How long will it take me to pay off my debts with a chapter 13 bankruptcy? 37 Answers as of July 09, 2013

I owe about $20,000 in credit card debt and I can't afford the payments. I'm interested in paying this off through a chapter 13 bankruptcy - how long will it take to pay off? Do I pay off the entire debt under a chapter 13?

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Breckenridge and Walton
Breckenridge and Walton | Alan D. Walton
You pay what you can afford for three to five years and the rest is discharged when you are done.
Answer Applies to: Michigan
Replied: 9/26/2011
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC
Mercado & Hartung, PLLC | Christopher J. Mercado
A Chapter 13 needs to be either 3 or 5years.
Answer Applies to: Washington
Replied: 9/21/2011
CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE).
CONSUMER PROTECTION ASSISTANCE COALITION, INC. (DE). | Gary Lee Lane
Up to 5 years.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 6/7/2013
Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law
Paul Stuber, Attorney at Law | Paul Stuber
You pay what you can pay in a Chapter 13. You must form a plan for repayment that lasts usually between 3 and 5 years paying monthly.
Answer Applies to: Colorado
Replied: 9/6/2011
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis
Indianapolis Bankruptcy Law Office of Eric C. Lewis | Eric Lewis
Chapter 13 plans range from a minimum 36 months to a maximum 60 months.
Answer Applies to: Indiana
Replied: 9/5/2011
    Heupel Law
    Heupel Law | Kevin Heupel
    In a Chapter 13 you have the option to pay your debts over a 3-5 year period. If you are paying all of your debts, then you can even pay earlier than three years if you want. Typically, you do not pay the entire amount of debt in a Chapter 13 plan. Instead, you pay your disposable income, which is calculated using an IRS form that recognizes standard living expenses. Your disposable income will vary depending on your household size and income.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/5/2011
    Braunstein Law, PC
    Braunstein Law, PC | Jacob Braunstein
    When a debtor files a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the plan generally lasts at least 36 months and no longer than 60 months. You should consult with a bankruptcy attorney who can advise you as to whether a Chapter 13 is your best option and, if so, how long the plan may last. Various factors determine the length of a Chapter 13 plan.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/2/2011
    The Law Offices of Katie M. Stone
    The Law Offices of Katie M. Stone | Katie M. Stone
    A chapter 13 bankruptcy is a very detailed bankruptcy. Your plan payments could be either a 36 month plan or a 60 month plan depending on your income, expenses, debt owed etc. You do not necessarily pay off all of your debt in a chapter 13 bankruptcy; however, you have to commit all of your disposable income every month to your chapter 13 bankruptcy payments. If you do make all of your plan payments, at the end of your plan all of your dischargeable debt will be discharged regardless of how much you have paid back. You may qualify for a chapter 7 bankruptcy and it might be in your best interest to file that chapter. You should schedule an appointment with an attorney to find out if chapter 13 is the best bankruptcy you should file. I hope you find this information useful.
    Answer Applies to: Florida
    Replied: 9/2/2011
    Ashman Law Office
    Ashman Law Office | Glen Edward Ashman
    Since no one here has seen your completed form 22 there is no way to answer. You will usually be in a plan from 3-5 years. There is no way to answer you without all your financial data.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/2/2011
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall
    Bankruptcy Law office of Bill Rubendall | William M. Rubendall
    A chapter 13 plan can be proposed for at least 36 months and no more than 60 months. Depending on the liquidation test you may need to pay all debt or a portion of debt. Consult with an attorney as to your specific situation.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/2/2011
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law
    Eric J. Benzer, Attorney at Law | Eric Benzer
    That would be 3-5 years.
    Answer Applies to: Maryland
    Replied: 6/7/2013
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller
    Law Office of Jackie Robert Geller | Jackie Robert Geller
    how long it will take and how much you may have to pay depends upon your income, expenses and assets. You should talk to a bankruptcy attorney who can answer those questions for you.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy
    Dan Wilson Bankruptcy | Dan Wilson
    Wonderful question! Its complicated. In a Ch 13 you propose a payment plan to the Court. Your plan payment is determined by what we call Form 22C. This form calculates what is called your Monthly Disposal Income. The starting point is your net income after taxes. Then you take deductions for "expenses reasonably necessary for support of the debtor's household." Typically unsecured creditors get a small percentage of what they are owed. Back taxes generally have to be paid in full. Why re you assuming you have to file a Chapter 13? If you qualify for a Ch 7 it is much preferable. The case is over and you don't have to make payments.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Grasso Law Group
    Grasso Law Group | Charles Grasso, Esq.
