What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy and what are its pros and cons?

Filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy can benefit you if you have failed in all your attempts to get rid of your outstanding debt. With the help of Chapter 13, you can avoid foreclosure and also repay some or all of your debts over a specific time period; it usually takes 3 – 5 years to repay your multiple debts. Chapter 13 is also referred to as reorganization bankruptcy or a wage earner’s plan.

When do you need to file Chapter 13?

Filing Chapter 13 would be helpful to you if you’re experiencing one or more of the following situations.

• You want to protect your assets from liquidation.
• You want to pay off your secured debts.
• You’re not able to pay your monthly mortgage payments.
• Your property lien is more than the value of your collateral.
• You’re not able to discharge your debts by filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
• Your income is much higher than what is required for filing Chapter 7.

What are the eligibility criteria?

You need to satisfy some factors in order to qualify for filing Chapter 13. The eligibility criteria are as follows.

• You should have a regular income so that you can make your monthly repayments.
• You should’ve enrolled yourself in a credit counseling session within past 6 months before filing bankruptcy.
• According to the bankruptcy rules, you shouldn’t have exceeded USD 307,657 and USD 922,975 in your unsecured and secured debts respectively.
• You gross monthly income is required to be more than the State Median Income of your family size.
• You cannot file Chapter 13 within 2 years from the previous filing; you need to wait for 4 years if you’ve filed Chapter 7 previously.

How does Chapter 13 bankruptcy function?

As a debtor, you need to prepare a repayment plan and attach the proposal along with your bankruptcy documents while filing Chapter 13. Then, you should send the proposal to all your creditors. Your repayment plan should comprise of all your debts, that is, the priority claims along with your secured and unsecured debts.

What are the pros and cons of filing Chapter 13?

The pros and cons of filing Chapter 13 are as follows:

• It stops any legal action against you.
• You may get rid of some of your debts.
• You’re able to save your real estate and personal property.
• You can pay back your debts through a structured repayment plan.
• You’ll get no more calls from your creditors or collection agencies.

• It will stay in your credit report for 7 years.
• Your credit score may drop down by 200 – 250 points.
• You need to bear the costs of hiring an attorney and a trustee.
• You’ll have to pay the regular fees for filing Chapter 13.

It is really important to do the required documentation under the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy lawyer because the court has every right to dismiss your case if there is any mistake in your paperwork.

Author's Bio: 

Samantha Taylor is a contributing Financial Writer, Moderator and Community Mentor of MortgageFit. She has been an active participant in the forums wherein she offers mortgage advice and suggestions to people in loan problems. If you have a query on chapter 13 bankruptcy 'related issues, you can simply discuss it with her in the Mortgage Forum.