Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney in White Plains, NY
Think bankruptcy is only for people with empty bank accounts? Not so! Ever wonder how rich celebrities file bankruptcy? Contact our White Plains chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer today.
Anyone, even individuals with large income and assets like celebrities, can find themselves in financial trouble. If you have a steady income but are struggling to pay your bills, Chapter 13 bankruptcy may be right for you.
There is a general misconception that bankruptcy represents a personal failure. White Plains bankruptcy attorney Michael H. Schwartz, P.C., knows that’s wrong. Used correctly, bankruptcy, rooted in the Bible, is an invaluable tool to help good people in bad situations resolve their debts and rehabilitate their credit.
- 1 Our White Plains Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You
- 2 What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
- 3 What are the Advantages of Filing For Bankruptcy in White Plains?
- 4 What is the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process?
- 5 How Long Does It Take to File For Bankruptcy?
- 6 What Is a Chapter 13 Dismissal?
- 7 What Happens if I Can’t Make My Bankruptcy Payments?
- 8 What Happens After Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
- 9 Contact Our New York, White Plains Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Our White Plains Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help You
Our White Plains, New York, Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney focuses his practice entirely on helping clients regain their financial footing. For more than 40 years, Michael H. Schwartz has provided strong legal representation in NY bankruptcy cases and foreclosure defense for clients in Westchester, Putnam, and Rockland Counties and throughout the Hudson Valley area. Thousands of individuals and businesses have achieved debt relief, retained their property and protected their loved ones with our firm’s legal guidance.
To learn how we can help you, call us now or fill out our online form.
What is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
The U.S. Bankruptcy Code provides ways for individuals and businesses to reduce or eliminate their debts through several different types of bankruptcy. Chapter 13 bankruptcy (also known as the wage earner’s plan) allows you to propose a plan to restructure your debt and repay creditors, either in part or fully.
Chapter 13 may be appropriate for individuals who:
- Are at risk of home foreclosure
- Need to modify their mortgage
- Want to get rid of a second mortgage
- Have a consistent income
- Can pay some debts within three to five years
- Own nonexempt property that they want to protect (such as a second home, rental property, extra land, etc.)
- Cannot qualify for Chapter 7 bankruptcy
- Deciding on whether to file under Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 depends partly on your eligibility and your financial goals. Under Chapter 13, you can attempt to modify your mortgage, eliminate most debts and keep property that you may not be allowed to keep in Chapter 7. With Chapter 7, debt is quickly wiped out but does nothing to help a person in foreclosure.
Some people also do not qualify under Chapter 7 because they don’t pass the means test. That’s an analysis of your income and debts to determine if it’s possible for you to repay your financial obligations. Those with significant disposable income may be ineligible, and Chapter 13 becomes their only option. It’s possible for individuals to apply for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, but Chapter 11 is far more costly and cumbersome.
What are the Advantages of Filing For Bankruptcy in White Plains?
Although Chapter 7 is quicker, Chapter 13 filers do receive some perks:
- They avoid foreclosure. All foreclosure collection activities halt once you file for bankruptcy. Chapter 13 allows you to make up for past-due mortgage payments under a repayment plan. Or, attempt to modify your mortgage to lower the interest rate, place the arrears at the end of the mortgage and even forgive some of the debt.
- Bankruptcy gets off the credit report faster. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will show on your credit report for seven years as opposed to 10 years for Chapter 7 filers.
- Most debt will probably be discharged. Even with a Chapter 13 plan, it’s unlikely that filers pay back much of their unsecured debts.
- A second mortgage or home equity line of credit could be eliminated. Bankruptcy lawyer Michael H. Schwartz can discuss the possibility of “lien stripping” with you, which could enable the court to clear you of the responsibility for paying second mortgages and junior liens.
What is the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Process?
Chapter 13 cases can be complex. Arranging a free consultation at our White Plains, NY bankruptcy law firm is easy.
