm trying to protect here is $12,000 in cash from earned wages over the past 6 months. Will Federal allow me to protect that money, or is California the only way??

                            Someone help!! Please!!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi AFISurfer,

                              Federal has a 10K wildcard if you don't use the homestead exemption. You are right on the 6 months before 2 years ago residency, the only way you would file federal rules would be if CA has a requirement that you have to live in the state to use their exemptions.

                              Be sure to shop around for attorneys, find one who matches your communication style, work ethic, etc Someone you are comfortable with and confident they know their stuff. Some folks here are looked at 6 or more before selecting one.

                              as the old saying goes, you have to kiss a lot of frogs...

                              Tom in Colo
                              Ch7 filed 5/12/2010.....341 meeting 6/30/2010....report of no distribution 8/15/2010.....discharged 10/01/2010.....closed 11/09/2010

                              Comment

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