What Is A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Raleigh, NC?
In a Chapter 13
In Chapter 13, you must pay back Creditors within five years in full or in part to the best of your ability, and you must pay as much as Chapter 7 would have paid if there had been a liquidation. Any Chapter 13 must always pay back at least as much as a Chapter 7 would have, regardless of the state in which you live. By this, we mean if your house would have been sold in Chapter 7 and would have paid back $20,000 to your unsecured creditors, your Chapter 13 must repay at least $20,000 to your unsecured creditors. Each local district has its own rules.
Chapter 13 plans operate very much like bill consolidation loans,
in that debts are consolidated into one monthly payment that is paid to a Trustee. The Trustee then pays the Creditors. Certain debts such as attorney fees are given priority and are paid first. Then taxes and child support are given priority and are paid before the secured debts. After priority debts, secured debts are paid. The last debts to be paid are unsecured debts.
A Trustee is an attorney appointed by the Court.
He is not a judge, although he runs the 341 hearing in both Chapter 7 and 13 cases and will ask questions at the 341 hearing like a judge. The trustee does not work for you. He represents the banks and the Creditors that you owe. The Trustee’s major job is to take property from you if he can. This is how he earns his fees. Although you are required to tell the truth at the hearing, this is not the time to brag about how much your property is worth if it is worthless.
Secured claims are handled in one of two ways in chapter 13:
- The first, which we call the ” catch-up and maintenance” method, is where your past due payments on secured debts are paid from your monthly bankruptcy plan payments, and payments that come due after filing bankruptcy are paid directly to the creditor (“outside the plan”) or to the trustee, who then pays the secured creditor (“inside the plan”). When the Chapter 13 has been terminated, you are still obligated to make any payments remaining due on the secured debts.
- We call the other method the “cram-down ” method. This method is used when either the collateral is worth less than the amount of the debt, or when the number of payments left on a debt is less than the length of the plan. The following examples illustrate the “cram-down” method. In it, you can pay what the collateral is worth (not what you owe on it), stretch out the payments from 36 to 60 months, and pay a reduced interest rate. If you have a second mortgage with no equity to cover it, you can completely eliminate it. To qualify for a “cram-down” you have to have paid the purchase money for a car 910 days before filing bankruptcy, and for other property, you must have made the first payment at least a year before filing bankruptcy.