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Chapter 13 debt limits

When individuals and couples living in Florida realize that their debt has become unmanageable, they often seek relief in consumer bankruptcy. In bankruptcy, debtors can stop creditor harassment and either seek a complete discharge of debts in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy or enter into a manageable payment plan in Chapter 13.

Many debtors opt for Chapter 13, which allows them to repay their debts through a three to five-year repayment plan while also being able to keep property such as a car or home. In Chapter 7 bankruptcy, debtors must allow a bankruptcy trustee to liquidate nonexempt assets so that the proceeds can be distributed to creditors.

However, individuals and couples with high debt levels do not always qualify for Chapter 13. These debtors may be steered into a more complex, lengthy and often less successful plan called Chapter 11.

Reform advocates note that the current limits of $1,149,525 of secured debt or unsecured debt greater than $383,175 don’t take into consideration the cost of living in many areas of the country. These debt levels may not be particularly unusual in affluent communities, and it may not be possible for debtors to manage these debts on their own or through Chapter 11.

Debtors who are worried about their finances might benefit from speaking with a bankruptcy lawyer. A lawyer may be able to review the client’s circumstances and make recommendations regarding debt relief options, including bankruptcy. In situations where a debtor’s income or debt levels limit their options, the lawyer may be able to offer strategies about other available options.

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