During the visit, we will analyze all of your financial information and give you an honest recommendation of what is best for you.
In short, here’s how the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process works:
- File a petition. At this point, an automatic stay will go into effect preventing creditors from attempting to make collections on your debts. You must include a certificate proving that you received credit counseling as well as any debt repayment plan developed with the agency at the time of filing.
- Propose a repayment plan. Prior to filing the Petition, we will develop a reasonable plan that allows you to pay your debts without sacrificing your ability to maintain a household or support dependents.
- Appointment of trustee. The trustee will evaluate the case, hold a meeting with you and any creditors that care to attend, discuss potential issues and disburse the payments you make as part of the repayment plan.
- Confirmation of plan. A confirmation hearing finalizes the plan after all potential issues have been resolved.
- Make payments on time. Once the plan is complete, any debt not discharged will be repaid over time, and you will be back on track.
How Long Does It Take to File For Bankruptcy?
Deadlines are very important in Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases. Failure to meet deadlines during the process can result in a dismissal.
Filing for bankruptcy is also document-intensive. We are required to file multiple forms with the court within 14 days of filing the petition, including:
- A schedule of assets and liabilities
- Your current income and expenditures
- Schedule of expired leases and executory contracts
- Statement of your financial affairs
The first meeting of creditors usually takes place within 20 to 40 days after the petition is submitted.
Prior to the meeting, Michael H. Schwartz will meet with you in his office and prepare you for the meeting. No other lawyer will do that.
Michael H. Schwartz will take care of the bankruptcy basics for you such as, personally making sure that all paperwork is filed properly and on time.
In Chapter 13, the plan is either 3 years or 5 years depending on your income.
What Is a Chapter 13 Dismissal?
There is an important difference between a Chapter 13 discharge and a dismissal. A discharge means that you have satisfied the terms of your repayment plan and creditors cannot attempt to collect on all dischargeable debts.
A dismissal can happen before you have confirmed or completed your plan. It can be initiated by the bankruptcy court or by you. It is often, but not always, the least desirable outcome of a Chapter 13 case.
There are several possible reasons for dismissal. You may have failed to make payments or file required documents with your trustee on time. It’s also possible that your life circumstances changed and that you no longer need bankruptcy protection. Either way, you should know that a dismissal can have serious consequences that could worsen your financial problems if you are not careful.
First, a dismissal removes the automatic stay that prevents creditors from seeking delinquent payments from you. They will be cleared to seek the money you have not repaid according to your Chapter 13 plan. But they can also demand payment of interest and penalties that you have accrued, which would have been voided with a Chapter 13 discharge.
A dismissal also means that lenders can re-initiate or continue foreclosure and repossession actions against you. In addition, the bankruptcy will show up on your credit report despite not having completed the requirements and the plan.
That said, there are situations where a dismissal could be appropriate. You may find that you are better off converting to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy if the payments are too high and cannot be modified. It’s also possible that your financial situation could change and make bankruptcy no longer necessary for you. We can talk about your circumstances and what makes sense for you in the long run.
What Happens if I Can’t Make My Bankruptcy Payments?
Life is unpredictable. If an unexpected event such as illness or injury causes you to miss work and lose income, it is possible to ask the bankruptcy court for a hardship discharge. However, more likely than not, your case may be dismissed, and we will start over.
What Happens After Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Life after filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy means that you should walk away with your assets protected and accounts in good order. A judge will confirm that you have completed your repayment plan and formally issue a discharge. That means that you now will be able to conduct your financial affairs without court oversight.
You will also be able to apply for credit cards and loans once the bankruptcy is resolved. Keep in mind that it may be challenging to obtain credit while the bankruptcy shows up on your credit report. Usually, it takes about seven years for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy to be erased from the report.
Contact Our New York, White Plains Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer
If debt is dragging you down, we can help. Call Michael H. Schwartz, P.C. at (800) ON MY SIDE today or fill out our online contact form.