While it may be thought that bankruptcy is the final stage before economic ruin, it is not always so – Chapter 13 of the federal bankruptcy code can ease some of the financial stress. If you can repay some or all of your creditors – it may be possible to avoid liquidation. And it is ideal if your primary issues are dealing for payment straight away from creditors versus having sufficient income. Another appealing aspect of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is you may not have to lose your home. Read on to learn more.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy permits individuals to have between three and five years to complete resolution of their debts by the means of applying all of their income that is considered disposable to the reduction of the debts. This option incorporates allowing an individual the option of eliminating the unsecured debts while they catch up of mortgage payments that were previously not met. Undoubtedly to many people keeping their home is of primary significance. But the downside is you will spend some years with a trustee appointed by the court, who will be responsible for collecting payments from you and then distributing them accordingly.
How does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Work?
Chapter 11 bankruptcy (that applies to businesses) has some similarities to Chapter 12 bankruptcy. In both scenario’s the petitioner has to submit a financial plan of reorganization that safeguards assets from foreclosure or repossession and in normal circumstances requests forgiveness of other accrued debts. They both have little in common with Chapter 7 bankruptcy where all available assets are liquidated with the exception of certain assets that may have exemption from liquidation.
Not all debts are eliminated when a person files for bankruptcy. Payments that cannot be discharged include alimony payments as well as child support, taxes that have not been paid and outstanding student loans. However, Chapter 12 bankruptcy can eliminate other debts that may be outstanding, but it will be highly likely the individual has many issues with borrowing money in the future from financial institutions.
Here is a breakdown of the financial figures to be eligible for the filing of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy. Note, these figures can change as they are adjusted from time to time to be in line with the current consumer price index figures.:
- A person may have no total amount greater than $394,725 in debt that is unsecured such as personal loans or credit card bills.
- An individual may have no total amount greater than $1,184,200 in debts that are secured including auto loans and mortgages.
Regarding your home, filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy puts a suspension on outstanding proceedings for foreclosure and payment of other debts that may be owed. This will obtain you time while your plan is under consideration from the courts. However, it does not mean the debt is automatically eliminated. Ideally, the plan for bankruptcy will make enough of your income available to make mortgage payments on a regular basis so you may retain your home.
The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process
The first order of business is to discover a bankruptcy attorney. They usually offer a free evaluation and an estimate of the costs to file and commence the process. There is a fee of $235 payable to the bankruptcy court for filing as well as $75 for administrative costs. The following is also required:
- A list of the claim amounts and the names of creditors.
- The debtors income and sources need to be disclosed.
- The debtors property needs to be listed as well as all leases and contracts held in the name of the debtor.
- The monthly living expenses of the debtor.
- The debtors most recently filed tax return as well as a statement if there are taxes that have not yet been paid.
A petitioner for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy cannot have had a dismissal of a bankruptcy petition dismissed within the previous 180 days before filing due to the unwillingness of them to make an appearance in court. The applicant must also go to an approved agency for credit counseling within 180 days of the petition being filed.
Very soon after, a repayment plan must be submitted by the debtor. An administrator or bankruptcy judge will instigate a heating and make a determination to decide if the plan is fair and meets the requirements of the bankruptcy code. There may be objections from creditors, but the final determination resides with the court.
Delinquent payments can be addressed by the debtor making the payments up over a period of time, but Chapter 13 rules state all new payments for mortgages at the time of filing for bankruptcy must be made on time, henceforth.
A trustee or mediator must also be worked with as they will be responsible for the distribution of monies owed to creditors. Under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, it is not mandatory for a debtor to directly contact their creditors. And if all the agreement terms are being abided by, it is required by law that creditors stop efforts to recover the debt they are owed. That said you must never fall behind on mortgage payments. Late payments are not permitted on monies owed. You are permitted to increase your payments so the agreement may be discharged sooner. On the other hand, if your financial situation becomes worse, you need to let the trustee know and establish whether the plan can undergo a modification. If the terms of the agreement are not met may result in the bankruptcy claim being dismissed in court.
Qualifications For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
If you can prove you have the income to address your debts, you meet eligibility to file. The individuals sources of income must be disclosed and submitted to the court within fourteen days of the petition being filed. Income can include payments from Social Security, pensions, royalties, money from a property sale or rents as well as compensation for unemployment. Your tax filings need to be current and you will have to show evidence of federal and state tax filings for the previous four years. When you cannot meet this, your case will be delayed until you meet this requirement and will be dismissed if you cannot produce the documentation.
From there, the bankruptcy court’s role is to overlook the income statements and debts, arrange meetings with people to who monies are owed and then decide on a hearing date with the purpose of ascertaining if the plan will be acceptable. On the completion of repayments, usually between three to five years, the Chapter 13 case can then be discharged, ending the process.
Speak With Our Bankruptcy Lawyers In Phoenix & Scottsdale
Canterbury Law Group should be your first choice for any bankruptcy evaluation. Our experienced professionals will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome. You can on the firm to represent you well so you can move on with your life. Call today for an initial consultation. We can assist with all types of bankruptcies including Business Bankruptcy, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Creditor Representation, Chapter 5 Claims, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Business Restructuring, Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and more.
*This information is not intended to be legal advice. Please contact Canterbury Law Group today to learn more about your personal legal needs.