How do I know if I should file Chapter 7 or Chapter 13? 15 Answers as of May 17, 2011

I have an upside down mortgage and have not been working because of medical reasons. I have not defaulted on my payments yet, but will not be able to keep up with the payments for much longer. I was wondering if there is a way to know what I should file. I want to be able keep my home, if possible, and want to know what the best way to do that would be if I file for bankruptcy.

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Law Offices of Michael J. Berger
Law Offices of Michael J. Berger | Michael J. Berger
The best way to determine is Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is right for you is to call me for a free consultation. Each one has its own advantages. Each one has its one eligibility requirements.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/17/2011
Law Office of Larry Webb
Law Office of Larry Webb | Larry Webb
You can keep your home in Chapter 7 or 13. The analysis for which chapter to file requires much more information. Consult with an attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 5/1/2011
Benson Law Firm
Benson Law Firm | David Benson
You will have to file a Chapter 7 if you do not have income to support a Chapter 13 plan. But it seems the more pressing thing to do would be to consult with a HUD-certified counselor to discuss accessing appropriate federal or state funds and requesting a loan modification from your mortgage lender. You should also consider whether you qualify for unemployment compensation or social security disability if you are unable to work.
Answer Applies to: Ohio
Replied: 4/27/2011
Burnham & Associates
Burnham & Associates | Stephanie K. Burnham
You should speak with an attorney to discuss all of your assets and your debt. Without seeing the whole picture any advice given would not be accurate.
Answer Applies to: New Hampshire
Replied: 4/27/2011
Law Office of Brian A. Kretsch, A.P.C.
Law Office of Brian A. Kretsch, A.P.C. | Brian A. Kretsch
Chapter 13 is a 3-5 year repayment plan with the creditors getting an amount that you can afford to pay. The general rule is that you file chapter 7 when you cannot afford to pay anything to the unsecured creditors. You can keep a home if you can make the mortgage payments and you do not have too much equity in it. Depending on your circumstances, there may be many other factors to consider and evaluate in determining what type of bankruptcy case to file. A question this broad needs to be discussed fully with an experienced attorney.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 4/27/2011
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law
    Uriarte & Wood, Attorneys at Law | Robert G. Uriarte
    Answer: Talk to a lawyer. He can determine if you qualify for a chapter 7 and/or if you have sufficient disposable income to fund a chapter 13 plan. Consults are free so take advantage of it.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    There are many factors to consider whether Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is better to file. One factor is the ability to pay for ongoing expenses. A Chapter 13 might meet your goal of keeping your house if you are behind in payments.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
    Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
    You would be well advised to seek guidance from a local bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: Indiana
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus
    The Law Office of Mark J. Markus | Mark Markus
    The way you find out which chapter is best is to have a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in your area.

    Either one could work in your situation, depending on what you need to accomplish. For example, if the value of your home is less than the amount owed on your first mortgage, you might be able to remove your 2nd mortgage (if you have one) in a Chapter 13 case. You can also catch up on past due payments in a Chapter 13. On the other hand, you may not have sufficient income to do a Chapter 13 case, so a Chapter 7 may be better, but isn't going to help you with your property.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Office of Eric Ridley
    Law Office of Eric Ridley | Eric Ridley
    Your attorney can run a set of calculations which will determine whether you qualify for a Ch 7, or whether a Ch 13 would be better in your situation. The variables are pretty complex, and too many to discuss in a forum like this.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    The Orantes Law Firm
    The Orantes Law Firm | Giovanni Orantes
    Filing under either Chapter will usually allow you to keep your home so long as you make your mortgage payments on time even while discharging the rest of your unsecured debt. If you haven't been working for 6 months, you likely qualify for a Chapter 7 case - which is based on your income and the size of your family. If you can get the relief you need through a Chapter 7 case, it is usually best to do a 7; however, if you fall behind on your mortgage and get close to a foreclosure sale, you may need to file a Chapter 13 case, which would allow you to pay back any arrears through a 3-5 year plan. Frankly, I cannot tell you which chapter would be best for you without a meeting which usually last from 30 minutes to 1 hour.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    There are a number of other questions to ask here, such as is there a second mortgage as well as the first, how much it is, how much the house is worth, etc., but without knowing those, you should keeping in mind that a Chapter 13 is a repayment plan. The amount repaid might be nominal, but you're still going to have to have some surplus income each month with which to fund the plan. As you are not working, this might be a problem, and so it is probably looking like a Chapter 7.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 4/27/2011
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