How to File a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to know what is involved in the process, which can take from three to five years. Because a Chapter 13 lasts for much longer than a Chapter 7, it is especially important to have the guidance of an experienced bankruptcy attorney who can help you keep your bankruptcy on track. Attorney John Steinberger is a board-certified bankruptcy attorney with decades of experience successfully guiding clients through Chapter 13 bankruptcy plans.

Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Right for You?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also known as “wage earner’s bankruptcy.” It is a financial reorganization plan that allows you to repay your debts over time. You make payments directly to your Chapter 13 bankruptcy trustee, who administers your bankruptcy estate and makes payments to your creditors.

The first step in filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is determining if Chapter 13 is the right type of bankruptcy for you. Our bankruptcy team will review your financial information with you and discuss whether Chapter 13 bankruptcy is right for your situation and needs. To learn more about the advantages of Chapter 13 bankruptcy, check out our Chapter 13 overview.

Completing the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition

After you have retained our Michigan bankruptcy law firm, we will prepare your Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition using the complete financial information you have given us. That information needs to include a thorough list of all debts that you owe, even if you are current with your payments. Our office will pull your credit report to help make this process more convenient for you. The exact financial information we will need you to provide will depend on your circumstances.

You will have another appointment with us to review your petition and ensure that the information in it is complete and accurate. If everything in the petition is correct, you will sign it. At this same appointment, your attorney will prepare your Chapter 13 repayment plan. This plan will set forth the payments you will make to the bankruptcy trustee for your creditors’ benefit. The plan will last for three to five years, depending on your income and expenses.

Shortly after your signing appointment, we will file your bankruptcy petition. The filing fee must be paid either at the time of filing or shortly thereafter.

After the Chapter 13 Petition is Filed

As soon as your Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition is filed, the automatic stay takes effect, preventing your creditors from harassing or even contacting you. Another thing that needs to happen soon after filing is for you to begin making payments to your bankruptcy trustee.

Your Chapter 13 bankruptcy plan payments will probably eventually be made by wage assignment. However, wage assignment does not begin immediately, while your payments must begin within 30 days after your petition is filed. We will provide you with your case number upon filing of your case and the contact information for your bankruptcy trustee after the trustee is assigned. Then you can make your payments directly until wage assignment takes effect. Failure to make scheduled payments is the most common reason that Chapter 13 bankruptcies are dismissed, so it is important not only to make payments but to keep records of them.

Hearings in a Michigan Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

You will need to make at least two appearances in your Chapter 13 bankruptcy. It is likely that these appearances will be remote. The first is the §341 Meeting of Creditors before your bankruptcy trustee. The purpose of this brief meeting (it usually takes less than ten minutes) is to ensure that you are paying all of your disposable income toward repayment of your unsecured debt. You must attend this meeting with your attorney before your Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan can be confirmed. You will be placed under oath and the trustee will ask you some questions, for which your attorney will prepare you beforehand.

The second appearance you must make in your bankruptcy is your confirmation hearing before the bankruptcy judge in your case. This hearing takes place within 45 days after your §341 Meeting. During this hearing, the judge will decide whether your repayment plan is feasible and in line with the Bankruptcy Code’s standards for confirmation.

Once your plan is confirmed, you will continue making payments to your trustee. If you complete the plan, you will receive a discharge of the unsecured debts listed in the plan. If your situation changes during your bankruptcy, you may find that you have difficulty making your payments. If that happens, contact our office immediately. There may be options you can pursue, such as modifying your plan or converting to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.

Work with an Experienced Detroit Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney

Attorney John Steinberger has filed over 10,000 bankruptcies during his decades in legal practice. Many of those were Chapter 13 bankruptcies that helped people like you repay some of their debt and get their finances back on track.

If your financial problems are keeping you up at night, you don’t have to suffer needlessly or manage your debt alone. Contact John A. Steinberger & Associates, P.C. today to learn about your options, including Chapter 13 bankruptcy.