How do I know if I can file for bankruptcy? 24 Answers as of April 28, 2011

How do I know if I am eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

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Financial Relief Law Center
Financial Relief Law Center | Mark Alonso
You can qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy and receive a discharge of most of your debts based on your income. Chapter 13 allows individual debtors to keep their property and repay some of their debts over a period of 3 to 5 years. There are several requirements, including your ability to make the payments, and whether you have filed bankruptcy before. Chapter 13 bankruptcies can be quite complicated and it is recommended that you have an attorney assist you with the process.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/28/2011
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
You should seek counsel from a bankruptcy attorney. There are numerous limitations on who can be a debtor in a bankruptcy proceeding.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 4/21/2011
Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL
Rhonda R. Werner Schultz, PL | Rhonda R. Werner Schultz
You should speak with a skilled bankruptcy attorney to determine your eligibility. To determine what Chapter, 7 or 13, or some other chapter, you need to run the Means Test to determine what your income qualifies you for. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires regular recurring income, so if you are not currently employed or receiving regular income from some source, you will not likely qualify for a Chapter 13. Make sure whatever attorney you meet with, if there is any question about which Chapters you may qualify for, that the means test is run. You need your last six months of income from all sources to start the means test process.
Answer Applies to: Wisconsin
Replied: 4/20/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
To be eligible for Ch 13, you must be an individual or married couple; have less than $360,475 of unsecured debt and less than $1,081,400 of secured debt.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 4/20/2011
Law Office of Harry L Styron
Law Office of Harry L Styron | Harry L Styron
You are eligible to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if your total secured debt is less than $1,081,400, your total unsecured debt is less than $360,475 and you have a regular source of income from any source. (The debt limits are adjusted by the CPI).
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/20/2011
    Burnham & Associates
    Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
    To be eligible for Chapter 13 you must: Have steady income that would allow you to make payments; Have secured debt of less than $930,000; and Have unsecured debt of less than $307,000.
    Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Ferguson & Ferguson
    Ferguson & Ferguson | Randy W. Ferguson
    You must sit down with an attorney and go over all of your debts. There is a test that you must meet to do chapter 13 plan. Bankruptcy attorneys do not charge a fee to talk to you. If you are in north Alabama call us.
    Answer Applies to: Alabama
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    The Law Offices of Benjamin C. Tiller, Esq.
    The Law Offices of Benjamin C. Tiller, Esq. | Benjamin Tiller
    The eligibility requirements for chapter 13 are set forth in Section 109 of the bankruptcy code. Basically if you have "regular income," less than $360,475 in unsecured debts (i.e. credit cards, medical bills) and less than $1,081,400 in secured debt (i.e. mortgages, car loans), you can file chapter 13. You may not be eligible for a discharge if you have filed a bankruptcy the recent past. Visit my website. You'll find a bunch of good chapter 13 info there.
    Answer Applies to: Montana
    Replied: 4/20/2011
    Law Office of Aaron Nielson
    Law Office of Aaron Nielson | Aaron Nielson
    You need to meet with an attorney to evaluate your case to see what types of bankruptcy you qualify for and which types will work best for you. I offer a free consultation and so do many other attorneys to see if bankruptcy is a realistic choice for you.
    Answer Applies to: Washington
    Replied: 1/14/2011
    Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP
    Goodman, Dicus, and Teinert, LLP | Scott W. Dicus
    Generally, anyone can file for bankruptcy. If you have a specific concern, however, you probably should speak with an attorney.

    The more important question is whether you should choose Chapter 7 or Chapter 13. Most people who have a choice traditionally have opted to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy because it is relatively fast, effective, easy to file, and doesn't require payments over time. Generally, Chapter 13 might make sense if you will have adequate, steady income to make payments for the appropriate period of time, and most Chapter 13 filers are those facing foreclosure on their home or their car is being repossessed, and they want to keep the property.

