Chapter 13 Practice Center

If you are facing a mountain of debt and bills and are considering bankruptcy, contact a lawyer who can help you evaluate your options.

Learn More About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is significantly different from Chapter 7, which is what most people think of when they think of bankruptcy. Below you will find more information about this unique type of bankruptcy. When you are ready to discuss your case in more detail, contact us at the Cleveland law firm of Richard Banks & Associates. Our experienced attorneys serve people throughout Tennessee and North Georgia.

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Frequently Asked Questions About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Q: How does a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case work?

A: Chapter 13 of the federal Bankruptcy Code allows a consumer to repay all or a majority of his or her debts through a payment plan approved by the Bankruptcy Court. When the plan is in place, creditors generally are prohibited from collecting debts directly from the debtor. Instead of paying his or her creditors directly, the debtor pays a certain amount every month to the Chapter 13 trustee, and the trustee distributes the money to the creditors, as provided in the Chapter 13 plan. When the last payment is made, the debtor is no longer liable for the remainder of his or her dischargeable debts.

Q: How long does it take to complete a Chapter 13 plan?

A: For those who earn less than the median income for the state they live in, a Chapter 13 plan can be completed in as little as three years (36 months), If the debtor's monthly income is higher than median income for their state, the plan will generally last for five years (60 months). By law, a Chapter 13 repayment plan cannot last longer than five years.

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy - An Overview

The bills are stacking up, demanding calls and letters are arriving with increasing frequency and despite the best of efforts, the overdue debts just cannot be paid. In such cases, filing bankruptcy under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code may provide a solution to what seems like an insurmountable problem. Once considered a last resort, bankruptcy has evolved into an accepted method of resolving serious financial problems. If you are facing serious financial challenges, it is important to seek the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney at Richard Banks & Associates in Cleveland, TN, to determine whether filing under Chapter 13 is right for you.

Bankruptcy law provides two basic forms of relief: (1) liquidation and (2) rehabilitation or reorganization. Most bankruptcies filed in the United States involve liquidation, which is governed by Chapter 7 of the Bankruptcy Code. A reorganization or rehabilitation bankruptcy under Chapter 11 or 13 of the Bankruptcy Code is, however, the option often preferred by the courts. Under Chapters 11 and 13, creditors may be provided with a better opportunity to recoup what they are owed.

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Alternatives to Filing Bankruptcy

Debtors who have faced obstacles to paying off their debts when due have no doubt received more than their fair share of demanding letters and phone calls, and the thought of filing bankruptcy and getting rid of their debts, and thus the constant demands, can be quite appealing. Before making a decision to pursue that route, which can have long-term effects on credit rating and the ability to make large purchases, debtors may wish to consider other, less drastic alternatives.

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Debts that Remain After a Chapter 13 Discharge

A Chapter 13 discharge affects only those debts provided for by the plan. Any debts not provided for in the plan will remain, and the debtor will have to pay them in full, even after discharge. Additional exceptions to a Chapter 13 discharge include, generally, claims for spousal and child support; educational loans; drunk driving liabilities; criminal fines and restitution obligations; and certain long-term obligations, such as home mortgages, that extend beyond the term of the plan.

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Effects of a Salary Increase on a Wage-Earner Plan Under Chapter 13

When a Chapter 13 debtor enters into a wage-earner plan, he or she commits the next three years' disposable income — that portion of the debtor's income not required to meet the necessary needs of the debtor and his or her dependents — to the repayment of debt. Often, a debtor's income will increase after the plan is in place, and the question arises as to what becomes of this increase in income.

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Rebuilding Your Credit After Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy has a long-lasting impact on a person's credit rating and on his or her ability to obtain credit in the future. The impact is not entirely negative. In some cases, filing bankruptcy may actually improve a bad credit rating. In addition, there are a number of steps a person can take to improve his or her credit after bankruptcy.

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Chapter 13 Resource Links

United States Bankruptcy Courts
The official website of the United States Bankruptcy Courts includes a variety of useful information about bankruptcy.

Bankruptcy glossary
A glossary of bankruptcy terminology that explains, in layman's terms, many of the legal terms that are used in cases filed under the Bankruptcy Code.

Bankruptcy fees
Bankruptcy filing fees, maintained by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts on behalf of the U.S. Courts.

Bankruptcy forms
Official Bankruptcy Forms, Procedural Forms and the Bankruptcy Forms Manual.

Chapter 13 basics
General information about individual debt adjustment under Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code.

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