Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan

Law Office of John Bristol
1776 N. Pine Island Road, #224, Plantation, Florida 33322
(954) 475-2265

Since 1988, Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney Center of John Bristol has filed more than 5,000 consumer Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases in the Fort Lauderdale area (the Southern District of Florida). As a Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney; John concentrates his Bankruptcy law practice only in Broward County. We offer PAYMENT PLANS and give FREE CONSULTATIONS (954) 475-2265

The Debtor Must File A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Plan Within 14 Days Of The Bankruptcy Petition

A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan must be submitted for court approval and must provide for payments of fixed amounts to the Court on a regular basis, typically monthly. The Court then distributes the funds to creditors according to the terms of the plan, which may offer creditors less than full payment on their claims.  As your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer, John Bristol will prepare the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan for you.

There are three types of claims: priority, secured, and unsecured. Priority claims are those granted special status by the bankruptcy law, such as most taxes and the costs of the Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding. (3) Secured claims are those for which the creditor has the right take back certain property (i.e., the collateral) if the debtor does not pay the underlying debt. In contrast to secured claims, unsecured claims are generally those for which the creditor has no special rights to collect against particular property owned by the debtor.

The Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan must pay priority claims in full unless a particular priority creditor agrees to different treatment of the claim or, in the case of a domestic support obligation, unless the debtor contributes all "disposable income" - discussed below - to a five-year plan.11 U.S.C. § 1322(a).

If the debtor wants to keep the collateral securing a particular claim, the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan must provide that the holder of the secured claim receive at least the value of the collateral. If the obligation underlying the secured claim was used to buy the collateral (e.g., a car loan), and the debt was incurred within certain time frames before the bankruptcy filing, the plan must provide for full payment of the debt, not just the value of the collateral (which may be less due to depreciation). Payments to certain secured creditors (i.e., the home mortgage lender), may be made over the original loan repayment schedule (which may be longer than the plan) so long as any deficiency is made up during the chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan. As your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney, John Bristol will consult with you to determine the proper treatment of secured claims in the plan.

The chapter 13 Bankruptcy plan need not pay unsecured claims in full as long it provides that the debtor will pay all projected "disposable income" over an "applicable commitment period," and as long as unsecured creditors receive at least as much under the plan as they would receive if the debtor's assets were liquidated under chapter 7. 11 U.S.C. § 1325. In chapter 13, "disposable income" is income (other than child support payments received by the debtor) less amounts reasonably necessary for the maintenance or support of the debtor or dependents and less charitable contributions up to 15% of the debtor's gross income. If the debtor operates a business, the definition of disposable income excludes those amounts which are necessary for ordinary operating expenses. 11 U.S.C. § 1325(b)(2)(A) and (B). The "applicable commitment period" depends on the debtor's current monthly income. The applicable commitment period must be three years if current monthly income is less than the state median for a family of the same size - and five years if the current monthly income is greater than a family of the same size. 11 U.S.C. § 1325(d). The chapter 13 plan may be less than the applicable commitment period (three or five years) only if unsecured debt is paid in full over a shorter period.


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Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney John Bristol has filed more than 10,000 Bankruptcy cases in Florida since 1988. We concentrate Now our law practice on Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (liquidation) and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (personal reorganization) cases in the Fort Lauderdale and Broward County area

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is classified as a reorganization bankruptcy. This is opposed to something like Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which is classified as a liquidation bankruptcy. In a Chapter 7 bankruptcy you must give any non-exempt property that you have in exchange for most of your debts being wiped out. Unlike this liquidation process, during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you will not have to fork over any property. Instead, you will be required to make a structured repayment plan that shows how you will use your income to pay off your debts over time, typically three to five years.

Before you can think about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you must be able to show that you are eligible to file for it. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy uses your income to pay off your creditors for the money you owe. If your income is too low, or if it is not regular, then you may not be able to make payments according to the schedule and you will not be eligible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  John Bristol, as your Bankruptcy Attorney will discuss your income to determine the proper bankruptcy filing for you.

In addition, there are certain debt limits that may prevent you from filing Bankruptcy for aChapter 13 bankruptcy. As of January, 2016, if you have secured debts that exceed approximately $1,300,000 or unsecured debts of approximately more than $340,000, you are not eligible to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. An unsecured debt is one where your creditor does not have the right to take a specific item of property if the debt is not repaid. Conversely, a secured debt is one where a creditor "secures" the loan by your promise that the creditor is allowed to take a specific item of property the debt is not paid.  John Bristol, as your bankruptcy lawyer will discuss the proper bankruptcy filing for you based upon you total debt

Perhaps the most important, and most tricky, part of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will be the repayment plan. This paperwork will describe, in minute detail, how much you will pay to which creditors to pay down your debts. Although there is no standardized, official form to be used, many courts have developed their own that may be useful for you in making your repayment plan. Under your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy repayment plan, you must include a plan to pay certain debts in full. Called "priority debts," these debts are considered to be more important that other debts and can jump the line to the head of the bankruptcy repayment plan. These debts include things like taxes that are due and owing as well as child support payments.

There are other things that must be included in your repayment plan as well. For example, payments on any secured debts have need to be included in the plan (such as car or home payments). In addition, if you have fallen behind on any of these secured debt payments, these late payments should be included in the repayment plan.

Lastly, the repayment plan must also show that if you have any disposable income after making payments on secured debts, that this money goes towards making payments on unsecured debts. It may not be required that you make payments if you do not have any disposable income, but you must show a good faith effort to repay your unsecured debts. As a general rule, if your average monthly income for the six months prior to your bankruptcy filing was more than the median income for your state, you will have to propose a repayment plan that is five years long. If, on the other hand, your average income for the same time period is less than the median income for the state, then you will propose a three year repayment plan. However, if you pay off all of your debts in full before the end of the repayment plan, your repayment plan will end.

There are often situations that may befall you where you will become unable to make payments on your repayment plan. For instance, if you lost your job after getting into the repayment plan, the bankruptcy trustee may be able to modify your repayment plan to match your new circumstances. As well, if making payments on the repayment plan would pose an undue hardship (if you were hospitalized for a long period of time), a bankruptcy judge may decide to discharge your debts.

If neither of these options were available to you, you may be able to convert your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy (reorganization) to a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy (liquidation). Or, you may ask the bankruptcy court to dismiss your bankruptcy case all together. If you take the second option, you would still owe your debts, and any interest that creditors did not charge you while you were in your bankruptcy proceeding. If you have stuck to it, at the end of your repayment plan, all of your remaining debts that are eligible to be discharged will be wiped out by the bankruptcy court.

The Law Office is on the Corner of Sunrise Boulevard and Pine Island Road

From I 95: Take Sunrise Boulevard West to Pine Island Road

From I 595: Take Pine Island Road North to Sunrise Boulevard

1776 N. Pine Island Road, #224

Plantation, Florida 33322

Please Contact Us With Any Questions

  • Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney Center US
  • Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney Center Bar
  • Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney Center NSU
  • Fort Lauderdale Bankruptcy Attorney Center FLN
The Law Office of John Bristol, 1776 N. Pine Island Road, #224, Plantation, Florida 33322 is a debt relief agency.  We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.  Disclosure: The hiring of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.  Before you decide please ask us for information concerning out qualifications and experience

Serving Locations

Coral Springs, Dania, Davie, Deerfield Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Hallandale, Hollywood, Lauderhill, Margate
Miramar, Pembroke Pines, Plantation, Pompano Beach, Sunrise, Tamarac