    It used to be the case that most filers were free to choose the type of bankruptcy that seemed best for them. The new bankruptcy law takes this choice away from some filers with higher incomes in an attempt to force people who could afford to pay back some of their debts over time to file under Chapter 13, rather than allowing them to liquidate their debts outright in Chapter 7.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/13/2011
    Christopher Legal Group
    Christopher Legal Group | Shawn Christopher
    A chapter 13 is for persons who have a regular income and need to reorganize their affairs. There are many factors to consider when trying to determine if a chapter 13, or another type of bankruptcy, is for you. I suggest that you find an experienced bankruptcy attorney in your area. Most should offer a free consultation. You should be prepared to discuss all of your options. You are probably feeling overwhelmed, which is normal. I often hear from clients that the hardest part was deciding to talk to someone about bankruptcy. Usually, once a decision is made, a client will experience a good deal of relief. Best of luck.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 1/12/2011
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law | Robert G. Uriarte
    only individuals with regular income and whose debts are below the applicable ceilings (currently, less than $336,900 in noncontingent, liquidated unsecured debt and less than $1,010,650.00 in secured debt) may file for Chapter 13. You would be well served to consult with competent counsel to see what chapter is better suited to your particular situation. Call us to set up an appointment to discuss your options.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/12/2011
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC
    Greifendorff Law Offices, PC | Christine Wilton
    I do not suggest filing under Chapter 13 without an attorney. So, call a bankruptcy lawyer for a consultation to see if this is right for you. Most attorneys offer FREE consultations. Be sure you can work with the lawyer for the long term as this is a commitment on both you and the lawyer.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/12/2011
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney
    Janet A. Lawson Bankruptcy Attorney | Janet Lawson
    You need to see a lawyer. Utilize LawQA to find one in your local area.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/12/2011
    Carballo Law Offices
    Carballo Law Offices | Tony E. Carballo
    The question is really not whether you can because most people are eligible to file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7, 11 or 13. The real question is whether you should file for bankruptcy at all and under what Chapter. That is a decision to be made only with professional advice. First you need to determine if your level of debt is more than you can reasonably handle. Sometimes you need to consult with a financial counselor first to determine if you are not managing your finances appropriately and if there is still time to correct the situation. Most people, however, by the time bankruptcy pops into their minds already know it is too late to do anything else. Usually by then they are behind on payments and/or being sued and/or facing repossession of a vehicle or even a foreclosure or eviction. At that point they need to make a list of all the debts, property and their income and go see a local bankruptcy lawyer for a consultation. The debt level a person can handle varies depending on each person's situation but the fact that you can't handle it because you have not been able to make payments without skipping essential expenses such as food, clothing and shelter costs, or borrowing to pay those essential expenses, means you need help and bankruptcy is often the only choice at that point. Bankruptcy should be avoided if possible and you should have never gotten to the point of needing it but it is the legal way established by Congress for people to get that fresh financial start in life. It is not immoral or shameful nor is the process as painful as painted by those who want you to get involved in those fraudulent debt negotiation arrangements that you will regret. Great people in our nation have had to file for bankruptcy protection and large corporations such as General Motors take advantage of the bankruptcy laws whenever they need it to start fresh. The important thing is to resolve your financial problems as quickly as possible and get on with life.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/12/2011
    Law Office of Raymond J. Dague, PLLC
    Law Office of Raymond J. Dague, PLLC | Raymond J. Dague
    Almost everyone with debts is eligible for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 7 is a bit trickier, in that it has income limitations, but Chapter 13 will be available to practically anyone who has debt problems. But of course the only way to know is to get counsel from a lawyer who is experienced in bankruptcies.
    Answer Applies to: New York
    Replied: 1/12/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    Chapter 13 bankruptcy requires a steady stream of income, often referred to as the "wage-earner's" bankruptcy. You need sufficient income to pay your necessities and offer a good-faith payment to your creditors. This can be less than 1% of your total debt, interest free.

    You will only know if you qualify by counseling an experienced practitioner. Don't go at a Chapter 13 alone and without legal representation. It will cost you, and the judge will send you on your way to obtain counsel before proceeding.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/11/2011
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn
    Law Office of L. Paul Zahn | Paul Zahn
    Unlike a chapter 7 bankruptcy, the rules governing a chapter 13 bankruptcy (reorganization) can be complex. That said, as a general rule, the following five criteria must be met to file for chapter 13: The debtor must be an individual, or the debtors must be husband and wife. Corporations, limited liability companies, partnerships, and business trusts are ineligible for Chapter 13 relief.

    The debtor must be generating income, whether it be employment income, proceeds generated from operation of a business, rental income, government assistance, or assistance from friends or family. The debtor must be generating more income each month than he or she is spending on going forward expenses so that something can be offered to creditors. The debtor's secured obligations, such as home mortgages, mortgages on other real estate, obligations secured by personal property such as business debt, and automobile liens, etc., must total less than $1,081,500.00.

    The debtor's liquidated unsecured obligations must total less than $360,525.00. If you are looking for assistance in a chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy filing, please contact me for a free consultation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/11/2011
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek
    Law Offices of Steven A. Wolvek | Steven A. Wolvek
    You can go to my website and watch our video which chapter is best for you - or the information under the bankruptcy tab re 13. You can also complete the bankruptcy client worksheet and I will call you with specific information regarding your particular situation
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/11/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    By consulting with a bankruptcy attorney in your area. You can file chapter 13 if you have regular income, and noncontingent, liquidated unsecured debts less then $360,475 and noncontingent, liquidated secured debt of less than $1,081,400 on the date your case is filed.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/11/2011
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law
    Diana K. Zilko, Attorney at Law | Diana K. Zilko
    Essentially an analysis has to be done to determine if you qualify for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, since not one thing in particular is the basis for qualification. It is best to consult with an attorney who handles bankruptcy matters. If you have any further questions, please let me know.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/11/2011
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen
    The Law Offices of Robert L. Driessen | Robert L. Driessen
    Sit down and discuss this matter with a bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 1/11/2011
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