Fight for a Fresh Start with LeavenLaw

Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a method for repaying a percentage of your debts, interest free, over a period of time based upon, generally speaking, your ability to pay. With the help of a foreclosure defense lawyer, a Chapter 13 allows you to stop foreclosures, catch up on past due mortgage payments, restructure your car loan and pay off your other debts according to a court approved plan of reorganization.

Take a look at the following topics to learn more:

A St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyer at LeavenLaw can help you if you are facing overwhelming debt or foreclosure. We can talk to you about your financial goals and inform you of all your options so you can make a decision that’s best for you now and in the future.

Contact us today and take advantage of our free case evaluations!

Why would I file a Chapter 13?

There are many benefits to filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. With an experienced lawyer, you can go over your options and make a decision that will best benefit you and your loved ones. In most cases, your monthly payments will be dramatically reduced and your outlook vastly improved.

Take a look at some of the benefits to filing a Chapter 13 below:

  • Save-a-Home: You are behind on mortgage or auto payments and you want to want to keep those assets. A Chapter 13 will allow you to get current provided you complete the plan successfully.
  • Taxes: If you have tax debts, sometimes they may be very difficult to discharge in a Chapter 7 case. A Chapter 13, however, will allow you to pay the taxes back over the life of the plan while protecting you from wage and bank account garnishments.
  • Best Interests of the Creditors: In the situation where you would have some assets liquidated in a Chapter 7 case (i.e., non-exempt assets) and you’d like to keep those assets but still get the protection from your creditors that a bankruptcy would provide a Chapter 13 would allow you to keep those assets if it is structured correctly.
  • Time Barred: If you have filed a Chapter 7 within the prior 8 years you cannot file another case until the 8 year period has expired. A Chapter 13 filing can protect you and your assets from the collection efforts of your creditors.
  • Student Loans: While you can’t discharge student loans or certain types of taxes in a Chapter 7 case, you can consolidate those debts in a Chapter 13 and put them into a manageable repayment plan.
  • Protect Co-Signors: You may have co-signers on debts that you want to protect so your creditors do not attempt to recover from them. If you had a friend, spouse, ex-spouse, or relative co-sign for you on a debt your creditor would be paid through the Chapter 13 plan and the co-signer will be completely protected.
  • Disposable Income: As previously discussed, you may simply have too much income to qualify for a Chapter 7 case or you perhaps would rather repay the debt. A Chapter 13 would allow you to do that without having your back against the wall. We can devise a plan that is simple and, most of all, workable for you.

Am I Eligible to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Generally speaking, you do not choose what type of bankruptcy that you want to file – instead you qualify for one. The Bankruptcy Code requires that an individual whose household income is above the median income for a similar sized household in their county engage in the "long-form" disposable median income test to determine if he or she has sufficient monies to make reasonable ends meet and then have disposable income left over to pay a portion of their unsecured debts back interest free over a five year period of time.

In other words, you need to have a regular and stable source of income that gives you enough disposable income (i.e., left over income) in order to fund a plan payment after you’ve paid your basic, necessary and reasonable living expenses to have some funds available to pay into the Chapter 13 Trustee every month.

There’s no set formula for calculating disposable income -- every case is different based upon your individual facts and circumstances -- we will help you figure that out. Chapter 13 can be a very viable solution to your debt problems and while it is a more complicated case due to the reorganization and repayment of the debt over a period of time, it is a very effective and useful tool to help resolve difficult debt issues.

Effect of Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy on Credit Score

Everyone who considers bankruptcy will very early in the conversation ask "what will it do to my credit score?" Rightfully so – many people have worked long and hard to establish their credit. Chapter 13 bankruptcy will negatively affect your credit – that is a factual statement. The degree to which it will affect your credit is hard to tell, however. It is unfortunately not a scientific formula or equation. Equifax, Trans Union and Experian all have many factors that are taken into consideration in determining what someone’s FICO or Beacon Score is at any one point in time.

The Powerful Tool of Reorganization

Chapter 13 "reorganization" is a powerful tool that we may rely upon to assist in our overall analysis of a client’s facts & circumstances surrounding troubled mortgages. If a client would like to try and keep a home after they have fallen behind on their mortgage, a Chapter 13 will stop any foreclosure lawsuit and allow the homeowner / borrower to keep the home provided that they can make their payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee.

In a depressed real estate market, when a mortgage goes into default and is ultimately foreclosed, typically there may be a deficiency that remains after the home is sold and set off against the amount of the loans. In other words, it is the amount of money still owed to the bank after they take into account the money they received from the sale of the home. In the end, the Chapter 13 is a power tool both to save homes as well as eliminate or greatly reduce the deficiency that will likely result from the surrender and foreclosure of homes in a depressed real estate market.

Even if the bank is able to sell the home quickly and file a claim, the total amount of the deficiency is rarely, if ever, paid back. Instead, the borrower / debtor pay the bank pennies on the dollar, interest free, just as they do their other unsecured debts.

Call a St. Petersburg Chapter 13 Attorney for a Free Consult!

At LeavenLaw we assist clients with Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases throughout Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and the surrounding areas in Florida. When you begin working with your firm on your bankruptcy case, we will also provide creditor harassment representation – at no cost to you. Together, we can stop creditor abuse and work to stop the foreclosure of your home while at the same time reorganizing and consolidating your debt to help you face a brighter financial future! Call our firm today!