    The first thing to think about is what Chapter to file. If your circumstances fit and you qualify for Chapter 7, then you could discharge the credit debt. If Chapter 13 is appropriate, then you have to determine if you are above or below the means - this will determine how much, if any, of your unsecured debt you will have to pay and whether the payment plan would be for 36-months or 60-months.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr.
    Law Office of John C. Farrell, Jr. | John C. Farrell, Jr.
    Typically a CH 13 is structured to finish between 2-5 years. May want to consider what is called informal Chapter 13 bankruptcy which is also known as debt negotiation.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law
    Ross Smith, Attorney at Law | Charles Ross Smith III
    The length of your Chapter 13 Plan is determined by your income and number of dependents. If your income considering your dependents is under the median income for your area of the country, then you only pay for 3 years. If it is over the median income, then you pay for 5 years. The IRS determines the median income for your area. The interest is always set at 0%. The Trustees fees are 10% of whatever you pay in. That averages out to just over 2% per year to the trustee. So it's usually a very good deal for a person in heavy credit card debt. Better still, the monthly or weekly payment is usually determined by how much you bring in and not how much you owe. In other words, it's supposed to be what you can afford. It's a complicated formula. You'll need an attorney to file a 13, so go get one.
    Answer Applies to: Ohio
    Replied: 7/9/2013
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C.
    Law Offices of Alexzander C. J. Adams, P.C. | Alexzander Adams
    Typically 3-5 years. In some situations in can be less than that, but never more.
    Answer Applies to: Oregon
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Tucker Legal Clinic
    Tucker Legal Clinic | Samuel Tucker
    It is commendable that you want to pay your debts, but payment will not really help your credit score at this time. If you qualify for a Chapter 7, you file that. If you cannot file a Chapter 7 your monthly payments and number of moths in your plan is determined by your budget from 36 to 60 months.
    Answer Applies to: Mississippi
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    The Barger Law Firm
    The Barger Law Firm | Jason W. Barger
    Hello, I'm sorry to hear you are in the position of having to consider bankruptcy. However, it is a viable option for someone in you given circumstance and I hope I will be able to help you. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy, as you may have learned, is a complicated and involved process. An experienced attorney, such as myself, can help to make it less stressful. The amount of time to complete a Chapter 13 depends on how much income your household brings in each month, calculated over the past six months. The courts use what is called the "means test" to determine the length of time in a plan. If your household income is below the median average income of a family similarly situated as yours, then the length of the plan is 35 months (3 years). On the other hand, if your household income is at or above the median income, the plan length will be 60 months (5 years). Regarding how much of the debt you will pay off depends on the type of debt you have. There are three basic categories: secured debts (mortgage, car note), priority debts (money owed to the IRS, property taxes, child support obligations), and the third is unsecured debts (credit cards, medical). If most of your debt is unsecured (as it sounds like from your question), the amount you pay back would be determined by taking the difference from your monthly income against your monthly expenses (food, gas, groceries, utilities, and such). After paying 100% to priority creditors and the bankruptcy trustee's fees, the amount paid to unsecured creditors is the amount you pay to into the plan each month, averaged over the time period of the plan and, with equal distribution to each unsecured creditor. I apologize for the length of this response, but, as stated above, it is a complicated process. I would be happy to meet with you for a free consultation and explain the process to you further and answer any further questions you may have.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc.
    Bird & VanDyke, Inc. | David VanDyke
    The amount you pay on a chapter 13 is completely dependent on your income. So without knowing your income my answer to your question is you will pay somewhere between zero and 100% of your debts.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Colorado Legal Solutions
    Colorado Legal Solutions | Stephen Harkess
    A Chapter 13 plan will last 36-60 months. It may pay off some, none, or all of your unsecured debt depending on your situation and ability to pay. Most of the remaining debt will be discharged at the end of the plan. You need to speak to an experienced bankrutpcy attorney about your finances and how a Chapter 13 plan would affect you.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis
    Law Offices of Joseph A. Mannis | Todd Mannis
    How much and how long depends upon a number of factors but primarily your income and expenses and how much surplus income you have each month. Without knowing that information, it's difficult to fully answer your question .
