Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Is More Complex Than Chapter 7
Des Moines, IA (Law Firm Newswire) April 21, 2011 – People not eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may be eligible for Chapter 13. The key lies in protecting non-exempt assets.
“With the recent changes to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act (2005), it got harder for people facing a serious debt load to qualify to file for bankruptcy, because their income is above the state median. Others opt to file under Chapter 13 to protect non-exempt assets from being sold by a trustee,” said Kevin Ahrenholz, an Iowa bankruptcy lawyer.
For people opting to file bankruptcy under Chapter 13, they need to know that the procedure is a great deal more complex than a Chapter 7. Chapter 13 takes into account a detailed evaluation of income and a person’s expenditures to figure out what would be a suitable repayment plan. Debtors with non-exempt assets who happen to have a below average income according to the state median will typically make payments over a three year period.
“If, however, their income is above the state defined median, the repayment period is over five years,” Ahrenholz said. The maximum repayment window of time allowed is five years. Certain requirements need to be dealt with prior to filing for bankruptcy.
“Before filing, the debtor get credit counseling at least 180 days before their papers are sent in, their unsecured debts must be less than $336,900 and their secured debts must not be in excess of $1,010,650. These particular figures change from time to time, largely because they are based on movements in the retail price index, Ahrenholz said.
There are some circumstances in which a debtor may not file. One of those is if they have willfully failed to put in an appearance for the court or did not comply with a court order during the last six months. The other situation in which a debtor may not file is if the bankruptcy was voluntarily dismissed after creditors went after the sale proceeds of any property they held a lien on.
“There are rules and regulations and exceptions to those rules and regulations. It’s best to ask a qualified Iowa bankruptcy lawyer what is applicable in your individual situation, as no two bankruptcies are alike,” Ahrenholz said.
Typically, to start the ball rolling for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a court where the debtor lives is served with a petition. Along with that petition there must be a schedule of liabilities and assets, a complete accounting of the person’s current salary and expenditures, a statement of financial affairs and any executor contracts or unexpired leases.
“There has to be a certificate of credit counseling too, which needs to outline a repayment plan. Wage stubs are required, as is a tax return,” Ahrenholz said.
There is more to this process and it is best to be prepared by discussing the situation and how to proceed with a dedicated and seasoned Iowa bankruptcy lawyer. “While your situation may be similar to someone else’s, the facts will vary in every case. For this reason, we take the time to walk you through what you need to know for your particular set of circumstances. If you have questions, feel free to call us for a free consultation. It’s our job to help you get your life back together again,” Ahrenholz said.
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