How Do I File Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?


Filing a chapter 13 bankruptcy is more complicated than filing a chapter 7.  However, I am an experienced chapter 13 attorney and can guide you through the process.  Additionally, you do not have to do any extra work when you file a chapter 13.  I take care of all the extra steps for you.

Free Initial Consultation

The free consultation is the same in both a chapter 7 and a chapter 13 case.  In fact, I usually present both options to client, so that they can make an informed decision.  This is your opportunity to ask questions, decide if bankruptcy is right for you, and if I am the right lawyer for you.

I will ask you to bring six months of pay stubs for both you and your spouse.  If you don’t have all six months of pay stubs, just bring as many as you can find.  If you are self-employed a profit and loss statement is fine.  You should also bring your most recent bank statement, your most recently filed tax return, any threatening letters from lawyers or collection agencies, and any summons and complaints that have been served on you.

We will go over your financial situation and any areas of concern that you have.    If you are contemplating a chapter 13 bankruptcy, then there are some more considerations for us to go over.  We will need to discuss whether chapter 13 is the best option for you.  A chapter 13 bankruptcy has certain advantages over a chapter 7.  We will also discuss your probable plan payment and the next steps towards filing.

If you like what you hear at the consultation, I will prepare a written fee agreement so that you understand your rights and my obligations.  You can choose either to pay in full immediately or to use a payment plan.  The payment plans are set up to be affordable and to get your case filed as soon as possible.

Preparing The Chapter 13 Petition And Plan

The bankruptcy petition is what I file with the court to start your bankruptcy.  It includes a list of your property,  a list of your debts, your income, your expenses, and your financial history.  It is important for the petition to be accurate and complete.  We will work together to complete the petition.  It can be a confusing process, but you can always call or email if you have questions.

During this time, I will prepare the chapter 13 plan.  I base the chapter 13 plan on your total income, minus all of your expenses.  Depending on the means test, you will either do a 36 month plan or a 60 month plan.

During this time, you will do your credit counseling course.  Congress requires that you do credit counseling before you file bankruptcy.  You can do it online or over the phone in less than an hour.  It is not a test.  As long as you make an honest effort to complete it, you are fine.

Filing the Chapter 13 Petition

The bankruptcy case does not start until you sign the petition and I file it.  Once the petition is complete, we will schedule a time for you to come in and sign the petition.  Once you have signed the petition, I can file it online.   Online filing is done instantaneous and is done through the bankruptcy court’s secure server.

At the signing meeting, we will review the petition for accuracy.  The objective is to always file an complete and accurate petition that does not require any amendments.  This is also your opportunity to ask any last questions about filing bankruptcy.  The chapter 13 plan is filed with the petition; and, the first plan payments are due 30 days after the petition is filed.