Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

05 Mar Can I File Chapter 13 if I am Self Employed?

Can you file a Chapter 13 debt consolidation case if you are self employed? Yes, you can but expect the process to be more difficult, burdensome and expensive than it would be if you are a salaried employee. Chapter 13 works best when your income and expenses are steady and consistent. When you file Chapter 13 you will be proposing a repayment plan to the bankruptcy judge. Your plan modifies the rights of your creditors and it must meet all the requirements of the bankruptcy code. When you file your case, a Chapter 13 trustee will be assigned to verify the information you submit and to investigate your plan to make sure that you are contributing all of your disposable income into the plan. Your creditors will get notice of your plan and they will review it for possible objections as well. If you are a salaried employee, your income is what it is and your expenses are usually consistent month to month. When you are self employed, however, your income may go up and down, and your expenses may also vary.
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06 Oct Why I will be Rude to You After You File Chapter 13

I like my clients. I find bankruptcy work rewarding because I can offer positive change to the lives of honest, hardworking people who have an immediate financial problem. However, I can be an absolute pain in the rear end to my Chapter 13 clients after we file and during the two to four month period of time prior to the plan confirmation hearing. Why does this disconnect exist? Why would you want to hire a lawyer who will be demanding and abrupt? The answer is simple - if you want your Chapter 13 to work, you and I have a lot of work to do after we file but many Chapter 13 debtors do not realize this. It is tempting to think that your problem has been solved the minute we file your Chapter 13 case. The immediate pressure of foreclosure, repossession, wage garnishment and lawsuits is gone and all adverse creditor action stops. The phone stops ringing and the collection letters dwindle. The first court hearing - your meeting of creditors - won’t occur for 30 to 45 days so it is only natural that you will enjoy the quiet.
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06 Jun Why Nothing Good Comes from Pro Se Bankruptcy Filings

I have been a personal bankruptcy lawyer in Atlanta for more than 30 years and one of the trends that I have seen over all these years has been that personal bankruptcy is more complicated and confusing now than it is ever been in the past. Back in 1988, for example, I would often see pro se (people who filed bankruptcy without a lawyer) appearing at 341 hearings and Chapter 13 confirmation hearings. At that time, a pro se filer could head over to Office Depot and buy Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 forms, fill them out with a pen, make copies and stand in line with everyone else to file a case. In those days, there was no online access to the Clerk of Courts office and everyone - lawyers and non-lawyers - would have to stand in long lines with 5 or 6 copies of bankruptcy petitions and wait for the clerk to hand stamp each copy. Bankruptcy schedules in 1988 were fairly straightforward and other than figuring out how to declare the right exemptions to protect property, a reasonably intelligent person could muddle through a Chapter 7 case. Chapter 13 cases were problematic for pro se filers even in the 1980's but occasionally a friendly trustee would take the time to help a non-lawyer navigate the waters of Chapter 13.
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06 Feb Why Surrendering Your Car or House in a Chapter 13 May Create Unexpected Problems

One of the more powerful tools available to you when you file a personal bankruptcy has to do with your option to cancel an installment contract and surrender secured collateral. This applies to all forms of secured collateral, including such things as houses, motor vehicles, furniture, and jewelry. In a Chapter 7, your surrender of secured collateral will usually mean an end to your obligation to the secured creditor. Any remaining debt owed to the creditor for a deficiency balance will be treated as unsecured debt and unsecured debt is generally going to be eliminated with your Chapter 7 discharge. In Chapter 13, however, your act of surrendering collateral does not necessarily mean that you are done with the now unsecured creditor. Unsecured creditors often do get paid in Chapter 13 - sometimes as little as 1 penny on the dollar, but sometimes as much as 100 pennies on the dollar (i.e, they are paid in full).
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06 Sep Yes You Can Refile Your Chapter 13 Case, But Should You?

If you are facing a foreclosure, vehicle repossession, wage garnishment or other financial crisis, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a great tool to stop the chaos.  As the type of bankruptcy that includes a repayment plan, Chapter 13 can empower you to reduce your monthly payments, eliminate accruing interest on credit card debt, reduce your total indebtedness - all while protecting your real and personal property from creditor actions.If you are facing a foreclosure, vehicle repossession, wage garnishment or other financial crisis, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a great tool to stop the chaos.  As the type of bankruptcy that includes a repayment plan, Chapter 13 can empower you to reduce your monthly payments, eliminate accruing interest on credit card debt, reduce your total indebtedness - all while protecting your real and personal property from creditor actions. When Chapter 13 plans work, they can literally be life changing and every experienced bankruptcy attorney can recount stories of grateful clients who successfully completed their Chapter 13 plans with property intact and debt gone. Unfortunately, however, most Chapter 13 plans fail before completion - in some jurisdictions the failure rate is 65% or higher.  Often repayment plans fail not because of bad faith on the part of debtors or even because of unrealistic budgeting.
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06 Jun How Bankruptcy Can Solve Your “Too Expensive Car” Problem

Next to home mortgages, motor vehicle loans are often your most expensive purchase. According to USA Today, the average transaction cost of a new car or truck sold in the U.S. was around $33,500. Lenders are now extending vehicle purchase loans to 6 years or longer, and when interest rates are factored in, you can easily find yourself responsible for $40,000, $50,000 or more. Unlike real estate purchases, motor vehicles are depreciating assets. If you finance your car or truck over 4 to 6 years, there is a good chance that you will owe more on your vehicle until year 3 or 4 of your contract. This means that in the event of a financial crises such as an illness or job layoff, you won’t be able to eliminate your financial obligations by selling your vehicle. If you “roll over” your loan into a new loan for a less expensive car, you’ll just delay your day of reckoning because you will end up owing far more on the less expensive car than it will ever be worth. Further, your installment payment is not your only vehicle expense. Insurance costs can rise quickly and unexpectedly if you or a family member has an accident. Routine maintenance and service such as new tires and brakes can add to your cost of ownership.
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