Understanding Bankruptcy

Chapter 7 vs Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: How to Know Which One You Are

By | Bankruptcy Law, Understanding Bankruptcy

What Plan is Best For You?

No one wants to file for bankruptcy, but it is the first step to discarding debt or coming up with a plan to repay it. Individuals or partnerships file under one of two chapters, Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. Businesses may also file for Chapter 7 in order to liquidate. Figuring out which route is best for an individual or business is half the battle.

businessmen in an agreement

What’s the Difference?

Chapter 7

Filing under Chapter 7 will automatically stop creditors from pursuing efforts in collection. This is also the best option for low-income debtors with little or no assets.

Under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, liquidation is the way of getting out of debt. Liquidation in a sense is the sale of debtors property and remaining assets. One’s property and assets are split into two categories, exempt and nonexempt assets. The most commonly exempted asset is an individual’s primary home and primary automobile. However, if the value of the home or vehicle exceeds maximum value they are subject to liquidation. Debtors should be aware and expectant of loss of property. Here is how it works:

The first step is filing a petition with a bankruptcy court and having a judge see your case. The information that needs to be brought forward is the following:

  1. The individual’s primary address
  2. A detailed list of one’s monthly living expenses
  3. A schedule of one’s current income
  4. A list of all creditors that the debtors are in debt to, including the amount owed.

Even if filing jointly, a husband and wife are subject to all the document filing requirements of individual debtors.

Chapter 13

Individuals with a regular income who are struggling with debt file under Chapter 13. Under this bankruptcy code, one can keep their assets while executing a payment plan in order to repay their debts in a timely manner — typically 3 to 5 years.

While many file under Chapter 13 because their annual income is too high for Chapter 7, many debtors choose Chapter 13 because of the many benefits it provides over Chapter 7.

The major advantage to filing under Chapter 13 rather than Chapter 7 is the ability to save your home or property from foreclosure. When filing for a petition under Chapter 13, the debtor must serve to the court the same information as one filing under Chapter 7.


Why Hire An Attorney?

Making the decision to file bankruptcy should not be one an individual does alone. The process of getting out from under debt involves multiple meetings with creditors working out negotiations and settlements. Most people do not feel comfortable making these kinds of agreements alone and especially when they are under financial stress.

A bankruptcy attorney will make sure that creditors are not taking advantage of the situation you are in and will make the communication process one less thing to worry about. Not only is it a difficult situation to fully grasp, but there is so much information that is not common knowledge which makes it that much more confusing.

Having someone who is looking out for your best intentions and knows exactly which plan will work best for you could not be more important. No one wants to lose everything and with the help of an attorney, you don’t have to. Hiring an educated expert is putting your best foot forward in the journey to getting out of debt.

Do you need a bankruptcy attorney?

Reach Out Today!

Back to Basics: Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

By | Bankruptcy Law, Understanding Bankruptcy | No Comments
Back to Basics

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often called “wage earners” bankruptcy. The name comes from the fact that to qualify for this type of bankruptcy, you have to be earning a steady monthly income. This type of bankruptcy is great for someone who is behind on house or car payments as it sets up a type of “payment plan” for you. If you’re earning a regular wage, but can’t seem to get your expenses in check, Chapter 13 bankruptcy could be a serious lifesaver for you.

DISCLAIMER: The following blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.

Need Bankruptcy Help? Call David S. Clark

When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you are given the opportunity to restructure your debts and repay them over a period of 3-5 years via a payment plan, or the Chapter 13 plan. Chapter 13 is often looked to as a reorganization of finances – it is not a liquidation of your assets. This means you are normally permitted to keep all of your assets whether they are exempt or nonexempt as long as you are a law-abiding citizen throughout your bankruptcy.

There are other qualifications for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Your unsecured debt, which is debt not tied to any asset, cannot be more than $394,725 and your secured debt, or debt backed by collateral like a car or a home, cannot exceed $1,184,200. You must also be up to date on tax filings. You cannot have filed for Chapter 13 in the past two years or Chapter 7 in the past four years, and you cannot have filed for bankruptcy in the previous 180 days that was dismissed for reasons like failing to appear in court.

If you have decided to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is important to hire a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Chapter 13 is more complicated and drawn-out than other types of bankruptcy. If you miss a step while filing or incorrectly fill out a form your case could be thrown out completely or some of your debts may not be covered. Having the assistance of a bankruptcy lawyer like David S. Clark will assure that everything goes as smooth as possible.

At the end of Chapter 13, you will be discharged of most of your debts (Some debts may remain, like student loans). If you have a steady monthly income, but have gotten behind in some of your finances and feel like you can’t get it sorted out, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be your answer. You get to keep your assets and create a payment plan that allows you to pay off your various debt. Contact a local bankruptcy attorney like David S. Clark to find your chance at financial freedom.

DISCLAIMER: The above blog post is just advice, and you will be better served to call David S. Clark with your bankruptcy questions. This blog contains helpful tips and advice, but is not professional legal advice, and shouldn’t treated as such.