Florida residency is significant if bankruptcy is more than one way. A person may not claim Florida bankruptcy exemptions unless he has resided in Florida for two years. Prior to two year residency, the debtor is eligible for exemptions in the state where he most recently lived for two years. If he did not qualify for his prior state’s exemptions the debtor could claim a set of federal exemptions.
A U.S. resident may file bankruptcy in Florida if he has resided in the State the greater part of the prior six months. In practice, a new resident must be here three months and a day in order to file in Florida. In such case, the debtor would not qualify for Florida exemptions.
A client asked me if he could file bankruptcy in Florida as a foreigner. The client lived in the Middle East. He had never resided in Florida or any other state in our country. He wanted to know if he could file as a non-resident and whether any property would be exempt.
A foreign citizen may file bankruptcy in Florida if he owns any property, real or personal, located in Florida. For example, owning title to a piece of property or a bank account at a Florida branch is sufficient. The debtor would claim federal exemptions. Non-exempt property located in Florida would be sold to pay U.S. creditors.
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