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Irvine Chapter 13 Lawyer

Reorganize Your Consumer Debt in Orange County

You don’t have to lose everything, or even anything, in bankruptcy. One of the main things people fear when they think about filing for bankruptcy is losing their homes, cars, family heirlooms, and other possessions. That may be the case in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, but there’s another option in Chapter 13 to reorganize your debt without liquidation.

Financial Relief Law Center, APC can help you explore your options in Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Available to individuals and even small business owners, this option can empower debtors to restructure their financial obligations to stop arrears from snowballing out of control and stop a foreclosure. We can help you develop a repayment plan that can help you satisfy your debt for less than it’s worth in three to five years.

For help with a Chapter 13 filing in Orange County, reach out to the Financial Relief Law Center, APC in Orange County. Contact us online or call (949) 570-5466 for assistance and a free consultation!

“I had an outstanding experience with them. I received great results! Thank you Andy, Amanda, Rhonda, and Victor for working together to get me out of a terrible financial storm.”

- Luis S.

Do I Have to Pay off All of My Debt in Chapter 13?

One of the biggest draws toward Chapter 13 is that the full value of your debt may not have to be paid off. As long as you fulfill the terms of your repayment plan throughout its duration, you can end up satisfying a significant amount of debt for much less than its value.

That said, not all debt can be reduced, and your creditors will have a chance to provide input on your payment plan before a bankruptcy judge decides to approve it or not. Generally speaking, only unsecured debt such as medical bills, personal loans, and credit card balances can be reduced in Chapter 13.

When it comes to debts secured by collateral, such as a car or home, falling behind on these payments can open you up to collections actions where the repossession of the car or home will satisfy repayment of the loan. If you haven’t fallen behind on secured debt payments, you might not be at risk of losing anything. If you have, filing for Chapter 13 can stop actions like foreclosure to give you a chance to stay current on your payments and catch up on paying off arrears (missed or partial payments).

The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process

Chapter 13 may not be the most complex type of bankruptcy, but it’s by no means simple. You should be sure that your Chapter 13 attorney has the experience and skill necessary to understand what to expect and when throughout this complicated process.

In the Beginning…

You will begin by completing some paperwork regarding your bankruptcy and attend pre-filing credit counseling. The latter is a prerequisite to filing, and the purpose is to help you determine if you really need to file for bankruptcy (even if it’s obvious to you that you do). Once this is complete, you will file for Chapter 13.

At the time of filing, an automatic stay goes into effect. This prevents your creditors from trying to collect on your debt throughout the bankruptcy process. The court will then appoint a third-party trustee who will ultimately be responsible for collecting your payments and redistributing funds to your creditors – but that comes much later in the process.

Once your trustee has been appointed, the court will notify you and your creditors of the following matters:

  • When the meeting with your creditors will take place
  • When your creditors must file their claims
  • Whether or not you filed a repayment plan
  • When the confirmation hearing (when whether or not your repayment plan will be approved by the court) will take place

At this point, your creditors can file written objections to your repayment plan or even support it if they so choose. At least seven days before you meet with your creditors, you will need to provide your most recent tax return and other financial statements to the Chapter 13 trustee.

About 30 days after you file for bankruptcy, you’ll begin to make payments according to the repayment plan you and your Chapter 13 attorney developed. If it is ultimately rejected by the court, your money will be returned to you with some administrative costs taken out.

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Meeting with Your Creditors

The meeting of creditors will take place within 40 days after you file for Chapter 13. At this meeting, your creditors will be able to ask you questions about the information in the documents previously collected by the trustee. They can also raise concerns or outright objections to your repayment plan to persuade or pressure you into making adjustments. It’s important to consider that any objections your creditors raise during this meeting must also be separately filed in writing to the court in order to be considered in the judge’s ruling.

The Confirmation Hearing

Typically held not longer than six weeks after the creditors’ meeting, your confirmation hearing will take place. This will be the time when a judge addresses any objections submitted by your creditors and decides whether or not to approve your repayment plan.

After Your Plan’s Approval

Your creditors will file their “proofs of claim,” which outline how much you owe them. If you or the trustee objects to any of these claims, it must be done so by filing a written objection. Over time, the trustee will send you statements that detail all of the claims filed against you and the balance still due to each creditor.

While your Chapter 13 plan is active, you will file an annual income and expense statement with your trustee if such a document is requested by any party or the court as a condition of your plan’s approval.

Completing Your Repayment Plan

Before you make the final payment on your repayment plan, you will file a certificate with the show demonstrating that you completed a personal finance management course.

At the time you’ve made your final payment, it will likely have been three to five years since it was approved. When you complete your plan, the court will grant a discharge of your remaining debt, which may occur during a final but brief hearing.

Contact Financial Relief Law Center, APC for Help!

Our Chapter 13 attorneys can help you reorganize your financial obligations to satisfy your debt for less than it may be worth.

Contact us online to schedule a free consultation where you can learn how we may be able to help you.

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We take you and your case seriously. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and we will get back to you shortly!

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