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What can I expect in my Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

If you haven't been paying your credit card bills on time, you might feel guilty about it, or you might just be feeling the financial burn of what's happening to your debt levels. Things are probably getting so out of control that you can't even think about the prospect of ever paying your bills off because it's just not possible with your income levels.

Whatever you do, try not to feel guilty about whatever situation you're in. Every bankruptcy lawyer will tell you: There are a lot more Americans in your exact same situation than your probably realize. Rather than feeling guilty, it's important to stay focused on the solution.

If you have a good job with a dependable income, you might qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 allows you to keep all of your possessions -- there won't be a big bankruptcy liquidation sale of your assets in Chapter 13. What will happen is a re-organization of your debt. There will be a meeting of creditors called the "341 meeting," in which the court-appointed bankruptcy trustee will ask you various questions about your assets, liabilities and income levels. Within 15 days of this meeting, you will submit a formal bankruptcy payoff plan, which involves the redirection of your disposable income to paying off your debts.

In basic terms, your bankruptcy plan will involve monthly payments. As long as you make these payments on time, once the three- to five-year term of your plan has concluded, any remaining debts covered by the bankruptcy will be resolved. The best part about this process is that your monthly payments will actually be affordable.

If you need help determining if bankruptcy is right for you, be sure to educate yourself on the laws, rules and regulations that govern a bankruptcy filing. Most importantly, act as soon as possible so that you can stop incurring further interest and fees and prevent your debts from getting worse.

Source: FindLaw, "What to Expect When Filing for Bankruptcy," accessed Dec. 22, 2017

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