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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

By Spodek Law Group | February 20, 2024

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide much-needed relief for individuals overwhelmed by debt, but it also comes with long-term consequences to consider.

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors with a regular income to repay all or a portion of their debts over a 3 to 5 year period. This structured repayment plan is administered by the bankruptcy court and allows debtors to catch up on missed payments to creditors.Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy which liquidates assets to pay back creditors, Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows debtors to keep certain assets like their home or car while repaying debts under court supervision. This makes it an attractive option for those with assets they wish to retain.

Benefits of Filing Chapter 13

There are several potential benefits of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  • Keeps Assets – Filers can keep assets like their home or car if the repayment plan allows them to make up missed payments over time. This prevents liquidation.
  • Stops Foreclosures & Repossessions – The automatic stay triggered by bankruptcy filing halts foreclosure and repossession proceedings.
  • Lowers Payments – Monthly payments under Chapter 13 are often lower compared to previous debt repayment schedules.
  • Discharges Some Debts – If plan payments are successfully made, the remaining unsecured debt can be discharged, providing a financial fresh start.

Drawbacks of Chapter 13

However, Chapter 13 also comes with drawbacks to factor in:

  • Long Process – Bankruptcy proceedings typically take 3-5 years until debts are discharged. This is a long period of financial management.
  • Missed Payments – If too many payments under the Chapter 13 plan are missed, the case can be dismissed or converted to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Additional Fees – Lawyer fees, filing fees, trustee fees can add up over years of ongoing bankruptcy administration.
  • Credit Score Impact – Bankruptcy hurts credit scores for years. Availability and terms of future credit will be negatively impacted after Chapter 13 discharge.

Making the Decision

Deciding if Chapter 13 bankruptcy aligns with your financial situation is complex. Consulting with a bankruptcy attorney can clarify if it is the most appropriate path for your circumstances. While it provides repayment flexibility and asset protection many need, the process is long and credit scores take time to rebuild. Analyze the pros and cons carefully.

Helpful Resources

How Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Works – Reddit PF ThreadChapter 13 Bankruptcy Basics – Avvo OverviewWhat Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy? – FindLaw FAQ

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