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 7/9/2013
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC
    D T Pham Associates, PLLC | Duncan T Pham
    The ch 13 repayment plan can be either 3 years or 5 years depending on the debtor(s)' income. Under ch 13, certain debts must be paid off in full while others, such as credit card balances, can be discounted.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Goldsmith & Guymon
    Goldsmith & Guymon | Marjorie Guymon
    If you are over median income you must pay 60 months, if under median then 30 months. The amount of your payment is based upon your income and allowed deductions.
    Answer Applies to: Nevada
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton
    Law Offices of Daniel Moulton | Daniel Moulton
    You may be able to get a reduction based on your income and amount of assets, along with your prior bankruptcy history.
    Answer Applies to: Illinois
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Law Offices of James Wingfield
    Law Offices of James Wingfield | James Wingfield
    Chapter 13 (payment) plans generally are between 3 and 5 years in length. The amount that you pay off on the debt and the amount of time that you pay into the plan depends on your personal circumstances. Unfortunately, bankruptcy advice is not one size fits all, so to determine the specifics for you an attorney with a good understanding of bankruptcy will need to review your specific circumstances to determine what amount you will pay and over what length of time you will pay in a Chapter 13 case.
    Answer Applies to: Massachusetts
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Ray Fisher Law Offices
    Ray Fisher Law Offices | Ray Fisher
    The question is why would you want to do this rather than discharge it in a Chapter 7 case? If you really want to do a Chapter 13 for some reason (this is not in your best interest generally) then the longest it can go is 5 years. Do I pay off the entire debt under a chapter 13? That depends on what you can afford to pay per month and how long the plan is.
    Answer Applies to: Texas
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Bankruptcy Law Center
    Bankruptcy Law Center | Bill Zurinskas
    Colorado Chapter 13 payments plans generally are three or five years in duration. It can be less than three years if you can pay 100% of your unsecured debt in a shorter period of time, but most debtors do not pay all of their unsecured debt in a chapter 13 bankruptcy in Colorado. With only $20,000 in unsecured debts, chapter 7 is usually the better option (assuming you qualify for chapter 7). Most bankruptcy attorneys in Colorado will charge you approx. $3600 for a chapter 13 bankruptcy as opposed to $1100 to 1800 for chapter 7 bankruptcy.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    G. Anthony Yuthas & Assoc.
    G. Anthony Yuthas & Assoc. | Tony Yuthas
    You will probably not pay the entire debt but it depends on your income and expenses. Once we have this information I can tell you what your payments will be and the time period for payment. The time will be somewhere between 36 and 60 months.
    Answer Applies to: Colorado
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC
    Theodore N. Stapleton, PC | Theodore N. Stapleton
    It would take 60 months.
    Answer Applies to: Georgia
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Ursula G. Barrios Law
    Ursula G. Barrios Law | Guillermo Machado
    3-5 years and generally only a fixed percent.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    The Schreiber Law Firm
    The Schreiber Law Firm | Jeffrey D. Schreiber
    First, you have to have "disposable income" to file a Chapter 13, which means you need money left over after paying all of your expenses other than the credit card debt. If you cannot make the credit card payments now, will you have money left over to pay a payment to the Chapter 13 trustee? Depending on your income you have to be in a Chapter 13 for at least 3 years unless you pay all of the debt in full before that, but no longer than 5 years. How much you have to pay depends on how much disposable income you have times the number of months of your Chapter 13 plan.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law
    Judith A. Runyon, Esq. Attorney at Law | Judith A. Runyon
    Chapter 13 plans are generally for 5 years if you qualify. The percentage the unsecured creditors get depends upon your disposable income each month. Talk to a bankruptcy attorney.
    Answer Applies to: California
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley
    Law Office of Maureen O' Malley | Maureen O'Malley
    You pay what you can according to your budget.
    Answer Applies to: Virginia
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Charles Schneider, P.C.
    Charles Schneider, P.C. | Charles J. Schneider
    The length of a Chapter 13 case is not dependent on how much debt you have but whether you are an above annual income earner and what you can afford to pay to creditors.
    Answer Applies to: Michigan
    Replied: 9/1/2011
    Jackson White, PC
    Jackson White, PC | Spencer Hale
    The entire debt is not typically paid off through a chapter 13, although full payment does occur in some situations. The duration of your chapter 13 payments depends on your current income. It will be anywhere from 3-5 years.
    Answer Applies to: Arizona
    Replied: 9/1/2011
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