White Plains Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Experience, Knowledge, & Involvement from Start to Finish
Are you looking for a way to manage or reduce your debt as efficiently as possible? Chapter 13 of the Bankruptcy Code provides a legal solution for those who do not qualify for Chapter 7 or who have sizable assets they wish to retain. If you earn a steady income or want to protect valuable assets, this type of bankruptcy plan may be right for you.
The Law Office of Charles A. Higgs has been a stable presence for clients in and around White Plains and New York City who need solutions to crushing debt. Our firm has been guiding individuals and small businesses through all the variations of the Bankruptcy Code for over a decade. Because of our total concentration on this area of law, we understand the state and federal statutes governing bankruptcy and have kept up with new legal developments. Over the years, we have developed a beneficial rapport with the bankruptcy judges who may oversee your case. Throughout the entire process, you can rely on our unfailing support, counsel, and direct involvement.
Get your questions answered by contacting the Law Office of Charles A. Higgs at (917) 791-2151 today. Your initial case evaluation with our Chapter 13 attorneys in White Plains is free. Se habla Español.
What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy was designed for those who have the income needed to make payments through a 3-5-year payment plan. Your payments will be made through the Bankruptcy Court, where your trustee will pay your creditors according to your plan. Eligibility for a Chapter 13 filing is based on how much secured and unsecured debt you have; these levels cannot exceed a certain amount.
How much you will be required to repay will be dictated by how much income you earn, what your expenses are, and what types of debts you have accumulated. You may wind up paying only a portion of your unsecured debt after the full repayment period has ended because whatever is still owed at that point can be forgiven. However, certain priority debts must be fully repaid, such as tax bills, child support, and others.
This type of bankruptcy can work for the following:
- Those who fail to qualify for a Chapter 7 liquidation plan but need to lower their payments of unsecured debt or stop lawsuits
- Those who wish to catch up on debt such as alimony or child support over the span of the payment plan
- Those who wish to eliminate unsecured lesser liens on your home or stop foreclosure by catching up on missed mortgage payments
- Those who wish to stop repossession of a vehicle by catching up on car payments
Do I Qualify For Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
To file for Chapter 13, you must meet the following requirements:
- You are an individual or couple. Businesses cannot file for Chapter 13.
- You did not have debt discharged from a previous Chapter 13 case within the last 2 years.
- You did not have debt discharged from a prior Chapter 7 case within the last 4 years.
- You cannot file if a prior filing of yours was dismissed within the last 180 days for violating a court order, failing to appear before the court, or requesting that your case be dismissed after a creditor requested the automatic stay be lifted.
- You completed a credit counseling course 180 days before filing.
Your debt is within the limits. These are adjusted every 3 years -- as
of April 2019 the limits are:
- Unsecured debt is under $419,275
- Secured debt is under $1,257,850
- Your income tax returns have all been filed.
- You have enough disposable income to repay your debt while living comfortably.
Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy
The basic difference between Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 is that, generally, Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidates nonexempt property to pay off your creditors and discharge remaining debt. Chapter 13, on the other hand, is a repayment plan that allows you to keep your nonexempt property.
Many people file Chapter 13 because they don’t qualify for Chapter 7. Per the Chapter 7 means test, you generally must make less than your state’s median income to qualify. Some, however, will choose Chapter 13 even though they qualify for Chapter 7 because they want to stop foreclosure and keep other high-value assets.
Can Businesses File Chapter 13?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings are designed for individuals. They are generally not available to businesses unless you are a sole proprietor. If you are a sole proprietor, you can file a Chapter 13 to reorganize both your personal and business debts. Unlike business organizations that have formed as separate entities, sole proprietors are responsible for both personal and business debt.
To better understand how a Chapter 13 filing can apply to you as a sole proprietor, we urge you to consult with one of our White Plains bankruptcy attorneys as soon as possible.
How Do I Get a Chapter 13 Hardship Discharge?
When you file for Chapter 13, you do not typically receive a discharge
until your repayment plan is completed. However, repayment plans last
3 - 5 years and many things can change during that time, especially when
it comes to one’s financial circumstances. A hardship discharge
is when the bankruptcy court discharges your debt before you complete
all of the required payments under your repayment plan.
To be eligible for a hardship discharge, you must meet these conditions:
- You are not able to complete your payments because of circumstances that are out of your control. Unfortunately, temporarily losing your job is not enough to meet this condition.
- A modification of your repayment plan is not feasible.
- Creditors for your unsecured debt have already received as much money as they would have received if you had filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
“Mr. Higgs followed my case from start to finish and did an excellent job.”- Beth
“He was able to walk me through this process so I could put my debt issues behind me.”- Former Client
“Mr. Higgs took the time and energy to understand every nuance, proposed alternative strategies, and in a single day.”- John