Many families are dealing with financial distress. The American Bankruptcy Institute (ABI) reports that 9,977 people filed for personal bankruptcy protection in New Jersey in 2021. Most personal bankruptcies in New Jersey are Chapter 7 cases—but 25 percent of personal bankruptcy filers in New Jersey in 2021 filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection.
A Chapter 13 bankruptcy is also sometimes referred to simply as a “wage earner’s plan.” A successful Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition allows the filer to roll many (or all) of their debts into a single, affordable monthly payment. Here, our New Jersey personal bankruptcy attorney explains the most important things to know about Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Cases: Understanding the Basics
In contrast to a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy involves a repayment plan. As a general rule, the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process exists for those who have regular income but who are currently overwhelmed by a burdensome and unsustainable level of debt.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows for debts to be rolled into a repayment plan through which the debtor can resolve the matter over a reasonable period of time—usually three to five years. Though the specific circumstances of the case always matter.
Chapter 13 is available to more people and families than Chapter 7. Unlike with Chapter 7 bankruptcy, there is no income limit for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. You can file a Chapter 13 case even if your income is too high to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy protection.
An Overview of Chapter 13 Repayment Plans
When you exit the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process, you will end up with a repayment plan. Indeed, the first month after a Chapter 13 case is accepted the debtor is required to make their initial payment. Chapter 13 repayment plans must conform to certain legal standards. As explained by the United States Bankruptcy Court for the District of New Jersey, a Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment plan must:
- Provide for the payment of fixed amounts on a regular (usually monthly) basis;
- Ensure that certain types of debts—child support, back taxes, etc—are paid in full; and
- Treat all claims fairly across the different classes of creditors.
A Chapter 13 repayment plan invariably results in a lower monthly payment for the filer. This may be achieved in several ways—including the elimination of interest, waiver of fees/penalties, and potentially even the forgiveness of principle. The longest a Chapter 13 repayment plan can last in New Jersey is five years. If all payments are made in a timely manner, the debts covered by the Chapter 13 repayment plan will be fully resolved.
Call Our New Jersey Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney for Immediate Help
At the Law Offices of Wenarsky & Goldstein LLC, our personal bankruptcy lawyer has extensive experience handling Chapter 13 cases. If you have questions or concerns about the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process, we are here to help. Call us to arrange your strictly private consultation. With law offices in Ledgewood, NJ and New York City, we provide personal bankruptcy representation in New Jersey and New York.