When considering Bankruptcy, a Chapter 7 filing is a useful way to discharge of most debt and can relieve the burden of creditor collection attempts. However, many times a debtor has equity in a home or property and would like to file for Bankruptcy but not surrender their home. In these cases, a debtor can reaffirm the debt for the particular property they would like to maintain and keep making the payments, or file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy which allows the debtor to reorganize the debt into a consolidated and more manageable payment.
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy gives the debtor an opportunity to manage their debt over a period of 3 to 5 years and still maintain the rights to both exempt and non-exempt property. This is particularly useful when the debtor has a large amount of equity in the home or property. Chapter 13 also helps by reducing payments on debts that cannot be discharged by Chapter 7, such as Student Loans; additionally, Chapter 13 helps avoid wage garnishment, delays the foreclosure process on the home, protects co-signers, and allows for an overall extension on the repayment term of most debts.
However, the decision to declare Bankruptcy also comes with consequences. The disadvantages of filing Chapter 13 include:
- Credit reports will show a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy filing for 7 years
- The debtor will receive high interest rates on future credit
- The debtor will have a strict budget in place in order to ensure the reorganized debt payments
- Legal representation fees tend to be higher, plus added court costs