Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Northwest Indiana
Largely due to some legal changes in the 2010s, creditors are now more aggressive than ever. In fact, most banks can legally foreclose on most home loans and other secured debts after just one missed payment. Additionally, Indiana is a non-judicial foreclosure state. So, expedited foreclosure is available in some situations, and these proceedings are not court-supervised. Technically, civil judges can step in and stop foreclosures. But very few people qualify for such relief.
In contrast, as outlined below, almost everyone qualifies for Chapter 13. This federal debt relief program stops foreclosure and other adverse creditor actions. Additionally, Chapter 13 gives families up to five years to erase past-due mortgage payments and other obligations while they hold onto their property. The dedicated Northwest Indiana Chapter 13 lawyers at Whitten & Whitten can show you how bankruptcy can turn your financial life around. Our singular focus is helping people like you get the fresh start they deserve.
Do I Need a Chapter 13 Lawyer?
Some distressed debtors attempt do-it-yourself bankruptcies. Others partner with bankruptcy petition preparers. These options might save money in the short term. But they could cost your family much more in the long term.
Bankruptcy, especially Chapter 13, is a complex process. It is essentially like filing a corporate tax return without an accountant or without the instructions for the forms. Errors are common, especially since many DIY filers are under significant financial stress. Even an unintentional mistake could be construed as bankruptcy fraud. Such charges make a bad situation much worse.
Bankruptcy petition preparers are not attorneys. In fact, federal law has almost no BPP requirements. Almost anyone can be one, regardless of education or experience. Furthermore, BPPs cannot give legal advice. They can only fill out forms. Additionally, they certainly cannot represent you in court.
An experienced Northwest Indiana Chapter 13 lawyer does all these things and more. In addition to helping people file bankruptcy, our lawyers unlock some advanced bankruptcy options that could save your family thousands of dollars. We also develop exit strategies for families that help them quickly recover from the adverse effects of a bankruptcy filing.
Do I Qualify for Chapter 13?
As mentioned, most people qualify for this form of debt relief. However, there are some formal and informal qualifications.
All bankruptcy petitioners must complete a pre-filing credit counseling course and a post-filing budgeting course. These classes, which are usually available online, typically only cost a few dollars and only take a few minutes.
Additionally, Chapter 13 debtors must have less than $1.2 million in secured debts, like a home loan, and less than $500,000 in unsecured debts, like credit cards.
Some informal qualifications apply as well. For example, debtors must have sufficient monthly disposable income to fund a debt consolidation payment. This payment must be large enough to retire all secured debt delinquency before the bankruptcy closes. As mentioned, that is usually five years.
What is the Chapter 13 Process?
As soon as debtors file their voluntary petitions, Section 362 of the Bankruptcy Code takes effect. The Automatic Stay prohibits most creditor adverse actions, such as repossession, foreclosure, wage garnishment, and creditor harassment.
About six weeks later, the debtor and debtor’s attorney meet with the trustee (person who oversees the bankruptcy for the judge). The trustee helps the debtor set up an income-based repayment plan centered around the aforementioned debt consolidation payment.
If the repayment plan meets minimum legal qualifications, the judge will probably approve it without requiring a hearing. At the end of the protected repayment period, most unsecured debts are discharged. So, the debtor has no credit card bills, medical debts, or other unsecured debts, and a zero past-due balance on all secured obligations. That’s the very definition of a fresh start.
Contact a Dedicated Attorney
No matter what financial problems you face, bankruptcy could be a way out. For a free consultation with an experienced bankruptcy lawyer in Northwest Indiana, contact Whitten & Whitten. Convenient payment plans are available.
Schedule A Free Consultation
At Whitten & Whitten, we offer a free consultation during which we will examine the facts of your case and advise you on how best to proceed