Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer in San Francisco

Who can file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Do you have a regular, steady source of income but are burdened by a heavy debt load? Or, is your home facing foreclosure? If your answer is yes to either of these questions, then you may be a perfect candidate for the Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 is similar to a debt consolidation plan where you pay a percentage of the debt you owe typically at 0% interest. This form of bankruptcy enables people with regular incomes to create a plan to repay all or a portion of their debts over a three to five year time period at a monthly payment they can reasonably afford. The bankruptcy code influences this repayment plan by setting the rules and regulations that must be followed.

If the debtor’s income is below the applicable state median, the plan will be set for three years unless the court approves a longer period. If the debtor’s monthly income is higher than the state median, the plan will be for five years. During the 3 to 5 year time period, the law forbids creditors from commencing or continuing any collection efforts against the debtor.

Before filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it is required to complete a credit counseling session with an approved provider.


Pros & Cons of Chapter 13

When debtors are deciding whether to file a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it’s important to consider what types of debts they have as well as their financial goals. One of the most significant differences and advantages of a Chapter 13 versus a Chapter 7 is that the Chapter 13 gives debtors the opportunity to save their homes from foreclosure, or pay back a high amount of tax debt with minimal penalties and interest.

A Chapter 13 can also allow people to reschedule secured debts and extend them over the life of the Chapter 13 payment plan. Other advantages of a Chapter 13 include:

  • A Chapter 13 lowers a debtor’s monthly payments.
  • A Chapter 13 can protect co-signers.
  • It allows home owners to cure delinquent mortgage payments over time.
  • It acts like a debt consolidation loan.
  • It helps manage credit card debt and payday loans.

With a Chapter 13, the debtor writes a check to the Chapter 13 trustee every month who in turn, distributes the money among the creditors. There is no direct contact between the debtor and his or her creditors; the trustee handles this for them.


Understanding Chapter 13 Bankruptcy: A Deeper Dive

This section will break down the core aspects of Chapter 13 bankruptcy in a more comprehensive way, making it easier for potential clients to understand:

  • Eligibility Requirements: Who qualifies for Chapter 13? Detail income limits, debt limits, and other factors that determine eligibility. An individual’s financial situation is assessed to determine their eligibility for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.
  • The Repayment Plan: Explain how Chapter 13 repayment plans work, including how the amount owed and the debtor’s income influence the monthly payments and plan duration (3-5 years). The bankruptcy process involved in creating and managing the repayment plan includes formal procedures and steps to ensure compliance with legal requirements.
  • Types of Debts in Chapter 13: Discuss priority debts (like taxes and child support), secured debts (mortgages, car loans), and unsecured debts (credit cards, medical bills). Explain how each is treated differently under Chapter 13.
  • The Role of the Trustee: Clarify the trustee’s role in overseeing the plan, collecting payments from the debtor, and distributing them to creditors. The trustee also confirms the information on the bankruptcy petition to ensure accuracy and completeness.
  • Discharge of Debts: Explain which debts are typically discharged at the end of a successful Chapter 13 plan and which might not be.


Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Which is Right for You?

A direct comparison of these two common bankruptcy types can be very helpful to potential clients. When deciding to file bankruptcy, it is important to consider the criteria, implications, and limitations of each type.

Understanding the criteria and implications of filing bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 can help you make an informed decision.


Benefits of Choosing Kostopoulos Bankruptcy Law for Chapter 13

This is your chance to sell your firm’s unique strengths:

  • Certified Specialist: Emphasize your lead attorney’s certification in bankruptcy law.
  • Experience and Track Record: Showcase your firm’s 6,000+ clients served and any awards or recognition you’ve received.
    • Our experienced bankruptcy attorney provides guidance and assistance to clients considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy, ensuring they receive reliable information and support to navigate the complex process successfully.
  • Client-Centered Approach: Discuss how you prioritize personalized attention, clear communication, and finding the best solutions for each client’s individual needs. Our bankruptcy lawyer offers invaluable guidance through Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 filings, helping clients reduce or eliminate their debts, avoid foreclosure, and keep personal property.
  • Transparent Fees: If applicable, mention any flat-fee options or payment plans you offer to make your services more accessible.


Top FAQs for Chapter 13 Attorneys

Can I keep my car in Chapter 13?

Yes, in most cases you can keep your car in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, even if you’re behind on payments. Your repayment plan will include the car loan, and you’ll either continue making payments to the lender directly or through the bankruptcy trustee. In some cases, you may even be able to lower your car payment or reduce the interest rate on your loan through a process called “cramdown.”


How long does it take to complete a Chapter 13 plan?

Chapter 13 plans typically last three to five years, depending on your income and the amount of debt you need to repay. If your income is below the median income for your state, your plan will likely be three years. If your income is above the median, your plan will likely be five years.


What happens if I can’t make my Chapter 13 payments?

If you’re unable to make your Chapter 13 payments, you have a few options:

  • Modify the Plan: You can ask the court to modify your plan, which could involve reducing your payments or extending the plan’s length.
  • Convert to Chapter 7: You might be able to convert your case to Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves liquidating assets to pay off debts. However, you might lose some property in the process.
  • Dismissal: If you cannot modify your plan or convert to Chapter 7, the court may dismiss your case. This would mean you’re no longer protected by bankruptcy, and your creditors could resume collection activities.


Will Chapter 13 stop creditor harassment?

Yes, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy triggers an automatic stay, which immediately stops most creditor harassment. This includes collection calls, letters, lawsuits, wage garnishments, and repossessions. If creditors violate the automatic stay, they can face legal consequences.


How will Chapter 13 affect my credit score?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy will appear on your credit report for seven years, and it will initially lower your credit score. However, it can also provide a fresh start by allowing you to repay your debts and establish a positive payment history. With responsible financial behavior after bankruptcy, you can rebuild your credit over time.


Need More Information?

If you have any further questions about Chapter 13 bankruptcy or how it can help you, we’re here to help. Contact Kostopoulos Bankruptcy Law today for a free consultation to discuss your unique situation and explore your options for achieving debt relief and financial freedom.


Taking the Next Step: Your Free Chapter 13 Consultation

End with a strong call to action, inviting potential clients to contact you for a free consultation to discuss their situation and see if Chapter 13 is the right solution for them.


Contact a San Francisco Bankruptcy Attorney

At Kostopoulos Bankruptcy Law, our San Francisco bankruptcy lawyer provides expert guidance to clients in need. Our lead attorney is a Certified Bankruptcy Specialist by the American Board of Certification. We have been named among the Top 100 Firms by the Debt Education and Certification Foundation (DECAF), and we have represented over 6,000 bankruptcy clients.

We are well-aware of the stress and anxiety associated with financial problems, and we are here to help you find the most viable solution that will allow you to keep your property such as your home, your automobile, your jewelry and your personal possessions etc.


We can be reached directly at (877) 969-7482 to arrange a consultation with one of our San Francisco bankruptcy professionals.