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The Basics of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

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Bankruptcy can work as a financial do-over, but what it is not is a handout, charity, or a sign of failure. We all face difficulties, and some of us face more daunting financial difficulties than others. If the global pandemic has taught us nothing else, it is that, sometimes, we need to regroup and try a different course and that, sometimes, the answer is bankruptcy. If you are considering bankruptcy, the first order of business is reaching out to an experienced bankruptcy attorney in Merrillville

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If your financial needs involve offloading cumbersome debt while retaining your personal property (which is generally the goal for personal bankruptcies), Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be in order. A successful Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing puts an end to all debt collection efforts, including:

  • Repossession actions
  • Foreclosure proceedings
  • Wage garnishments

This is achieved through the automatic stay that the Chapter 13 bankruptcy statute imposes. While this stay is in effect, your creditors must refrain from suing you in relation to your debts and from calling you in an effort to collect on those debts, which can offer you the reprieve you need to regain your financial footing. Additionally, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can offer you, as the debtor, all the following:

  • Your successful bankruptcy will allow you the ability to retain significant amounts of property, including equity in your home, car, and some additional investments.
  • All of your debts addressed by the bankruptcy will be combined into one amount, and repayment, which will be handled by the trustee involved. 
  • Your repayment plan will be calculated in accordance with your disposable income (to help ensure that it is manageable for you). 

Your Repayment Plan

The trustee handling your case will use the assets that accrue in your account to pay back secured debts first. These include

  • Your back mortgage payments
  • Your car payments
  • Any other debts related to property and other investments that you are allowed to keep

After these secured debts are addressed, your trustee will move on to priority debts, which include things like the following:

  • Back income taxes
  • Child support arrears
  • Alimony arrears

From here, your trustee will proceed to the next order of business, which includes unsecured debts, such as:

  • Medical expenses
  • Credit card debt
  • Debt from other interest-bearing accounts

These unsecured debts will be paid with any funds that remain after your higher-priority debts are attended to. Often, these unsecured debts are repaid at a fraction of their face value, which can ultimately save you a good deal of money. The repayment plans approved by the court typically last for from three to five years, and after this time, certain of your debts may be completely discharged. 

It’s Time to Consult with an Experienced Bankruptcy Attorney in Merrillville

If you are facing serious financial hardship, the skilled bankruptcy attorneys at Whitten & Whitten in Merrillville have the experience, knowledge, and dedication to help you find the best answers for you. To learn more about how we can help, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

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