Tips for Completing a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Morris County Bankruptcy Attorney Ast & Schmidt Discusses the Tony Mack Case

After a series of financial struggles and over half a million dollars’ worth of mortgages and debt, Trenton Mayor Tony Mack filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in early 2013. However, only a few months later, a federal judge dismissed the case after Mack neglected deadlines and missed a hearing in court, which terminated his bankruptcy claim. Mack may have also failed to disclose some of his property in his bankruptcy claim.

Though Mack has endured a number of financial troubles and public criticisms, his failure to complete a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not exceptional. The Chapter 13 repayment plan typically lasts between three and five years, and many of those who file for this type of bankruptcy fail to complete the process.

How Can I get Through a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 is a long commitment, but the benefits of successful completion of a Chapter 13 are worth the effort. Follow these tips should help you emerge from the plan free of debt:

  • Be thorough, open and honest when filling out paperwork. The Chapter 13 process begins with filing the claim. If you include inaccurate information, you may face steep penalties or your case may be dismissed. Organize all of your paystubs, tax returns and other financial information, and make sure that your paperwork is correct. Disclose all necessary information; do not omit anything that could be relevant to the claim. Continue to keep up with your financial records throughout the plan. A bankruptcy attorney can make sure your paperwork is correct.
  • Remain in contact and keep up with the state of your bankruptcy. You may receive mail from your attorney, a trustee, bankruptcy court or other party that affects your bankruptcy. Do not ignore these, and maintain all of these documents for later reference. Do not miss court hearings.
  • Inform your attorney of any significant changes to your income or budget. A lot can happen in three to five years. You may have major changes to your income, you may have another child born, you may get divorced, you may be laid off, you may have a medical emergency. All of these situations and more can affect your Chapter 13 payment plan. Keep your attorney informed of any major changes before they cause a problem with your bankruptcy case.
  • Live within your means. Chapter 13 requires that you pay your disposable income into your plan. If your budget will not reasonably allow you to pay off a Chapter 13 plan, you may want to consider alternatives to bankruptcy. You may also be able to adjust any discretionary spending so you can afford the minimum payments for Chapter 13.

How Do I File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

If you are considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy as a method to alleviate debt, talk to our Morris County bankruptcy attorneys. We have allowed many individuals in desperate financial situations to overcome their debt. Call us at (973) 984-1300 for attorney advice about bankruptcy.

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