Chapter 13 FAQs

Chapter 13 FAQs

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a debt repayment plan that generally runs over a 3-5 year period. The debtor makes a specified payment to the Chapter 13 trustee, who then distributes the money to creditors. The amount creditors receive can vary between 1% and 100%, depending on the Debtor’s ability to repay. The debtor receives a discharge of all dischargeable debts upon completion of the Plan.

Who determines how much my Chapter 13 payments will be?

The amount of your Chapter 13 payments are based upon your income, your monthly living expenses, and the amount of your total debts. You are allowed to keep and spend as much of your income as is necessary to maintain a reasonable standard of living.

Will I be able to keep all of my property?

Yes, a Chapter 13 case protects all of your property. However, you can still choose to surrender an asset if you wish, such as a car or house, so as to have a lower monthly payment.

Who can file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

In order to file in Georgia you must have lived in the state within the past 90 days.

How long will a Chapter 13 Plan last?

Chapter 13 repayment Plans last from 36 to 60 months. Upon completion of the Plan, the Debtor is discharged, meaning all of the debts are legally forgiven forever.

What are the most common causes of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

The most common reasons for bankruptcy are (a) loss of a job or long-term layoffs; (b) loss of overtime hours; (c) large medical expenses or lengthy illnesses; (d) death or disability of a spouse; (e) separation, divorce and marital problems; (g) large unanticipated expenses.

Can I stop the bill collectors from calling?

All creditor actions, including phone calls, garnishments, and lawsuits, are immediately stopped when a case is filed.

I am married; does my spouse also have to file bankruptcy?

No. In some cases where only one spouse has debts, then it might be advisable to have only one spouse file. Keep in mind, however, that a Spouse’s income must be disclosed to the Court, even if that Spouse does not file.

Will I lose my job?

No. Bankruptcy laws prohibit such discrimination based upon a debtor filing for protection under the bankruptcy laws.

Can I keep my home, car, and furniture?

Yes. One of the main reasons for filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to keep and protect your Assets.

Will Bankruptcy stop a wage garnishment?

Yes. All collection efforts, including garnishments, are immediately stopped when a case is filed. (Except for regular monthly child support payments)

Will Bankruptcy stop a foreclosure?

Yes, all foreclosures are immediately stopped when a case is filed. The Debtor must make all future mortgage payments in a timely manner in order to retain the house.

Do I have to fill out forms?

Yes. You will receive a detailed questionnaire from our office to be completed. It is important that you complete all of the questions, even though many of them may not apply to you or to your situation.

You will be required to list ALL of you property and ALL of your debts. At the initial court appearance, you will be asked under oath whether you have listed all of your property and all of your debts and you must be able to truthfully answer that you have.

Your attorney will ask you to complete a questionnaire and then will take that questionnaire and complete the bankruptcy petition and schedules based on the information which you have provided. There could be between 30 and 60 pages in your petition, schedule and other papers filed at the time of your bankruptcy. You must follow the local and federal bankruptcy court rules in completing the forms. Preparing these forms requires an understanding of both bankruptcy law and local state law in order to enter the information correctly and accurately. The forms have to be typed and a certain number of copies must be included with the filing.

After your attorney has prepared the bankruptcy petition, you or you and your spouse (if filing jointly) will review them and, if they are correct, sign them. Your attorney will forward them to the Court along with the necessary filing fees.

Will Bankruptcy stop a judgment?

Yes. Most civil judgments are stopped by bankruptcy.

I am a co-signer for a debt. Do I need to include the debt?

You can choose to have the debt included in your repayment plan, or if the cosigner desires to pay for the debt, you can specify that the Cosigner will pay for the debt directly. While you are in Chapter 13, the co-debtor is protected against collection efforts. Keep in mind that your Discharge only applies to your liability, not the Cosigner’s.

Who notifies the creditor and bill collection?

After your bankruptcy is filed, the Bankruptcy Court mails a notice to all the creditors you listed in your case. This usually takes 4-7 days.

Do I have to go to court?

Yes. Within about 30 to 45 days after you file the bankruptcy, you will have to attend an informal hearing conducted by the Trustee. At this hearing, the Trustee will ask questions to you under oath regarding your assets, income, and debts. Your attorney will be there with you and will help you prepare for the hearing. After this hearing you will normally not need to return to court unless specific problems cannot be resolved otherwise.

Who deals with the bill collectors during the bankruptcy?

Your attorney and the Chapter 13 Trustee deal with your creditors for you. You should refer all creditors and bill collectors to your attorney.

What if I forget to list a creditor on my bankruptcy papers?

You can add a creditor that was unintentionally omitted as long as your case is still open. The Court charges a small fee for the Amendment.

Can I reduce the interest rate on my loans?

Interest rates on secured debts, such as cars and furniture, are significantly reduced. Unsecured creditors, such as credit cards and loans, do not receive any interest in a chapter 13 case.