When Your Chapter 13 Plan Payment Is Not Written In Stone?

In most chapter 13 bankruptcy cases, upon confirmation, a monthly payment is set in place and it will not vary. However, there is always an exception to this rule. In some circumstances, the debtor can bring a motion to modify the plan such as a case where there is a significant decrease in income. Well what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Thus, the Chapter 13 trustee has the ability to bring a motion to increase the plan payment should there be a significant increase in income. This is provided for under section 1329 of the United States Bankruptcy Code which is entitled “modification of plan after confirmation.” One of my recent debtors just incurred this event. In our + Read More

The Importance Of The Non-Filing Spouse In Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Not every married couple files a joint chapter 13 bankruptcy case. However, the income and expenses of the non-filing party is critical in determining how much the filer has to pay per month to a Chapter 13 trustee and for how long. This relatively new concept stems back to the bankruptcy reform of October 17, 2005. Prior to that date, a person filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy was only required to submit his or her income and expenses as well as all of the debts. After the law change, the non-filing spouse or the total household income of the parties became the standard by which chapter 13 cases were governed. Let's take a look at a recent example: A woman came in the office recently + Read More

Confirmation Of A Chapter 13 Plan: The Liquidation Test

When a chapter 13 case is up for confirmation, the court, the trustee and the debtor must comply with section 1129 of 11 U.S.C.  This section deals with confirmation of a plan and it lists all the different factors that must be complied with for the court to sign an order confirming the plan. Most debtors and their counsel are aware of the requirements for filing a Chapter 13 in general. Those include completing a credit counseling session prior to filing, submitting the most recent four years of federal tax returns to the trustee, providing the most recent two months prior to filing of pay advices and any subsequent amendments or documentation that the trustee requires post-filing. What is + Read More

Chapter 13 Filing With Limited Debts

When Chapter 13 Makes Sense There are certain circumstances where chapter 13 makes perfect sense even though there may not be a lot of debt being repaid. A perfect example of this would be if a person's driver's license is suspended due to failure to pay parking tickets to the City of Chicago. Let's say this person needs that vehicle to get to and from work. If the debtor's license is suspended, chapter 13 is going to be the only option to regain driving privileges other than working into an installment payment plan with the City of Chicago. Often times, the city will not be amenable to a payment plan and the debtor is forced to either borrow a significant sum of money from family and + Read More

Is My Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Case On The Verge Of Dismissal?

Chance For Dismissal This is a question that comes up on nearly every chapter 13 bankruptcy case that is filed. It is almost impossible to make it through the chapter 13 filing process without some sort of difficulty. The difficulty might stem from the trustee, a creditor, the regulations, or the debtor himself. There are certain situations where a case cannot be confirmed by the trustee because the debtor has not satisfied the requirements of a confirmable plan. This could be based on the debtor's inability to substantiate specific expenses, provide documentation for certain debts, or from the debtor's inability to comply with the law. A debtor often will find motions to dismiss filed by + Read More

When Bankruptcy Is Not Enough: Be Careful When Investing In Suspect Real Estate

Invest Wisely I have to share with you a cautionary tale of a prior client who had an investment in a real estate property on the South side of Chicago. The neighborhood in which he invested was not great.  In fact, it's one of the two or three neighborhoods in Chicago that has not seen any form of significant re-gentrification. He purchased the property which had a single family home on it with the intent of renting it out and receiving passive income. When he was unable to do so effectively, he decided to include it in his chapter 7 bankruptcy along with other debts that he wished to eliminate. The underlying debt to the mortgage company was eliminated. However, my former client still + Read More

How Soon Will I Get Credit After Filing Bankruptcy?

It's amazing to me that people are worried about getting credit before they even completed a bankruptcy case. This is due in fact based upon Americans desire and obsession for credit. After all, credit is what more than likely got the person into financial problems to begin with. Now there are other causes of bankruptcy filings such as medical bills, job loss, illness, divorce, but the main reason why people fall into bankruptcy is due to credit. Credit Score It seems that everyone is obsessed with credit and their credit scores. People want to know how is bankruptcy going to affect my credit score? I have to look at these potential clients in bewilderment. Why on earth are they asking me + Read More

Some Judges Making It Difficult For Bankruptcy Attorneys To Get Their Fees Ordered

Problems Getting Paid In The Past Over the past 20 years, I have been searching for the reason or reasons why bankruptcy judges make it so difficult for bankruptcy attorneys to get paid in Chapter 13 consumer bankruptcy cases. This goes all the way back to the early 1990’s when some judges would simply not sign the order. Perhaps the judges had too much work on their docket. Others created additional work by not granting the fees in a timely manner and instead put the applications on the back burner where they often remained lost. In the 2000's, we argued with the presiding bankruptcy judge to order our fees when the motion was first up to be heard with the original confirmation hearing. + Read More

Co-Debtor Stay In Bankruptcy

The co-debtor stay applies in chapter 13 of the United States Bankruptcy Code and goes into effect immediately upon the filing of the case. The co-debtor stay will prohibit any action or continued action to collect on a consumer debt from an individual who secured such debt or who is liable on such debt with the debtor with the exception being if the co-debtor became liable on such debt in the ordinary course of business. The co-debtor stay will apply provided the following legal requirements are met: 1) The primary debtor must have filed the petition for relief under chapter 13. 2) The debt involved must be a consumer debt which is a debt incurred by an individual primarily for + Read More

Lower Gas Prices May Forestall Some Bankruptcy Filings

Gas Prices Drop As gas prices continue to drop, the yearly benefit to the average consumer can approach $750.00 or more per year.  This precipitous drop in prices may help many that are on the fence about filing for bankruptcy.  For a married couple, the savings can approach $1,500.00 or more.  Here are the details: Six months ago, the average gas price was approximately $2.82 per gallon.  If figure the consumer drove 1000 miles per month with an average mile per gallon of 19, the total cost per year for gas would be $1,781.00.  Now that gas prices are averaging $1.82 per gallon, the total cost per year drops to $1,067.00.  This equates to an average savings of $714.00 which could vary + Read More