Commonly Asked Questions about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

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Commonly Asked Questions about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Because filing chapter 13 bankruptcy is such a complicated procedure, most consumers who need to file chapter 13 bankruptcy have many questions about how they will be affected by the process.  On this page we will answer some of the most commonly asked questions about chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Is it possible for an individual to file chapter 13 bankruptcy without a lawyer?

Yes, it is possible to file bankruptcy without legal representation, though, unless you are a legal expert yourself, it is not to be advised.  Filing chapter 13 bankruptcy is an extremely complex process and if you make any mistake or omission, you risk serious financial and legal repercussions.
Will I have to give up all my assets in a chapter 13 bankruptcy?  
No, chapter 13 bankruptcy law does not require you to give up all your assets.  You may have to liquidate some assets in order to pay off part of your debts, but for the most part, your debt will be paid off over time by means of your monthly repayment plan.  In addition, chapter 13 bankruptcy law allows for a certain amount of exemptions to your filing.
Is it true that I can’t discharge all of my debts in a chapter 13 bankruptcy?
Yes, it is true that there are types of debts that will survive your bankruptcy.  These are mainly tax debts, government fines, child support and student loans.
If I file chapter 13 bankruptcy, will my creditors stop harassing me?
Yes.  Once the court notifies your creditors of your bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect that prohibits creditors from any further collection actions against a debtor.  This includes lawsuits, wage garnishing and harassing phone calls.  Creditors are allowed to object to your chapter 13 bankruptcy in the court-supervised Meeting of Trustees.
If I file chapter 13 bankruptcy, will I lose all my retirement savings?
No, in most cases, retirement savings and IRAs are considered exempt from your bankruptcy filing.  Because the exact exemptions differ from state to state, you are best advised to ask your chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer if your retirement savings will be protected.  
I filed for bankruptcy before.  Will this prevent me from fling chapter 13 bankruptcy?
This depends on which chapter you filed before, whether you received a discharge in the previous case, and how long ago this happened.  Contact your bankruptcy lawyer to examine what your options are.

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