Chapter 13 is often filed by people who are facing foreclosure on their home. In a Chapter 13, an individual can stop a foreclosure and pay back the delinquent mortgage payments over an extended period of time. A debtor may also be able to eliminate and remove 2nd Trust Deeds on their real property if the amount of the lien exceeds the value of the home. This lien removal is not automatic and requires special motions to be filed in the bankruptcy case. Chapter 13 is also filed by people who may not qualify to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy (See Means Test
To file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy case, you must be an individual (or a husband and wife filing jointly). If you own your own business as a sole proprietor or partner, you can include all business debts on which you have personal liability. You have to file your case in your name and not in the name of the business. This is because a business entity (corporation / partnership) cannot file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
A person who files under chapter 13 is called a Chapter 13 debtor. In a chapter 13 case, the debtor must submit to the court a plan for the repayment of all or a portion of his or her debts. Chapter 13 plans usually extend over a period of 3 to 5 years. The plan must be approved by the court to become effective. If the court approves the debtor’s plan, most creditors will be prohibited from collecting their claims from the debtor during the course of the case. The debtor must make regular payments to a person called the chapter 13 trustee, who collects the money paid by the debtor and disburses it to creditors in the manner called for in the plan. Upon completion of the payments called for in the plan, the debtor is released from liability for the remainder of his or her dischargeable debts.
Chapter 13 differs from private debt counseling and consolidation in that the bankruptcy court can provide aid to the debtor that private debt consolidation services cannot provide. For example , the court has the authority to prohibit creditors from attaching or foreclosing on the debtor’s property, to force unsecured creditors to accept a chapter 13 plan that pays only a portion of their claims, and to discharge a debtor from unpaid portions of debts. Private debt consolidation services have none of these powers. You do not qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if your secured debts exceed $1,010,650 or your unsecured debts are more than $336,900. For example, if you owe over a million dollars on your home, you may not be able to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy if you have other secured debts.