Stiberman’s Blog

Helping clients across Florida achieve financial freedom, since 1998.
Free Consultation
  • Louisa P.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Robert and the team at Stiberman Law are truly exceptional. I was faced with the daunting task of navigating bankruptcy, and from the moment I contacted them, I knew I was in good hands Read More
    May 21, 2024logo
  • Arlene S.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Excellent Lawyer, friendly and on top of things and reliable and efficient. I had to go through bankruptcy twice and I trusted them every time. I had the best experience with Robert and Read More
    March 20, 2024logo
  • Gustavo S.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I am very satisfied with the service that they offered us. They were very professional and kept us informed at all times. I was looking for a bankruptcy attorney nearby and fount Robert Read More
    March 19, 2024logo
  • Louisa P.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Robert and the team at Stiberman Law are truly exceptional. I was faced with the daunting task of navigating bankruptcy, and from the moment I contacted them, I knew I was in good hands Read More
    May 21, 2024logo
  • Arlene S.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Excellent Lawyer, friendly and on top of things and reliable and efficient. I had to go through bankruptcy twice and I trusted them every time. I had the best experience with Robert and Read More
    March 20, 2024logo
  • Gustavo S.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I am very satisfied with the service that they offered us. They were very professional and kept us informed at all times. I was looking for a bankruptcy attorney nearby and fount Robert Read More
    March 19, 2024logo
  • Paul B.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I would like to share the amazing experience I have had with this Law firm. I was on the verge of loosing my house because I had not paid my property taxes. I looked for a Bankruptcy at Read More
    July 10, 2023logo
  • S.M.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    When I say this office was absolutely the best, I am not kidding! They have been absolutely phenomenal. Robert has been the best bankruptcy attorney. The whole team has always kept Read More
    April 20, 2023logo
  • Paula D.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I was referred by a friend to this bankruptcy attorney. Mr. Stiberman and his staff was very courteous, knowledgeable and very caring towards my concerns. I am pleased with the outcom Read More
    April 18, 2023logo
  • R.P.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    The process was relatively easy, I would recommend Stiberman Law to anyone who finds themselves in need of a bankruptcy attorney.
    February 24, 2023logo
  • Jose N.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I have to say that I have had a great experience with Stiberman Law regarding a bankruptcy and they have been very informative and supportive. They have been very helpful and always ans Read More
    January 20, 2023logo
  • L.L.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Excellent service. Great bankruptcy attorney and staff. Always informed me of what to expect. My Chapter 13 bankruptcy was smooth and the process was easy thanks to Robert and the Read More
    July 20, 2022logo
  • Sam Sstarstarstarstarstar5.0
    Twelve years ago I was in need of legal representation stemming from the housing meltdown if 2008. Robert Stiberman and his staff handled the matter with complete professionalism and sp Read More
    October 19, 2022logo
  • K.D.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I was looking for a bankruptcy attorney in Miami, and I found Mr. Stiberman. He and his office were efficient, and they guided me through every step of the process. I am appreciative of Read More
    September 16, 2022logo
  • Carmen C.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I am so grateful for Stiberman Law, P.A. In 2019 my husband and were faced with a very difficult decision file for Bankruptcy, unfortunately we weren’t able to pay for our credit Read More
    October 26, 2022logo
  • N.M.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Excellent work from this bankruptcy law firm! I was drowning in debt with my license suspended from a lawsuit I had and thought I would have to spend the rest of my life paying back deb Read More
    August 17, 2022logo
  • R.Z.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    The experience with this office has been great. No problems at all they have kept me straight to doing the right thing and feeling a breeze of peace and being debt free with my bankruptcy.
    August 30, 2022logo
  • F.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Very happy with Robert and his team. Thanks to them we were able to save our home. Very helpful and knowledgeable in bankruptcy. Best attorney.
    July 28, 2022logo
  • E.R.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    I had a great experience, I just want thank Stiberman law and his team for a great experience also Ana for the help and explaining my case. Appreciate, thank you
    July 25, 2022logo
  • A.B.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Very good office with my bankruptcy. They have been amazing through this hard process. Very happy with Robert and his staff they are very nice and professional. Thank you stiberman!
    July 23, 2022logo
  • W.J.starstarstarstarstar5.0
    Amazing work by Robert. They are really good with what they do, very attentive and knowledgeable. Customer service and professionalism are top, the lawyer has been great this whole t Read More
    June 25, 2022logo

Understanding Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: Timeline, Eligibility, and Pros and Cons

Dealing with overwhelming debt can be stressful, and sometimes there’s no way out. If you’re considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you probably wonder how long the process takes. In this article, we’ll overview Chapter 13 bankruptcy, walk you through the timeline, and help you understand the factors affecting the process. Let’s dive in!

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: An Overview

What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, often called a “wage earner’s plan,” allows individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. Under this chapter, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years.

