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Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you or your business face debt that you cannot repay or credit terms you cannot meet, bankruptcy can offer you a fresh start.

Sutton Law Firm can determine if bankruptcy is right for your needs and help you use this option to your advantage. 

Learn how filing for bankruptcy at one of our offices in Bartow, St. Petersburg, and Lakeland, FL, can help you move forward...

Do I Really Need to Hire a Bankruptcy Lawyer?

Since you are already facing serious financial issues, you are probably wondering: Why spend more money on an attorney? To put it simply, bankruptcy law is incredibly complex. Having an attorney on your side can help you make the most of the protections provided by bankruptcy laws and avoid the serious consequences of making a mistake in the process. As your bankruptcy lawyer, Matthew J. Kovschak will:

  • Determine whether it would truly benefit you to file for bankruptcy
  • Determine which type is best for your needs
  • Negotiate with creditors in order to keep the assets you need the most
  • Prevent you from making errors that the courts could perceive as fraud
  • File all paperwork in a timely manner
Sutton Law Firm does not offer "flat fee" plans. Instead, we provide services to each client on an hourly basis so they pay only for the services they require. We have a consultation fee that varies depending on the type of case, with discounts available to armed forces personnel, veterans, and law enforcement. Our attorneys welcome clients from throughout Polk County and surrounding communities as well as Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartow.

Sutton Law Firm Bankruptcy 

Book Your Case Review With Bankruptcy Attorney Matthew J. Kovschak

If you are considering filing for bankruptcy, attorney Matthew J. Kovschak at Sutton Law Firm can provide valuable legal guidance. He understands that considering bankruptcy is difficult, so he gives his clients individualized attention when helping them achieve the best possible outcome in their case.

Matthew J. Kovschak is a member of the American Bankruptcy Institute and the Tampa Bay Bankruptcy Bar Association who has been practicing law for more than 30 years. When his peers face complex bankruptcy issues, they turn to Mr. Kovschak because of his ability to see beyond the ordinary solution. Whether you need to file on behalf of yourself, your small business, or your large corporation, he is here to help clients in need. Mr. Kovschak also assists creditors whose debtors file for bankruptcy. 

We welcome clients from throughout Polk County and surrounding areas. To schedule a consultation with our bankruptcy attorney at one of our offices in Bartow, St. Petersburg, and Lakeland, FL, please contact us online or call:

(863) 533-8912

Matthew J. Kovschak
Bankruptcy lawyer Matthew J. Kovschak.

Debt Collectors Have a New Tool: Social Media

Under new rules passed by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), debt collectors can start reaching out to struggling consumers via Facebook, Twitter, and other social media channels. Thankfully, they face some restrictions. For example, the messages must be private, meaning none of your social media friends or the public should be able to see it. In addition, you must be allowed to opt out of receiving the messages.

However, one caveat seems more like a burden on the consumer. Before collectors can report a defaulted debt to a credit agency, they must either speak to the borrower in person or by telephone, or wait 14 days after sending a letter or electronic communication. Unfortunately, social media is considered “electronic communication,” which keeps consumers on the hook for monitoring their social media for notices from debt collectors.

End the Harassment

In addition to putting you on a better financial footing, filing for bankruptcy can put an end to creditor harassment. We can help struggling consumers and businesses in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, Bartow, and throughout Polk County put their lives back on track.

"Your Advocate during Stressful Times" 5-Star Client Reviews of Our Attorneys


David Smith


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Recently necessity required yet again I reach out to Ms. Sutton for legal matters. Debra has handled my legal representation for family matters for over 13 years. Never has she waivered from anything but professional and effective legal representation. She will remain your advocate throughout any process from start to finish and continue to provide prompt service after the case is completed. If you need an attorney who will be YOUR advocate during stressful times, this is the one. You won’t be disappointed.

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Vicki Watson


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I have hired Ms. Sutton twice and both times she has gone above and beyond. She is professional but also caring. More then once she called me to calm my anxiety about my case. Her professionalism and knowledge of the law in the courtroom made me glad she was my lawyer. Hopefully I never need a lawyer again, but if I do, I will hire Ms. Sutton.

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What Are My Bankruptcy Options?

Most clients of the Sutton Law Firm, with offices in Bartow, St. Petersburg, and Lakeland, FL, will file bankruptcy under Chapter 7, Chapter 11, or Chapter 13.

Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most commonly filed type, and can benefit both individuals and businesses. In order to become eligible for Chapter 7, you must pass a "means test" establishing that you are not able to repay your debts to creditors. Those who file Chapter 7 bankruptcy are released from their personal liability for debts that qualify as dischargeable, such as credit card debt and medical bills. Debts that do not qualify include student loans, back child support, money owed due to having caused a personal injury, income taxes, and money owed for having broken the law (such as traffic tickets).

Under Chapter 7, certain property can be liquidated to repay creditors, while other exempt property cannot. In Florida, exemptions include up to $1,000 in personal property (such as furniture and home electronics), education savings, and tax refunds. You also get an exemption of $1,000 in car equity (or more if you are filing with your spouse), meaning your car probably won't be liquidated. For example, if your vehicle loan is worth $5,000 but the car has a value of $6,000 or less, it is exempt. If you have lived in Florida for 40 months or longer, all of your home equity is exempt as long as your property is no larger than a half-acre in a city or 160 acres elsewhere.

During a consultation at one of our conveniently located law offices in Bartow, St. Petersburg, and Lakeland, FL, bankruptcy attorney Matthew J. Kovschak can determine if Chapter 7 is right for you. 

woman sorting through bills

With Chapter 7, there is hope for those facing insurmountable debt. Turn to Sutton Law when you need an attorney to help you file Chapter 7 bankruptcy. We have offices in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartow.

Man holding repayment plan paperwork

Chapter 11 and Chapter 13 involve making a court-approved repayment plan. Bankruptcy attorney Matthew J. Kovschak can help you through this process. We have three convenient offices in Lakeland, St. Petersburg, and Bartow.

Chapter 11 & Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 11 & Chapter 13 bankruptcy are known as "reorganization bankruptcy."

Chapter 13 is strictly for individuals with a stable income who are faced with creditors' demands for immediate repayment of loans because of overdue payments. With this option, home foreclosures, wage garnishments, and any lawsuits related to your debt will stop. Instead, you will enter into a court-approved repayment plan that consolidates all of your loan payments into single monthly installments made over a three- to five-year period. You don't have to liquidate any of your assets under Chapter 13. 

Chapter 13 requires having less than $394,725 in unsecured debts (such as credit card debt and medical bills) and less than $1,184,200 in secured debts (such as a mortgage). Under Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will remain responsible for expenses such as student loans and child support.

Chapter 11 is for businesses or individuals, but is mostly used by businesses that are making money but cannot afford their loan payments. Unlike Chapter 13, this tool has no limits when it comes to the amount of debt carried, and it can require liquidation of certain assets in order to repay creditors. However, like Chapter 13, creditors can no longer take legal action or enforce garnishments against the debtor. The debtor will propose a repayment plan subject to the approval of the creditors and the courts. Upon approval, the business can continue to operate, usually after making changes to avoid becoming overwhelmed by debt in the future.

"Far Exceeded My Expectations of an Attorney" More 5-Star Client Reviews of our Attorneys




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Debra Sutton is an fantastic attorney. When my Husband passed away I didn't know what to do. I went to Ms. Sutton's office in desperation. She was very compassionate about my needs and helped me get through this devastating time in my life. She far exceeded my expectations of an attorney. I would recommend her to all that needs a family law attorney.

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I had previously hired two attorneys that were not knowledgeable with the details about my case. As a result, I spent an enormous amount of money with no conclusion to the issue at hand. I was DESPERATE! Debra was referred to me by another reputable law firm. After one conversation, I KNEW she was the attorney I needed to hire. She is very knowledgeable, patient to answer all of my questions and went out of her way to overly communicate any and all possible outcomes. I would highly recommend Debra and her services to anyone in need of a knowledgeable attorney who will take the time to understand your needs and will represent you accordingly.

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Debra J. Sutton

Sutton Law Firm

Debra J. Sutton is an attorney who is board-certified in both appellate practice and marital and family law by the Florida Bar. At the Sutton Law Firm, with offices in Bartow, Lakeland, and St. Petersburg, Ms. Sutton, Mr. Kovschak, and their team provide individualized, compassionate, and private legal services. Our popular practice areas include:

You can request a consultation with our board-certified attorney right now by filling out our online form or calling (863) 533-8912.

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