Boca Raton Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer
There is a common misconception that only people who are unemployed and have no regular source of income file for bankruptcy. In reality, there are many people who work typical 40 hour per week jobs yet struggle to make ends meet–much less pay off their existing debts. If you find yourself in this situation, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may offer you some relief.
The Boca Raton Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyers at Nowack & Olson have spent more than two decades assisting debtors like you who need help consolidating and managing their debts. If you are currently facing creditor harassment, foreclosure threats, or “final notices,” we can help you take charge of the situation.
How Chapter 13 Can Help You
In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the debtor goes before a federal bankruptcy court and proposes a plan to repay their outstanding debts over a period of time, which is typically between 3 and 5 years. Obviously, such a plan is only feasible if the debtor has a regular stream of income. Each state, including Florida, has a “median” income level that the debtor must exceed before a court will consider a Chapter 13 plan.
Unlike the other common form of individual bankruptcy–Chapter 7–a Chapter 13 filing does not erase your debts outright. Instead, the goal is to repay your creditors as much as possible over the term of the plan. Essentially, the bankruptcy allows you to consolidate your debts. So instead of making separate arrangements to pay each of your creditors separately, you make a single monthly payment to a neutral third party–a court-appointed bankruptcy trustee. The trustee is then responsible for making sure the creditors are paid.
Once you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, all debt collection activity must stop until the court says otherwise. In bankruptcy law, this is known as an “automatic stay,” and during this time your creditors can no longer contact you or take any action to collect on your debt, such as garnishing your wages or attaching a lien to your home. In fact, the automatic stay also covers potential foreclosure actions. So if you are behind on your mortgage payments, seeking Chapter 13 protection can give you time to get current on your loan and keep your home.
Is Chapter 13 Right for You and Your Family?
Chapter 13 cases are more complicated than Chapter 7 filings. As mentioned above, they tend to last for several years, and a judge must approve your repayment plan before it can proceed. Your creditors will also have the opportunity to be heard and present any objections.
Bankruptcy is difficult enough. You should never go through the process alone. At Nowack & Olson, we will make sure you understand all of the implications of a Chapter 13 filing before you commit to a course of action. If Chapter 13 isn’t right for your situation, we will let you know. And if you decide to proceed, we will be with you at every stage of the process to help ensure a favorable outcome.