Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you find yourself bogged down by massive debt, but don’t qualify for other forms of bankruptcy or you have concerns about liquidating your assets, it may be time to consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. You probably think your options are limited, and you’ll be forced to deal with creditor calls, letters, and other harassment for many years to come. Worse, your financial situation becomes even more insurmountable as interest and late fees build up. Fortunately, at Arenstein & Andersen Co., LPA, our Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers can offer real-world guidance and facilitate a process that puts you back on a solid financial footing.
Arenstein & Andersen Co., LPA has extensive bankruptcy law experience, and our personal bankruptcy services may allow you to keep your property and avoid debilitating interest. Let us help you pay down your debt at a rate you can afford. The process isn’t for everyone, so it’s important to fully understand the laws, qualifications, and implications, which our lawyers are happy to explain.
A Chapter 13 filing could be your ticket to a brighter financial future. Our litigation attorneys in Dublin, Ohio and Tipp City, Ohio are ready to get to know you and tailor an approach to your unique financial circumstances. Schedule your free bankruptcy consultation today by calling (614) 602-6550 or submit a request online.
Overview of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
When your debt becomes overwhelming, and you’re unable to pay your bills, federal law provides you with options for debt relief. Chapter 13 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code offers a plan that allows you to repay your creditors over a three or five-year period, and it’s available to many debtors that may not qualify for liquidation bankruptcy under Chapter 7.
Some signs you should discuss your situation with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer include:
- You make enough in disposable income to pay some of your bills, but cannot keep up as interest and late fees accrue;
- You have assets you want to protect, rather than have them sold to satisfy your debt to creditors;
- You’re willing to attend credit counseling to learn new, responsible spending habits and confront the issues that led to your financial situation; and,
- You meet the requirements of Chapter 13, which vary depending on your situation.
You should keep in mind that, though Chapter 13 provides you with options, there are consequences for going through the process. The filing will appear on your credit report, so there will be challenges with getting approval for new loans and credit cards. However, there are also advantages to a Chapter 13 repayment bankruptcy. You can protect your assets and reorganize your debts into a manageable plan. Plus, Chapter 13 only remains on your credit report for seven years, as opposed to the 10 years it will appear after a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
Eligibility for Filing Chapter 13
The qualifications for Chapter 13 are somewhat relaxed as compared to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, as you’re petitioning to pay off your debts, rather than have them discharged. You should discuss the specific eligibility rules with your Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer, but:
- You must file as an individual, as opposed to a business;
- You do not qualify if you went through Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the last two years;
- You cannot file if you discharged debts through Chapter 7 bankruptcy in the last four years;
- You’re ineligible if you filed bankruptcy in the last 180 days, but the matter was dismissed by your own request or because of your misconduct;
- Your unsecured and secured debts must fall below the minimum threshold established by law;
- Your disposable income is high enough to enable you to pay debts as required by bankruptcy rules; and,
- You meet other qualifications according to Chapter 13 bankruptcy laws.
Stages of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case
All Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases proceed according to the same general process:
- During the pre-filing stage, you need to attend mandatory credit counseling through a provider that’s approved by the bankruptcy court. Here, you’ll learn valuable information about living within your means and avoiding future financial troubles.
- You officially initiate bankruptcy proceedings by filing the proper forms, along with supporting documents such as your assets, debts, financial information, and other requested details. You’re also required to provide your proposed Chapter 13 repayment plan, the key component of a bankruptcy case. In it, you need to detail how much you’ll pay per month to satisfy your debts to creditors.
- As soon as you file, a bankruptcy trustee is appointed to manage your case, and the automatic stay becomes effective. From this point on, most of your creditors cannot contact you or take action to collect on your debts. The bankruptcy trustee has effective control over your finances while your case is pending.
- Shortly after you file your Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition, you start making payments to your creditors according to your proposed repayment plan. You don’t await approval from the court, as this obligation kicks in around 30 days after you initiate the proceedings.
- You must attend a creditors meeting, and you’re allowed to have your Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer represent you. The bankruptcy trustee will review your documents and ask questions. Your repayment plan and ability to adhere to it will be a top issue. Creditors may also participate and can object to various aspects of your filings.
- There will be a follow-up confirmation meeting to address and resolve any objections to your repayment plan. In many cases, the plan will be approved, and you’ll continue with payments.
- For the next three to five years, you must comply with the repayment plan. You may go before the court to request modifications if you experience a change in circumstances, such as not being able to pay because of a job loss. It’s possible to convert your Chapter 13 bankruptcy to Chapter 7 in some cases.
- You’ll need to complete a financial management class, similar to the credit counseling course you attended before filing for Chapter 13.
- When the repayment period ends according to your plan, the bankruptcy court will discharge the case.
Our Knowledgeable Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers Can Explain Your Options
Our lawyers in Dublin, OH and Tipp City, OH know what it is like to deal with financial troubles and what it takes to overcome them. We strive to thoroughly advise you of all your options and find a path that applies to your situation, This may be a Chapter 13 repayment, but if it isn’t, we’ll find another way to improve your circumstances. With over decades of legal experience, and a well-earned reputation for accessibility and results, Arenstein & Andersen Co., LPA is ready to help.
While a general overview of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy laws is helpful, there’s much more to the process as it applies to your case. When your financial situation is at stake, you need essential information to help you make a responsible decision regarding your future.