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What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 is a type of bankruptcy for individuals who have stable jobs, are overwhelmed with debt but also have a home or other property they want to hold on to. Deciding to file is a difficult decision and consulting with a Jacksonville chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney will allow you to know if you are eligible file.

The first step is to hire a Chapter 13 law firm to help you determine if filing is in your best interests and protect you throughout the process. There are many advantages to filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Florida, but everyone's situation will be different, so contact a Chapter 13 attorney in Jacksonville for a free consultation and find out more bankruptcy information.

The largest advantage to Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that you will generally get to keep your car and family home. Since this type of bankruptcy is a restructuring of debt, it also remains on your credit for less time and allows you to begin building up a positive credit score more quickly than other types of bankruptcy.

During the chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings, you are protected by the Florida courts from all your creditors. That means no more harassing phone calls or letters. You and your creditors will agree on a monthly payment amount, which you will pay for 36 to 60 months. During this time you must make the agreed payments, but also maintain payments on secured debt (your mortgage, for example). At the end of the payment period, your remaining debts are discharged. When debt is discharged you can never be held liable for them in the future.

There are some debts that cannot be wiped out under other types of bankruptcy that may be eligible to be discharged under Chapter 13. For example, debts you obtained from court settlements and sometimes taxes that cannot be wiped out under a liquidation bankruptcy. A Chapter 13 lawyer can determine which of your debts are eligible to be discharged.

If you have a co-signer on a personal loan, this type of bankruptcy can protect them from creditors. If you fileChapter 7, your creditor can go after your co-signer for payment of the debt. By contrast, in a Chapter 13, you pay off the debt and protect your co-signer from being liable for the debt.

If you are considering filing Chapter 13 in Jacksonville, you should hire Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys to help you file all the paperwork correctly and protect you and your interests.

Who should choose Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

If your income is above a certain level, you will not be able to pass the means test, which determines whether a person is eligible to declare bankruptcy under Chapter 7. Ineligibility does not, however, mean that you do not have any other option. Most individuals and families who are seeking debt relief are eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, which is commonly referred to as “wage earner's bankruptcy.”

It is for people whose debt load is not so crippling that they are entirely unable to support their financial obligations, but who are struggling to keep up with their loan payments and cannot realistically expect to get out of debt by any other means in the foreseeable future.

The basic eligibility requirements for Chapter 13 bankruptcy are simple. Provided that you owe no more than $360,475 in unsecured debts such as credit card debt, and that your secured debts, such as your home mortgage, are no greater than $1,081,400, you should qualify to pursue this type of bankruptcy.

As soon as you file your petition with the court, you will be legally protected against wage garnishment, foreclosure, and other types of creditor action by an automatic stay.

How does Chapter 13 bankruptcy work?

The major downside to Chapter 13 bankruptcy for those who are anxious to get out of debt quickly is that it is not as fast as Chapter 7. Instead of taking a few months to resolve debts, a Chapter 13 case is centered on a three- or five-year period of continued payment on your debts. You will not, however, have to keep paying the same amount that you currently do. Instead, your existing debts will be rolled into a single monthly payment, which is calculated based on your other living expenses so that it is within your means to pay.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy also has advantages over Chapter 7: You will not have to look for exemptions to defend your property against liquidation, and you may even be able to lump any missed mortgage payments into the repayment plan, thereby allowing you to cure your mortgage.

To learn more about this option and find out whether it is right for you, contact a Jacksonville bankruptcy attorney at The Law Offices of Justin McMurray, P.A. today for a free consultation.

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