Thursday, May 5, 2011

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is for folks with some sort of regular income who do not qualify for chapter 7, or cannot accomplish what they need to accomplish in chapter 7. 
Only individuals or married couples can file a chapter 13 case.  Companies cannot file for chapter 13. 
Chapter 13 is often referred to as the "wage earner plan", but your income does not have to be wages in order to file.  It could be retirement income, social security, self-employment income, rent, or even unemployment.  Your income has to be enough to accomplish the goals of the chapter 13 plan.
Common goals of filing a chapter 13 are 1) to stop a foreclosure and force your mortgage company to accept payments,  2) to strip off second or third mortgage liens,  3) to stop a vehicle repossession,  4) to stop lawsuits or wage garnishments, 5) to stop IRS or state tax levies, garnishments, or actions, 6) to stop high credit card interest, 7) to keep property that you might otherwise not be able to keep if you filed a chapter 7.
Chapter 13 requires you to make monthly payments to a chapter 13 trustee based on a plan created by your bankruptcy attorney.
Keep in mind that not everyone qualifies for chapter 13.  If  you do not have enough income to accomplish your goals, you may not be able to fund a chapter 13.  There are secured and unsecured debt limits.  

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