CALL NOW!
FREE PHONE/VIRTUAL CONSULTATION

What Happens If I Can’t Make My Chapter 13 Payments Anymore?

One of the best things about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is knowing you are taking control of your financial situation and making an effort to improve. Instead of struggling with the fear and frustration of never making ends meet, you’ll be able to meet your payment obligations and get a fresh start.

But what happens if mid-way through your Chapter 13 bankruptcy something changes and you’re no longer able to meet those obligations?

Life Goes on During Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plans typically last three to five years. In an ideal world, your income circumstances would remain the same – or improve – and you’d be able to complete your plan without a problem.

Of course, as helpful as bankruptcy is, it doesn’t stop the world from turning and real life will continue to happen. Emergencies arise, living expenses change, and if you’re relying on income from a job to make your payments, loss of that job can derail the plan.

The bankruptcy court is well aware that three or more years is a long time and a lot can change. And while they aren’t what you’d call sympathetic to life changes, they do have systems in place to deal with unforeseen circumstances that affect Chapter 13 filers.

What are Your Options If You Can’t Fulfill Your Chapter 13 Obligations?

In general, the court has three options for dealing with your inability to meet your Chapter 13 repayment obligations.

The first is suspending your payment.

For this to happen, you’ll need to petition the court for suspension, and get your bankruptcy trustee to agree based on a valid reason. Suspensions are typically granted for a month or two. If you are working on a five year repayment plan, you’ll be able to extend your plan for no more than 60 months, so depending on the length of the suspension, an adjustment might be made to your monthly payments once they start up again.

The second option is to modify your monthly payments.

You’ll only be granted a modification if you can show a valid reason for needing one, and you’ll still need to be able to make payments on the modified plan. This is an option if your income is reduced or if you lose your job but have alternate sources of income. If you have no income, you’re better off exploring another option until your situation improves.

Finally, you might be able to convert your Chapter 13 bankruptcy to a Chapter 7.

This is the option most often used when a person has a life-changing experience in the midst of their Chapter 13 repayment plan, such as an accident that causes them to lose their ability to work. Converting to Chapter 7 means your unsecured debts are immediately discharged, so you’ll no longer be legally obligated to pay them.

To read more about the differences between Chapters 7 and 13 bankruptcies, visit Nolo.com.

It’s also possible, depending on your specific circumstances, to have your Chapter 13 case dismissed and file for bankruptcy again in the future. This is the least appealing option for most people because there are limits on the number of times you can file for bankruptcy and the more times you file the more it affects your credit.

If you’re struggling to meet your Chapter 13 repayment obligations or you have other questions about bankruptcy, we can help. Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Geller at 813.254.5696 to schedule a free consultation.

Archive

Video Testimonials

Tampa Bankruptcy Law Blog

5 Common Budgeting Mistakes Newlyweds Make and How to Avoid Them

Budgeting mistakes are common, especially when you’re young. Not all newlyweds are young adults, but many first-time marriages do involve...
Read More

When Should Married Couples File for Bankruptcy Together?

There's no easy answer to the question of timing when it comes to bankruptcy. In some cases, it may make...
Read More

Can Your Spouses Debt Force You Into Bankruptcy?

If you're married and your spouse has a lot of debt, you may be wondering if that debt can force...
Read More

Do You Need a Bankruptcy Attorney If You’re Divorcing with Financial Problems?

Divorce and bankruptcies are more common than many people realize. Financial problems make a stressful transition even more difficult. If...
Read More

Can You File Bankruptcy without Your Spouse?

Filing for bankruptcy is a decision that should not be taken lightly. It can affect your financial life and the...
Read More

How Seniors Can Avoid Bankruptcy

Seniors are at a high risk of bankruptcy, but there are ways to avoid it. What do you need to...
Read More

What Happens If I Own Too Many Assets to File for Chapter 7?

Does hiding assets in bankruptcy protect them from your creditors? If you own too many assets to qualify for Chapter...
Read More

How to Find the Best Lawyer for Filing for Bankruptcy after Retirement

Many retirees decide to file for bankruptcy as a way to get a fresh start. But finding the right lawyer...
Read More

Does Declaring Bankruptcy Affect My Retirement Savings?

When you're struggling with debt, the thought of bankruptcy might cross your mind. But what would that mean for your...
Read More

Is a Reverse Mortgage Right for Me?

Reverse mortgages in Florida are loans that allow homeowners 62 and older to borrow against the equity in their homes....
Read More

Bankruptcy

For The Next 5 Days GET A FREE BOOK About Bankruptcy

Learn More

Infographics

We are A Debt Relief Agency.
We help people file for bankruptcy under the Bankruptcy Code

Pay Online Bankruptcy Courses Newsletter Subscription

NACBA Logo avvo1 avvo2 avvo3 LEA BBB Logo

Call For A Free Initial Consultation

813.254.5696

Tampa Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
807 West Azeele Street
Tampa, FL 33606
T: (813) 254-5696
T: (800) 853-7549
F: (813) 253-3405

Map And Directions

St. Petersburg Office

Law Offices of Robert M. Geller, P.A.
125 5th Street South
(Wells Fargo Financial Center)
2nd Floor, Suite G
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
T: (727) 532-3939

Map And Directions

Pasco Office

23526 State Road 54
Lutz, FL 33559
T: (813) 336-2320

Map And Directions