Countless individuals have experienced periods of significant financial struggle throughout the course of their lives. Perhaps unexpected events have caused you to fall behind, and you are unable to maintain a certain quality of life needed for you and your family. You might have the ability to pay a certain amount of your debt, but the entirety of it might have you in a financial stranglehold.

If you are considering available options, but wish to avoid liquidating certain assets, you could consider filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This type of bankruptcy can help you retain possession of assets, such as your house, while giving you a certain amount of time in which to repay required debts.

Am I eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

You must meet certain qualifications to be eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Some of the guidelines for qualifying for this type of bankruptcy are as follows:

  • Credit counseling requirement:  You must provide a certificate of proof indicating that you have undergone credit counseling through an approved agency within at least 180 days prior to filing.
  • Amount of debts: There is a limit concerning the amount of secured and unsecured debt with which you can file. Speaking with a knowledgeable attorney for advice on these limits is probably an excellent idea.
  • Tax returns: Before you can file for Chapter 13, you must provide proof that you have filed tax returns for the past four years.
  • Proposed plan: When proposing your plan for repayment, it must cover the full amount of all required debts.
  • Ability to pay unsecured debt: You may have to repay additional unsecured debts, up to an amount equal to the value of non-exempt property, such as appliances or furniture.
  • Sufficient income: You must also prove your ability to make the proposed payments by showing that you have enough income remaining after allowable monthly expenses.

In addition to meeting these requirements, you must show that you have not had a bankruptcy dismissed within the previous 180 days for reasons such as violation of court order or failure to appear at your hearing. It also has to have been at least two years since any debt was discharged in a previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing or four years from a previous Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing.

Who can I speak with about available options?

Constantly dealing with overwhelming debt can be stressful and daunting. Perhaps you are considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy, but you would like to obtain guidance before making such a crucial decision. You could speak with an attorney with experience in such intricate matters. A bankruptcy attorney in California can discuss your current financial situation with you and advise you on the benefits and downsides of available options, which may assist you in making the best decision possible with regards to your financial future.