Eligibility for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, a debtor must have a regular source of income and unsecured debts below a certain threshold. Additionally, the debtor must not have filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy within the last two years or Chapter 7 bankruptcy within the previous four years.

The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Timeline

Pre-filing Counseling

Before filing for bankruptcy, you must complete a credit counseling course from an approved agency no later than 180 days before filing. This course will help you evaluate your financial situation and explore alternatives to bankruptcy.

Filing the Petition

Once you’ve completed the counseling, you can file a Voluntary Petition with the bankruptcy court. Along with the petition, you’ll need to submit a proposed repayment plan, a statement of financial affairs, and a schedule of assets and liabilities.

The Automatic Stay

Filing for bankruptcy triggers an automatic stay, temporarily halting most collection actions against you, such as wage garnishments and creditor lawsuits.

The 341 Meeting

Approximately 21 to 50 days after filing, you’ll attend a meeting of creditors, also known as the 341 meeting. During this meeting, the bankruptcy trustee and any attending creditors can ask questions about your financial situation and proposed repayment plan.

The Repayment Plan

Factors Affecting the Plan Length

The length of your repayment plan depends on your income and the amount of debt you have. Your plan will generally last five years if your income exceeds your state’s median. Your plan will typically last three years if your income is below the median. However, there are exceptions, and the court can extend the plan up to five years if necessary.

The Confirmation Hearing

Within 45 days after the 341 meeting, the bankruptcy judge will hold a confirmation hearing. Most confirmation hearings are before your Chapter 13 Trustee, who attempts to resolve all uncontested issues. You will rarely interact with the Judge while in bankruptcy. At this hearing, the Chapter 13 Trustee will determine whether to recommend your plan for confirmation, continue the hearing for further inquiry, allow specific deadlines to pass, or seek dismissal of your case. If the plan is confirmed, you must continue making your plan payments and comply with all bankruptcy requirements to obtain a discharge.

Making Plan Payments

You must make regular payments to the bankruptcy trustee throughout your repayment plan. Your first plan payment is due within 30 days of filing your bankruptcy petition. Please make these payments to avoid the dismissal of your case.

Discharge

Once you’ve completed your repayment plan and complied with all bankruptcy requirements, including completion of the Debtor Financial Management Course, you’ll receive a discharge of your remaining eligible debts. The discharge effectively wipes out your obligations to pay those debts.

Pros and Cons of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

There are several advantages to filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, such as:

  • The opportunity to save your home from foreclosure.
  • The chance to restructure and reduce certain debts.
  • Protection for co-signers on consumer debts.

However, there are also some downsides, including:

  • The negative impact on your credit score.
  • The time-consuming nature of the process.
  • The required repayment of some debts in full.

Alternatives to Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Before filing for bankruptcy, it’s essential to explore other options, such as:

  • Negotiating with creditors to lower interest rates or extend repayment terms.
  • Seeking credit counseling and developing a debt management plan.
  • Consolidating your debts through a debt consolidation loan or balance transfer credit card.

Conclusion

The length of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process depends on several factors, including your income, the amount of debt you have, and the terms of your repayment plan. In general, the process takes three to five years to complete. While Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers some benefits, weighing the pros and cons and considering alternatives before deciding to file is essential.

FAQs

  1. What happens if I can’t make my Chapter 13 plan payments?
    If you fail to make your plan payments, the court may dismiss your case, or you may convert it to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  2. Can I keep my property during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
    Generally, yes. Chapter 13 allows you to keep your property while repaying your debts through the repayment plan.
  3. What happens to my credit score after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
    A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for seven years and can significantly lower your credit score.
  4. Can I obtain new credit during my Chapter 13 bankruptcy?
    It’s possible but challenging. You’ll need approval from the bankruptcy trustee before obtaining new credit.
  5. Is Chapter 13 bankruptcy the right choice for everyone with debt?
    No. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is best suited for those with regular income who can commit to a repayment plan. You’ll need to explore all your options and consult a financial advisor or attorney before deciding.

Robert Stiberman is a bankruptcy attorney with extensive experience in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. He has represented numerous clients in bankruptcy cases and is well-versed in the requirements of the Chapter 13 trustees. With his knowledge and experience, Robert Stiberman can provide his clients with the guidance and representation they need to navigate bankruptcy successfully.

Written By:

Attorney Robert Stiberman

Robert is an experienced bankruptcy attorney adept at handling Chapter 7, 13, and 11 filings, with more than 15 years of experience in bankruptcy cases. Robert represents clients in both consumer and business bankruptcy ... Read More

Contact Stiberman Law Today!

Speaking to our law firm is always 100% confidential. Help is just a call away!.

Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Request A Free Consultation

Speaking to our law firm is always 100% confidential. We do our best to respond to inquiries in under 24 hours.

Name(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Image

Received!

We’ll get in touch as soon as possible.