Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is designed to offer a financial solution for debtors that may not meet the income qualifications of a Chapter 7 or for debtors who are looking for a debt reorganization. There is a misconception that all debts must be repaid in a Chapter 13 plan. There are numerous factors that determine the type of bankruptcy plan and usually unsecured creditors do not get paid in full. The knowledgeable Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys at the Licata Bankruptcy Firm can advise you if a Chapter 13 is in your best interest and what plan will meet your financial needs.
An experienced bankruptcy attorney with focus on only bankruptcy law is crucial for a successful Chapter 13 case. The factors to calculate what must be paid to creditors is always changing due to new case law, trustee interpretation of statutes, etc. Staying up to date on recent cases and creditor treatment in your area will ensure the best possible outcome. A miscalculated plan could lead to unnecessarily higher plan payments to creditors.
One of the biggest benefits of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Springfield Missouri is the retention of all your property. Debtors will not lose an asset even if they are non-exempt or not protected by law. This is useful if there are things a debtor wishes to keep that they would otherwise lose in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. For example, a luxury item like a boat or motorcycle or even a home that has equity above the protected amount can be retained in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often the best option for debtors who are above the median, meaning their income is too high to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. This does not mean that you must pay all your unsecured creditors in the Chapter 13 case. Your attorney will calculate the means test for you which determines how much you must pay monthly towards your creditors. The test is complicated and takes a sophisticated bankruptcy lawyer to accurately complete.
However, in basic terms assume your household income is $4,000 a month. Your expenses towards house or lease payments, vehicle payments, taxes, food, insurance, daycare etc. are $3,800. Then regardless of the amount of debt you owe, you would just have to pay $200 a month to satisfy the debt. Chapter 13 plans must go a minimum of 3 years and must complete within 5 years. Your attorney will evaluate your situation to determine the length of your plan.
Chapter 13 will stop a foreclosure on your home or repossession of a vehicle. Without a Chapter 13 filing, the creditor will demand full payment of the amount you are behind for you to retain the property. Chapter 13 will give you up to 5 years to catch up the amount you are delinquent and stop the legal action of foreclosure or repossession. You will retain the property and your first payment to the Chapter 13 trustee will not be due until 30 days after filing your case.
Our initial consults are always free. We offer a free 1-hour consult to review your case in detail and educate you on the bankruptcy process. During this consultation, an analysis of your specific situation will be used to determine if a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the right solution to your financial problem. What do you need to bring to the initial free Chapter 13 bankruptcy consultation? There is no documentation that is needed, just a general understanding of your financial situation will allow the attorney to explain your options. In the consultation, your income, assets, and liabilities will be discussed.
The Licata Bankruptcy Firm believes in personalized service to accurately prepare your bankruptcy case. You will personally meet with us in our office where we will fill out all your paperwork so that when you leave our office your case is ready to file. This will ensure you have a full understanding of the paperwork being prepared and the accuracy and efficiency of the filing process is intact. Debtors bring their required paperwork to the filing appointment and we do all the work. Our firm is dedicated to ensuring the bankruptcy process is as seamless and pleasant as possible.
Documentation & Credit Counseling
Documentation needed to file your bankruptcy case will be provided in detail at your initial free consultation. All Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases will require last years tax return, pay devices, or pay stubs for all pay periods within the last 60 days, evidence of all income earned in the prior six months, and a certificate of credit counseling. Counseling services are offered by multiple reputable companies.
Our client resource page has links to websites available to help debtors with the credit counseling process. It is not very burdensome. Generally, it includes filling out a list of assets and debts and submitting the documents to an approved agency. Once the agency has the documentation a counselor needs to speak to you for approximately 10 minutes. You can do the counseling class in person, by phone or over the internet.
The fees associated with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy can vary, but in most cases, we will file your Chapter 13 bankruptcy for an attorney fee of $600 plus the court filing fee of $310. Our firm can be retained for $300. Once you have retained the firm you can direct all creditors to our office. The retainer fee is not an additional fee but is applied towards your initial $600 attorney fee. The total fee on a base case to file a Chapter 13 that will impose an automatic stay and stops all collection efforts by creditors including lawsuits, harassing phone calls, garnishments, etc. is $910.
Once the initial $910 is paid your case can be filed. The attorney will quote, in your free consultation, attorney fees that get paid after the filing of your case through your Chapter 13 plan payments. The aforementioned fees are for a standard consumer bankruptcy. If you own a business or have complexities to your case the fees may vary based upon the facts. Our fees are very competitive, we realize you are currently in a difficult financial situation.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to relieve debtors of their financial burdens through reorganization of debt. A discharge of any unpaid debts is obtained after all plan payments have been made. These debts include unsecured debts including, but not limited to credit cards, medical bills, signature and payday loans, collection accounts, repossession deficiencies, cellular bills, lawsuit judgments, utility bills, and some tax liabilities. Debtors can also get relief from secured debts they have, for example, house or vehicle loans they cannot afford, without any deficiency amounts owed to the creditor after the surrender of collateral. In addition, Chapter 13 plans are useful for paying tax liabilities and child support arrearages both debts that are generally considered non-dischargeable.