Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides individuals with an opportunity to reorganize their debts. Given the complexities in qualifying for this form of bankruptcy, it is crucial to consult with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer. At Chicago Bankruptcy Clinic, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of financially distressed individuals.
If you are struggling to pay your debts, you need the informed representation and dependable service we provide. Well-versed in the applicable provisions of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, we regularly guide clients through Chapter 13 proceedings.
When you become our client, we will help you devise a workable repayment plan that the bankruptcy court and your creditors will approve. Above all, we will work to protect your interests and to help you make a fresh start. Please contact our office today to speak with one of our experienced Chicago bankruptcy lawyers.
How Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Work?
Chapter 13 is referred to as reorganization bankruptcy. Basically, it allows you to establish a plan to repay your debts, typically over a 3 to 5 year period. This form of bankruptcy also allows you to keep your property, however, you must have the income to keep up with the payment plan while also meeting your day-day expenses.
In a Chapter 13 reorganization, you are required to repay your creditors with disposable income, which is determined through a “means test.” This is a complicated assessment of the income you have available to pay your secured and unsecured debt. Our bankruptcy attorneys will work closely with you to help you pass the means test so that the bankruptcy can proceed.
In short, Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides you with a number of options to reorganize your debts, including:
- Folding monthly payments of delinquent secured debt (e.g. a mortgage) into the payment plan
- Paying a percentage of the unsecured debt
- Eliminating unsecured debt entirely
Finally, a court-appointed trustee will manage your case. Once the plan is approved, you will make monthly payments to the trustee who, in turn, will distribute payments to your creditors according to a predetermined schedule.
The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Discharge
Once you complete the payment plan, the bankruptcy will be discharged by order of the court. A bankruptcy discharge permanently bars creditors from attempting to collect any discharged debt. It is important to note that certain debts cannot be discharged in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These include:
- Child support
- Student loans
- Spousal support (alimony)
- Criminal fines
- Any debts not included in the plan
Finally, if you fail to meet the terms of the payment plan, your bankruptcy case will be dismissed, which means creditors can resume collection activities (e.g. garnishments, foreclosures, lawsuits).
At Chicago Bankruptcy Clinic, we are committed to achieving the best possible outcome in your bankruptcy case. The sooner you contact our office, the sooner we can help you regain your financial footing.
The Pros and Cons of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 bankruptcy does allow you to reorganize your debts and keep your property, however, it is important to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages of seeking bankruptcy protection. The pros of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, include:
- Stopping all collection activities through the automatic stay
- Keeping your property
- Stopping foreclosure proceedings (temporarily)
- Repaying the balance of an auto loan (over a 3 to 5 year period)
In short, Chapter 13 gives you a chance to reorganize your finances and the time to get back on your feet. At the same time, there are disadvantages to filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, one of which is that the filing remains on your credit report for 7 years. This can limit your access to credit for the time being, however, you can also take steps to repair your credit rating while you are still in bankruptcy.
In addition, while you are in bankruptcy, you cannot assume new debt, buy anything on credit, or transfer property with prior approval from the court. Nonetheless, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you reorganize your debts and restore your finances. When you work with Chicago Bankruptcy Clinic, you will be in a better position to make a fresh start.
Contact Our Experienced Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers
If you are experiencing financial trouble through no fault of your own — a job loss, a medical emergency, unexpected expenses — turn to Chicago Bankruptcy Clinic.
When you partner with us, you can rest assured we will never judge you. Instead, we will offer you trustworthy advice and objective insights so that you can make the best decisions about your future. Our comprehensive legal services include:
- Drawing up and filing the bankruptcy petition
- Assessing your available disposable income
- Guiding you through the means test
- Representing you in bankruptcy court
Above all, we will leverage our skills and experience to protect your interests and resolve your bankruptcy case professionally and expediently. If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, don’t delay. Please contact our office today for a free consultation.