The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process

Bankruptcy Attorney

The first step to filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to talk to a qualified bankruptcy attorney. Their experience and expertise will prove to be invaluable when you are trying to keep as much of your assets as possible while eliminating as much debt as possible.

Bankruptcy law has very specific rules and timelines. If you try to go it alone, you may miss something important and have your case dismissed, or lose valuable assets that you didn’t need to.

Finances

Depending on your income and future income potential, this will help you decide which type of bankruptcy fits your unique financial situation. If you have a reliable source of income and you have a lot of assets you want to keep, you will probably want to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Credit Counseling Courses

As part of any personal bankruptcy process, you must attend a court-approved credit counseling course. This course must be completed before you file for bankruptcy. These can be taken online if you would prefer this method. You will not be able to complete your bankruptcy case unless you have completed one of these courses.

Filing Paperwork

As soon as you and your attorney file the bankruptcy petition with the correct bankruptcy court for your residency, the legal aspects will automatically begin. You will have 15 days from this date to submit your proposed repayment plan with the court. The automatic stay goes into effect, and your creditors will have to stop all collection activities against you.

The Creditors Meeting

Also called the 341 meeting, approximately 45 days after you file your paperwork, you and your attorney will attend the creditors meeting. The court-appointed trustee will ask you questions about your finances, assets and the petition you filed. Your plan for repayment will be reviewed and the trustee to determine if you are making a good faith effort to repay your creditors and if you will likely have the resources to make the payments.

Court Approval

After the 341 meeting, your Chapter 13 plan is sent to the bankruptcy judge for approval. The judge makes sure all of the court administration fees have been paid and that you are likely to make the approved payments as part of the repayment plan.

Payments to the Trustee

Within 30 days of your bankruptcy filing, you will begin to make payment to the trustee. The trustee will distribute the money to your creditors. Your payment plan will be either a three to five-year plan; legally, you do not have to make any payments past the five-year mark.

Debtors Education Course

Prior to the discharge of your bankruptcy case, you will have to attend a debtor education course to teach you how to manage your finances. Again, this course can be taken online if that is more convenient to you.

Discharge

Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be complete once you have made all the scheduled payments. Any qualifying debt remaining will be discharged.

Speaking to a Columbus bankruptcy attorney can answer all your questions regarding bankruptcy.

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