If you get to the point in your life where you need to file for bankruptcy, you might feel like you are going to lose everything and that there is no coming back. The truth is – it’s not as bad as you may think. More people file bankruptcy each year than you would guess, but the trick is finding the guidance you need to navigate the bankruptcy process — that’s where we come in!
At Tolar & Tolar, Attorneys at Law, we are here for you. We want to help you get through this tough time in your life so that you can keep the important things and move on without constant harassment from creditors. There are a few different types of bankruptcy to consider, and we can help you figure out which kind of bankruptcy will be best for you.
Below, we go over what Chapter 13 bankruptcy is and how we can help you get through this difficult time quickly and with as little pain as possible.
What is Chapter 13 bankruptcy, and who can file for it?
With Chapter 13 bankruptcy, your property is not at risk to be sold by the court as it would be with Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Instead, you develop a plan to repay what you can afford to your creditors over a period of time, which is usually 3 to 5 years. You will also most likely be able to pay creditors less than what you currently owe.
One of the biggest benefits of filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that it halts foreclosure. This gives you enough time to come up with a plan that will hopefully free up enough of your income to allow you to catch up on your home, continue making payments and keep your house.
Also, in limited circumstances, Chapter 13 has the ability to get rid of second mortgages. If you owe more on the first mortgage than your house is worth, this bankruptcy option can eliminate any second mortgages on the home. This is only possible if you have no equity in the home, and it is your primary place of residence.
Although Chapter 13 is available to the vast majority of individuals, not everyone can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You have to meet the following criteria to be eligible:
- You must have regular income and be willing to pay all or part of your debts in installments over time.
- Your debts do not exceed specific dollar amounts outlined in the Bankruptcy Code.
What are the steps I have to go through to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
- Meet with a bankruptcy attorney at Tolar & Tolar: First, you will meet with either Greg or Reid at our offices to discuss your unique situation. We have years of experience helping people get their lives back on track. We want to do whatever we can to help you and your family. By working together with you, we will be able to determine what type of bankruptcy options fit your situation.
- Get help filing the required paperwork with the court: The next thing we do is help you prepare all of the paperwork and we will get it filed for you. You will have to submit official bankruptcy forms with a court clerk and present documentation that you received credit counseling education from an approved source. After filing, you will be required to take a second debt education course. We can help you navigate all of this.
- Attend a Chapter 13 Meeting of Creditors: After we file your case, you will be given a court date commonly known as your “Meeting of Creditors.”Any creditor of yours will receive notice of this hearing and is allowed to attend and ask questions about your petition. The Chapter 13 Trustee runs this hearing. They are the person who will collect the plan payments and distribute them to creditors. When you meet with the Trustee, they will ask you some basic questions. Just remember, the trustee is not there to shame you or to take anything from you. We will prepare you fully for this hearing and make sure that you are completely comfortable before going to this “Meeting of Creditors”.
- Have your plan confirmed by the Bankruptcy Court: A few weeks after your meeting of creditors, there is a hearing called the “Confirmation Hearing” where the judge will review your plan to make sure that it meets all of the requirements under the Bankruptcy Code. Typically, we can handle this hearing without you being present. We are here to make sure you have a successful plan to present right away.
- Complete your payment plan and discharge remaining debt: You must complete your 3 to 5-year repayment plan before any debt is discharged. If you can’t make payments because something changes in your situation, we can also walk you through the different options you have at that point.
Why Tolar & Tolar, Attorneys at Law?
Chapter 13 is a very complicated process, so you need to have an attorney help you. It is very difficult to take this on by yourself and still have a successful plan that creditors and the court will approve. At Tolar & Tolar, Attorneys at Law, we believe you shouldn’t have to go at it alone, and we dedicate ourselves to making sure you get a fair shake and keep as much of your life together as possible. Being a father/son law firm, we value the things that matter most to you. We never want to see someone lose their car or their home, so we do everything we can to help make sure that doesn’t happen.
Learn more about Tolar & Tolar, Attorneys at Law
At Tolar & Tolar, Attorneys at Law, we have years of experience helping other people get themselves back on track – giving them a new and brighter economic outlook. We would appreciate the opportunity to do the same for you. Let our family help your family!
Serving people in Millbrook, Auburn, Prattville, and Tallassee, we are your local solution to make the tough times easier. Contact us today to set up your free consultation!