West Palm Beach Chapter 13 Attorney
The idea of having to file for bankruptcy is never easy to accept. Even though more and more people file each year, it is still viewed as a bit of a stigma. However, filing for bankruptcy can provide you and your family with a fresh start. The West Palm Beach Chapter 13 attorneys at the Law Offices of Brian McMahon can guide you in the right direction when dealing with such a difficult situation.
Do I Qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
In order to determine whether or not you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you need to meet the following requirements:
- You have a steady way of earning a living
- You have not received a discharge in previously filed Chapter 13 in the last two years, or for Chapter 7 in the last four years
- Your tax filings are current
- You do not have secured debt totaling more than $1,257,850 or unsecured debt totaling $419,275
When you file a Chapter 13 petition, it immediately suspends the ability of creditors to contact you about your debt. It also suspends the payments of any debts you owe. However, the filing does not wipe the debt from your record. Those who file for Chapter 13 do so in the hope that it frees enough debt from their record that they then have enough income to make mortgage payments in order to remain in ownership of their homes.
What is the Chapter 13 Process?
The first step in filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is consulting with a West Palm Beach Chapter 13 attorney from the Law Offices of Brian McMahon. Brian offers free consultations, so be sure to bring all of your financial documents and a list of questions you need answered.
It will cost you $313 to file a petition for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You should provide your attorney with the following information:
- Proof that you have a steady income
- A complete list of creditors and the amount owed to each of them
- All leases in your name
- All properties you own
- Statements of unpaid taxes
- Federal tax returns
- Monthly living expenses
To file, you must also have undergone and completed a course on credit counseling in the same 180-day period. You cannot enroll in just any credit counseling course. It must be approved by the U.S. Department of Justice U.S. Trustee Program.
Once the paperwork has been filed, a letter will be sent to you and your creditors notifying them that all collection activities on your accounts have been paused. The letter will also be sent to the trustee appointed to your case by the bankruptcy court.
Now, it is time for you to create a payment plan that needs to be approved by the court. You will present this payment plan at a hearing. The plan must be considered fair to all parties involved and meet legal standards set forth by the bankruptcy code. Creditors are permitted to object to the plan, but a majority of judges will allow bankruptcy filers multiple opportunities to revise their plans.
You must stick to the payment plan that was approved, or you risk the trustee moving to have your petition dismissed. Having an active bankruptcy petition dismissed can be devastating to you financially.
Should your financial situation take a turn for the worse, you should inform the trustee immediately in the hopes that the repayment plan can be modified. You might also be able to make additional payments to accelerate the closure of your petition. Speak with your West Palm Beach Chapter 13 attorney about this option before making additional payments.
Your Credit and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
The big advantage of filing for Chapter 13 is that your unsecured debts will finally be off of your record. However, your mortgage and auto loans will still be on your report. Continue to pay these debts by the due date each month, so your credit score stays in good shape.
A Chapter 13 filing will remain on your credit report for up to seven years, which is three years less than a Chapter 7 filing. If you continue to make payments on secured loans and do not accrue any other debt, your credit score will gradually increase.
Chapter 13 helps you build a track record of making payments on time regularly. Be warned that your credit score will drop between 100 and 200 points when you file for Chapter 13. This can be a shock for those who had a decent credit score before filing.
Why You Need a West Palm Beach Chapter 13 Attorney
The idea of filing for bankruptcy should not overwhelm you, but it will. Going through a bankruptcy filing can help you rebuild your financial record and should be done with the assistance of a West Palm Beach Chapter 13 attorney. Brian McMahon has more than 32 years of experience helping clients navigate the turbulent waters of bankruptcy. Your attorney will help with the following:
- Completing all required paperwork by the due date
- Examining your financial situation
- Contacting creditors on your behalf
- Represent you in court
Call Brian McMahon in West Palm Beach Today
Are you thinking about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy? If you need to restructure your debt for a fresh start, it is in your best interest to speak with an experienced attorney about your financial situation. Call Brian McMahon at 561-658-1789 to schedule a free consultation. Brian is empathetic and has more than 32 years of experience representing clients in bankruptcy filings. We serve clients in West Palm Beach, Port St. Lucie, Boca Raton, and all of South Florida.