Federal bankruptcy law helps individuals get a handle on their debt by allowing them to request a complete liquidation under Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code and/or a repayment plan under Chapter 13 or Chapter 11.
Bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code is sometimes referred to as a “wage earner plan.” Under Chapter 13, a Bankruptcy Court can help a debtor reorganize his debts and pay them off over time. Under Chapter 13, a debtor typically keeps all of his or her property.
A debtor begins a Chapter 13 bankruptcy by filing a petition with his local bankruptcy court. Once the petition is filed, an “automatic stay” goes into effect and the creditors are prohibited from making any attempt to collect their debt, including attempting foreclosure and repossession. Along with the petition, or shortly thereafter, the debtor files various written “schedules” and “statements” to inform the Court of his outstanding debts, his current income and expenses, any existing contracts, any current or potential lawsuits, and any recent asset transfers. Within approximately 15 days of filing the petition, the debtor submits a plan to the Court detailing how he will pay off his debts. Under the plan, the debtor must completely pay off certain “priority” debts, such as the costs of administering the bankruptcy, employees’ wages and benefits, debts for undelivered services or goods, and taxes, and pay for any encumbered property he wants to keep. The debtor can plan, based on his ability, to partially pay any remaining debt and ask the Court to discharge the rest. Once the Court approves a payment plan for the debtor, a Court-appointed Trustee begins collecting the debtor’s paychecks and administering the plan. Upon the debtor’s successful completion of the repayment plan, the Bankruptcy Court discharges any remaining debt and concludes the bankruptcy.
In some situations, an individual may be able to use both Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 to handle his or her debt.
Our Bankruptcy Attorneys are here to help you eliminate your debt. Whether you qualify under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, our Bankruptcy Lawyers will represent you every step of the way to ensure that your financial crisis is put to an end.
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