Debt can get overwhelming and fast, and if you realize you won’t be able to meet all of your monthly obligations for an extended period, it may be time to consider a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Through a reorganization-focused payment plan, you may be able to pay off all or most of your debts within a few years and begin down the road to financial recovery.
What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy boils down to a court-approved and supervised payment plan. In this proceeding, you may have some stable and disposable monthly income to pay your debts, but you cannot manage it all independently.
Once you file, a stay is put on your debts. A “stay” means creditors can no longer contact you to attempt to collect. Essentially, things are put on pause while you sort out a payment plan. Commonly, a stay helps keep their home and vehicles. The filing may also help you refinance for more manageable payments. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which requires liquidating your unexempt assets, Chapter 13 enables you to keep all of your property.
Once an Arkansas court approves your payment plan, you must abide by that plan for the next 3-5 years. When you have completed the terms, you are discharged from liability for your debts. You’ll either pay off your debts completely or have some unsecured debt forgiven.
Like with all types of bankruptcy, there are non-dischargeable secured debts. Depending on the types of debt you accumulated before filing, you may still be responsible for secured debts post-bankruptcy, including mortgage, auto loans, and federal student loans. (It is worth noting, however, that some courts are now exercising more flexibility when it comes to declaring bankruptcy on student loan debt.)
Eligibility for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Arkansas
If you’ve previously filed for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13, you must wait a certain period before filing again. If you had debts discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you must wait at least four years before filing a new Chapter 13. If your debts were handled in a previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy, then you must wait at least two years before filing again. Since most Chapter 13 bankruptcies last three to five years, you may potentially be eligible to file again right away.
In another situation, if your previous Chapter 13 bankruptcy was dismissed because you could not complete the payment plan, you may be able to file again almost immediately. However, it would help to speak with an experienced Little Rock bankruptcy attorney to determine your actual eligibility.
Chapter 13 Debt Counseling
One of the required steps for any successful bankruptcy is to complete debt counseling.
Within the six months before a Chapter 13 filing, you must complete a federally approved credit counseling session. After you file for bankruptcy, but before your discharge, you must also complete a personal financial management course. These courses serve to provide financial literacy and training to avoid future bankruptcy issues.
If you’re considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Arkansas, it’s crucial to speak with an experienced legal team that can advise you through the process. Call Natural State Law today at (501) 916-2878 to learn more and set up a free consultation.