How to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Filing for bankruptcy can be a confusing and time consuming process. Here is a rundown of how to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
- Make sure Chapter 13 is the right choice for you. Explore your other options, including Chapter 7 bankruptcy, and decide whether Chapter 13 is still your best option.
- Review your debts. If what you owe is too much, you may not be eligible or you may not be able to propose a plausible plan.
- Evaluate your income. You must have adequate income to make payments required in a Chapter 13 plan. You won’t be able to keep the repayment obligation if you cannot make the planned payments, and you’re case will be halted by the court.
- Value your assets. Before you file, you’ll need to know how many assets you own and what you can claim exemptions on. This will factor into how much or how little your payments will be under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan.
- Complete the bankruptcy forms. Once you have determined you’re qualified to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must enter all of your financial information on official bankruptcy forms and create your repayment plan.
- File your forms. When everything is ready and checked, file your documents and plan with the court to get the process started.
- Attend two hearings. Within a few weeks after you file, you’ll meet with the trustee to review your forms and your plan. There may also be creditors attending this meeting. They may ask you questions or try to negotiate the terms of your plan. Shortly afterwards you will attend a confirmation hearing at which you will find out if your plan is confirmed. At this point, creditors can raise objections to your plan, and their objections will be ruled upon.
- Make payments. You must begin to make payments in regards to your repayment plan within 30 days. Be aware that your case will be dismissed if you miss any payments.
- Get your bankruptcy discharged. When you complete your repayment plan, you will get your bankruptcy discharge. The discharge relieves you of any legal commitment for any unpaid debt on the unsecured debt listed in the plan. Once you’ve completed the payment amount agreed upon in the plan you’re completely finished.