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How do I File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Article Details
  • Written By: Felicia Dye
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 15 October 2017
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2017
    Conjecture Corporation
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Before attempting to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should make sure that you are eligible and seek credit counseling. Once you have, you will need to file a petition with the bankruptcy court in your jurisdiction. Prepare and submit the necessary documents, such as schedules of your assets, income, and a payment plan. Before your case is finalized, you will be required to attend a meeting with your creditors and a hearing regarding your case.

Save yourself from wasting effort and time by making sure that you qualify to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy before you set out to do so. Eligibility requirements that you need to consider are the stability of your income and the amount of debt that you have. Furthermore, you will not be allowed to pursue your Chapter 13 bankruptcy case if you have not first completed credit counseling. This type of counseling is not provided by the bankruptcy court, but the service provider that you choose should be one that has been approved by the U.S. Trustee’s Office or similar body if you reside in another country.

To officially begin the process to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must file a petition with the bankruptcy court in your jurisdiction. The petition will serve as your application to request that your case be heard. In addition to this, you will need to file other documents, such as schedules of assets and liabilities and income and expenditures. You will be required to pay both a filing fee and a miscellaneous administrative fee.

Your case will be handled by a trustee. You should gather all of your tax documents from the most recent year and any returns that you have or will submit while trying to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. These will need to be given to the trustee. Another important document that you will need to submit soon after lodging your petition is the payment plan. Chapter 13 requires that you pay at least some portion of your debts. You will outline how you will go about this in the payment plan.

At some point, a meeting will be scheduled with your creditors. You will need to be in attendance. At the meeting, you will discuss and be questioned about your financial affairs and the payment plan that you outlined. Know that you will be under oath, so it is important not to make any false statements. At a later date, you will also be required to appear in court for a hearing regarding your case.

You are not required to have an attorney to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This does not mean, however, that you should not at least consider hiring one. Bankruptcy cases can be complicated for a person without experience, so legal expertise can be very handy. Also, if you are unable to produce the necessary documents, you can employ the services of a bankruptcy document preparer.

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