Raleigh Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Are you behind on your mortgage or car payments and at risk of losing everything? Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection may provide an opportunity to get a break from your creditors, reorganize your finances, and come up with a realistic repayment plan. Whether you are considering an emergency bankruptcy filing or just want to learn about your options, the dedicated Raleigh Chapter 13 attorneys at the Sasser Law Firm can help.
Some of the reasons our clients decide to file for this type of bankruptcy include:
- Filing for Chapter 13 stops the foreclosure process and allows the homeowner to bring current the arrears over a period of time.
- It also halts repossessions of vehicles and mobile homes and may allow the debtor to restructure these loans.
- Chapter 13 allows debtors to retain all assets (although you may end up deciding on a repayment plan that requires liquidating some assets).
- Debtors receive a break from student loan collection actions for the length of the Chapter 13 repayment plan, which can be up to five years.
- Debtors are protected from creditors demanding overdue domestic support obligations. They may also be allowed a discharge of non-support marital obligations.
- Chapter 13 provides protection from tax collectors seeking past-due tax payments.
- Chapter 13 bankruptcy may allow for the discharge of unsecured debts, including the stripping off of fully unsecured junior mortgages on residential property.
If are feeling overwhelmed by debt and want to learn about your options for reorganizing under Chapter 13, talk to our board-certified Raleigh bankruptcy lawyers today. Our law firm will review your case for free, and we do not charge any fees upfront to file a Chapter 13 case. In fact, all fees and costs related to your Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing can be included in your overall repayment plan.
Understanding the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows individuals with regular income to propose a plan, known as a wage earner’s plan, to pay all or some of their debts. This payment plan, which must be approved by the court, can span three to five years.
Here’s what you can typically expect from the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process:
- First, your attorney will help you calculate whether your case falls within the Chapter 13 debt limit. As of April 1, 2019 debt limits are increased, in order to qualify to file a Chapter 13 reorganization case, you must not exceed the current limit of $419,275 in unsecured and $1,257,850 in secured debts.
- Next, your attorney will file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition. This will trigger an automatic stay, stopping creditors from trying to collect from you.
- You will work with your attorney to evaluate your income, expenses, and assets in order to create a realistic repayment plan. This plan will outline what your proposed payments would be and how your different debts will be treated. (If you are filing in the Eastern District of North Carolina, your first payment in the plan will be due on the first day of the month after you file the case.)
- You will be required to complete a 2.5-hour financial management class. This usually happens about 30 days after your bankruptcy filing.
- You and your lawyer will attend a meeting of creditors, known as a 341 meeting. At this meeting, you will answer questions under oath about your finances and your repayment proposal. You may make changes to your plan at this meeting or soon after.
- No more than 45 days after the meeting of creditors, you and your attorney will appear at a confirmation hearing with a judge. At this hearing, the judge will decide whether your repayment plan is feasible. (Creditors may contest your plan’s confirmation at the hearing, as well.)
If the court confirms the repayment plan, you must follow the plan or else your wage earner’s plan case will be dismissed. In many cases, the debtor makes plan payments through a payroll deduction. Once you complete the payment plan, the court will discharge your debts.
If the plan is not confirmed, your attorney may advise you to file a modified repayment plan or to convert your Chapter 13 case to a Chapter 7.
Chapter 13 repayment plans require strict budgeting, but completing the plan will give the debtor a fresh start financially. If you think filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be an option for you, contact us today to schedule a free consultation.
Types of Creditor Claims in a Chapter 13 Case
Because the debtor in a Chapter 13 case typically does not have enough money to pay off every creditor, claims must be categorized to determine who gets paid. Claims from creditors are classified as priority, secured, and unsecured.
- Priority claims are those that receive special status under bankruptcy code. These claims, which include most taxes and the costs of the bankruptcy proceeding, must be paid in full.
- Secured claims are those that involve collateral (such as a car or a house). If the debtor wants to keep the collateral, he or she must arrange to pay the creditor at least the value of the collateral.
- Unsecured claims are from creditors with no collateral. This includes credit card debt, medical bills, and personal loans. Although non-priority unsecured claims don’t have to be paid in full in Chapter 13, these creditors must be paid at least what they would have received if the debtor had liquidated assets in a Chapter 7.
What You Need to Know About Chapter 13 Payment Plans
Even though you are not forced to liquidate assets as part of a wage earner’s plan, most people must take a hard look at their finances and make some difficult choices. Our experienced Raleigh Chapter 13 attorneys will help you think about what you truly need so we can present an honest and realistic payment plan to the court.
Some factors you should consider when developing a Chapter 13 plan:
- If you are planning to keep your home, your plan payments will include the continuing mortgage and any arrears.
- If you plan to keep your vehicle and make payments through the plan, you might be able to restructure the loan.
- Taxes on any real property you retain can either be paid directly or through the plan at 9 percent. Tax obligations that are secured with a lien must be paid in full at 3 percent.
- A Chapter 13 plan will be spread over three to five years. The length of the plan will depend on how your income compares to North Carolina’s median income.
- For the duration of the plan, you must devote your disposable income to making payments. The court will determine your disposable income by calculating your total household income for the past six months and deducting any allowances and expenditures permitted by law.
Depending on the circumstances in your case, you may or may not be granted a reduction in debt through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. However, just filing for Chapter 13 provides a sense of relief so you can work toward a clean slate without being hassled by creditors.
Why Choose Our Raleigh Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers?
For more than 20 years, clients across the Raleigh area have chosen the Sasser Law Firm to represent them in a wide range of bankruptcy cases. Our attorneys are committed to providing outstanding customer service and thoughtful legal advice. Whether you need help with a simple filing or complex litigation, our firm offers:
- One-on-one communication with our board-certified bankruptcy attorneys
- Thorough case evaluations, with no fee and no pressure
- A straightforward assessment, including discussing bankruptcy alternatives
- A Chapter 13 repayment amount estimated upfront
- Quick action in emergency situations, including same-day filings
- Tenacious representation if litigation proves necessary
Don’t wait to learn about your options for seeking financial relief through bankruptcy. Schedule a free consultation with our legal team today. Our consultations are designed to be useful to you, regardless of whether you hire us.
Types of Wage Earner Cases We Handle
At the Sasser Law Firm, our dedicated lawyers have helped more than 8,500 individuals and businesses get the financial break they need. Our Raleigh bankruptcy attorneys have extensive experience handling all types of Chapter 13 cases, including:
- Emergency Chapter 13 cases
- Refiled Chapter 13 cases (in which the debtor has filed for bankruptcy before)
- Cases involving business owners
- Cases involving tax issues
- Cases where the debtor has domestic obligations
Our law firm also accepts complicated cases that will likely require litigation and appeal.
Are You Ready to Talk to a Raleigh Chapter 13 Lawyer?
Schedule a free meeting with our compassionate attorneys today to talk about whether Chapter 13 bankruptcy might be a solution for you. Our Raleigh bankruptcy law firm works with individuals and business owners throughout North Carolina, including in Wake, Harnett, Johnston, Durham, Orange, Granville, Vance, Franklin, Warren, Nash, Lee, Chatham, and Moore counties.