Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers in Texas

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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyers in Texas

Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers a range of options for restructuring, reducing and even eliminating certain types of debt. Our Dallas bankruptcy attorneys at Leinart Law Firm have more than 15 years of experience helping individuals and businesses find the debt relief they need. If you’re considering Chapter 13, Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy for your business, our team can determine which option will work best for your specific circumstances.

What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy lets you reorganize and repay certain debts over three to five years. Under the supervision of the Texas bankruptcy courts, you may be able to modify loan agreements and even eliminate some or all of your unsecured debt such as credit cards or medical bills. Filing for and completing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often a complex process. Our attorneys provide a free bankruptcy consultation in which we do a comprehensive evaluation of your income and finances. We advise you on the most effective course of action for practical debt relief solutions.

Filing either Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy can help you see a way out of the darkness of overwhelming debt. It’s important to keep in mind that the type of bankruptcy you file will depend on your specific needs and income. Those with little income and minimal assets often file for Chapter 7, but consumers with substantial income or assets file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Chapter 13 is also known as a “wage earner’s plan,” which means you may have the income to pay back a percentage of the debts that you owe. For example, when you file for Chapter 13, an existing car loan may be restructured with a reduced principal and lower interest rate that is easier to afford. Unsecured debt such as credit card balances may be wiped out altogether.

Eligibility for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

To file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Texas, you must generally meet the following requirements:

  • You have less than $336,900 in unsecured debt and less than $1,010,650 in secured debt.
  • You have filed income tax returns for the previous four years.
  • You earn enough to meet your monthly household obligations and make payments on your proposed repayment plan.
  • You have been a resident of Texas for at least 90 days before you file.
  • Before you can file for Chapter 13, mandatory counseling from a certified credit counselor is required. If the credit counseling agency created a debt management plan, you must provide a copy to the court.

Texas’ Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Filing Fees

Upon filing your bankruptcy petition, you will have to pay a bankruptcy case filing fee of $313.  Depending on your situation, there may be other fees such as credit counseling, a credit report, emergency filing fees or a portion of the attorneys fees up front.  When a petition is filed, an automatic stay goes into effect stopping most, if not all, collection activity. The benefits of the stay, however, are subject to the bankruptcy code; in other words, it does not always apply to every debt, and may be temporary in some cases. For cases in Chapter 13 bankruptcy, both the case itself and the automatic stay typically last 3-5 years (as opposed to a few months in a Chapter 7 case).

How to File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Texas

Each case is different, but there are basic steps that should be followed when filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

First, collect all necessary documentation of your income and debts, including current income sources, assets, property, monthly living expenses, secured and unsecured debts such as credit cards and medical bills, mortgage payments, paperwork for any other loans you may have, and major financial transactions for the last two years. It’s vital to be honest and accurate when collecting this information. Attempting to hide assets or failing to include certain debts can lead to serious consequences and throw a wrench in the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process.

Submit a bankruptcy petition and a proposed repayment plan at your Texas district bankruptcy court and pay the corresponding filing fee. Having an experienced bankruptcy lawyer help you create a proposed repayment plan can help ensure you restructure your debt in a manageable way and save you money. Our debt relief lawyers have prepared thousands of bankruptcy petitions and are well-versed in Texas bankruptcy laws.

The court then reviews your petition and Chapter 13 repayment plan and either approves it or requests changes.

If you fulfill the Chapter 13 bankruptcy requirements, the court confirms your repayment plan. You will then make monthly payments to a bankruptcy trustee over three to five years.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy FAQs

What Are the Advantages of Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

When you file for any type of bankruptcy, an “automatic stay” is put on your debts. In some cases, unsecured debt such as back taxes, credit cards and medical debt can be completely discharged. If there are liens attached to your property, you can usually avoid foreclosure or seizure of assets by the IRS and other creditors. Interest and penalties on tax debt included in your plan generally stop accruing throughout the Chapter 13 repayment period. This alone could potentially save you thousands of dollars. In addition, once you successfully complete a Chapter 13 repayment plan, individual creditors can’t obligate you to pay those debts in full.

How Long Does Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Take?

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy case can take anywhere from three to five years, depending on your debt repayment plan. Once you make your final payment under the Chapter 13 payment plan and complete the required financial management course, you will receive your discharge.

Which Types of Debt Are Not Dischargeable in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Child support, alimony, student loans and judgments against you due to “willful and malicious” personal injury are generally non-dischargeable. However, non-support obligations to an ex-spouse and some types of lawsuits and judgments may be dischargeable. These issues can be legally tricky and wrought with emotion, so it’s important to speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney before making decisions about requesting a discharge of these debts.

Will Filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Hurt My Credit?

Although a Chapter 13 bankruptcy may stay on your credit report for up to 10 years, repossession, foreclosure and missed debt payments can often do even worse damage to your credit. The sooner you get started on repaying the debts in your Chapter 13 plan, the sooner you can begin to repair and reestablish your credit. You may be able to get new, higher-interest lines of credit within one to three years of filing bankruptcy.

Why Do I Need a Bankruptcy Attorney?

Hiring a seasoned bankruptcy attorney to handle your Chapter 13 case can help you avoid common pitfalls and save you a significant amount of money. Bankruptcy isn’t the best solution for everyone. At Leinart Law Firm, our Dallas or Fort Worth bankruptcy lawyers may recommend other debt relief alternatives. We can also look at your financial goals and determine whether filing Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 would be best for you. For example, if you want to save your home but you’re seriously behind on payments, Chapter 13 may be the better fit.

There is also a means test that must be applied before qualifying for bankruptcy. If you make too much money, you may not be eligible to file Chapter 7. Our bankruptcy attorneys help you understand how the means test and Texas bankruptcy exemption rules may apply to protect as many of your assets as possible. We can negotiate with creditors on your behalf and protect you from creditors who violate an automatic stay.

It can be confusing to distinguish which debts can be completely eliminated. Without an experienced attorney by your side, you may end up owing debts that could have been discharged or rolled into your Chapter 13 repayment plan.

More Helpful Information about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Complete Guide to Bankruptcy in Texas 
How to File Bankruptcy in Texas 
How Much Are Bankruptcy Filing Fees?
Minimum Amount of Debt for Bankruptcy Filings
Bankruptcy vs. Debt Consolidation
What Is the Bankruptcy Means Test? 
Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy 
How to Reestablish Credit after Bankruptcy

Schedule a Free Consultation with a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer

At Leinart Law Firm, we’re dedicated to helping clients make a fresh financial start. To schedule a free consultation with a Texas bankruptcy lawyer, please call us in Dallas at 469-232-3328 or Fort Worth at 817-426-3328. You can also use our convenient chat feature, complete the contact form on our website or email us. Our Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorneys serve clients throughout north Texas.