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How does the general process of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy work for an individual?

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Hi, I’m attorney Robert Geller. I am a board certified consumer bankruptcy attorney. Today I want to talk to you about the general process of how a chapter 13 bankruptcy works for an individual.

The first step is a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney. During this consultation, we’ll go over your options and determine if you should file a chapter 13 bankruptcy with our office. My staff will assist you. They’ll help you get through your homework, meet with you by phone or by video, and assist you each step of the way to make sure you get your homework done. You’ll need to gather and submit to use your pay stubs and your tax returns. There’s also an online worksheet to complete and an online class. We’ll help you get through it.

Once your homework is done, our firm uses our 30 years of experience to file your chapter 13 case. We prepare all of the documents – there are about 60 pages worth – that need to be filed with the court. You’ll review all of your information with a paralegal in our firm and then you will meet with an attorney in the firm. There will be another review of your paperwork and the attorney will come up with your payment plan. Then your case gets filed electronically. There’s no need to go to the courthouse.

Once it’s filed electronically, all your creditors are notified that you filed for bankruptcy.

Next, in the past at least, you’d go to the courthouse. But this is no longer the case because of the pandemic. You get to go to court by phone. We’re on the phone call with you to protect you and to answer your questions. The call takes about 15 to 30 minutes. Beforehand, we’ll fully prepare you before the call. You’ll know all the questions and feel good about what to expect. That’s really the only time in a chapter 13 you have to go to court.

The next major step is to begin making your plan payments for anywhere between three and five years. The first plan payment is due 30 days after you file and you have to make your payments every month thereafter. During that time, you’ve got to communicate with your attorney. You should notify your attorney:

  • If your income changes
  • If you want to borrow money
  • If you sell anything or transfer anything
  • If you have any lawsuits or claims against anyone

You also need to make sure you pay your income taxes on time.

After three to five years of making payments, you’re going to get your bankruptcy discharged. We’re going to call you and congratulate you.

And most of all, we’re going to assist you with rebuilding your credit.

Our firm has been offering a great program to clients for the last six or seven years that assists you with rebuilding your credit. It’s called seven steps to 720. We’re going to sign you up for it. It takes about three months to do and requires a commitment of about 15 to 30 minutes a week. If you complete the program, you’re going to see that your credit score is going to increase. You can expect that your credit score will get back up to a 720 in 12 to 24 months after filing bankruptcy.

Lastly, we’ll get a copy of your credit report. You’ll need to schedule an appointment with our office to review your credit report. About 25% of the credit reports are not accurate after filing bankruptcy. So we want to make sure your credit report is accurate so that you can rebuild your credit again.

I’m attorney Robert Geller. I want to help you build a bridge to a brighter future. If you have any questions about chapter seven, 11 or 13, give us a call or feel free to message us on Facebook.

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