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Chapter 13


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Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a bankruptcy of last resort. File chapter 13 bankruptcy only if you do not qualify to file chapter 7. This can be the case if you have recently filed chapter 7 and cannot file another chapter 7 right away or if you have a mortgage in default and you need time to get caught up with the back payments.

Chapter 13 is usually filed by people who are faced with the threat of foreclosure and have a sizable unpaid mortgage arrearage. This is because under chapter 13, you are allowed to pay off back payments on secured debts such as mortgages and car loans over a 3 to 5 year period. This allows you to get caught up with the back payments while keeping up the regular monthly payment.

In order to file chapter 13, you have to have income and enough of it to repay the debts. So if you are out of work or do not have enough income to keep up with the regular monthly payments, you will not qualify to file chapter 13.

Here is an example of how it works: Lets say you owe $20,00 on your car; $300,000 on your mortgage. Let us also suppose that your regular monthly payments on the mortgage is $1,000 ; your regular monthly car payment is $250 and that you are 6 months behind on both your mortgage and auto payment, (in which case your mortgage arrearage is $6,000 and your auto payment arrearage is $1,500.)

Here is how this would work under a 36 month payment plan:



Regular Monthly

paid directly
to creditor
as usual

Arrearage Payments
paid thru trustee
(Divide arrearage
into 36 months)

Auto 250 x 6 = $1,500 $250 1,500/36 = 0
Mortgage 1,000 x 6 = $6.000 $1,000 6,000/36 = 167
Totals $7,500 $1,250 167

In addition to the above figures, the trustee adds interest and their own administrative fees to the monthly payments made through them.

If you are faced with the possibility of losing your house, being able to repay the arrearage as shown above would be a good thing. On the other hand, if you are not behind on your mortgage but just have a heap of credit cards, medical bills and unsecured debts, you are better off not repaying them. You want to get rid of them in one step using chapter 7, rather than dragging out the misery for 3 or 5 years in chapter 13.

Also, because chapter 13 takes so long to complete, you cannot hide it from your credit report and you cannot start to remove it from your credit until the 3 or 5 years are up. The other thing that happens is that most chapter 13s do not go the distance. Even though you are given 3 to 5 years to pay off the arrearage, if you are having serious money problems that are causing you to file chapter 13, those same money problems will cause you to miss more of the regular payments while in chapter 13, until you fall out of chapter 13 altogether, with more debt that you started with.

If you still want to file chapter 13, we can help you. Chapter 13 shares most of the same forms as chapter 13 except that it has a repayment plan. The repayment plan is the document in which you propose to the court which debts you want to pay through the trustee and how much you want to pay them. Chapter 13 repayment plans vary from district to district and there is no official federal form for the plan. Each court district handles the plan in its own way and there is no one plan form approved for use nationwide. In some districts, each trustee has his or her own requirements for preparing the plan. For these reasons, we do not fill out the plan for you. Instead, we give you at no cost, your district's version of the plan, along with the online data tools to help you complete it. Also, all the court web sites give you a download of their own plan form. Once we have prepared your chapter 13 documents, it is easy for you to complete the one or two page plan, even by had if you prefer.

Because you are filing chapter 13 and not chapter 7, we do not include The Labyrinth. The Labyrinth is of no use in chapter 13 but makes all the difference in chapter 7. Also, for chapter 13, we do not guarantee the discharge since the goal of chapter 13 is usually not a discharge but a repayment. For chapter 13, we guarantee that you will be able to file our formsv or your money back. Other than this, our offer in chapter 7 applies to chapter 13.


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