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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Law

Oakland Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer

Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to reorganize debt through a court-authorized repayment plan. Filing for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy means all harassment from bill collectors must stop and prevents foreclosure of your home and repossession of your property.

At the Law Office of Lawrence L. Szabo, we have the knowledge and the experience to take all necessary steps to help you with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our attorney and staff will work closely with you to get you through this difficult time. Contact us to set up a free initial consultation with a lawyer.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy LawAbout Chapter 13

Chapter 13 is often used by people who have fallen behind on home or car payments. It allows you to pay creditors over an extended period of time according to a plan made for you by the court. After making monthly installments over 3-5 years, all remaining debts are wiped away, or "discharged."

A Chapter 13 bankruptcy may also be able to discharge debts which a Chapter 7 bankruptcy cannot discharge. Debtors who have too much disposable income to qualify for a Chapter 7 discharge or have assets they would lose under Chapter 7 may choose instead to proceed under Chapter 13.

Not Everyone Can File

Only individuals with a regular income may use Chapter 13. There is a limit on the amount of debt you can have to be eligible for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. This is an antiquated rule, but it still applies.

Because of the inflated real estate values in Oakland, Alameda County, and Contra Costa County, some people exceed the debt limit on the value of their houses alone. However, they may be able to undergo a Chapter 11 bankruptcy instead. Our lawyer can advise you on the best type of bankruptcy for you.


Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings begin with filing a petition and schedules with the Bankruptcy Court. As soon as it is filed, a Chapter 13 automatically stops lawsuits, wage garnishments, repossessions, and foreclosures.

You are required to schedule all of your debts and all of your assets. In order to help your attorney complete the schedules, you will need to provide extensive information and documents -- see our Bankruptcy Checklist for a list of things to bring your attorney.

You are required to file a chapter 13 debt repayment plan. The plan states when and how much you will pay your creditors. You must start making your plan payments to the Chapter 13 trustee within 30 days after filing your plan. After your plan is confirmed by the court, the Chapter 13 trustee distributes your plan payments to your creditors as specified in the plan.

All debtors must attend the "meeting of creditors", which is held about 40 days after your petition is filed. At the meeting, the Chapter 13 trustee will review your schedules of assets, debts, income and expenses and will ask you basic questions about your finances and your plan. The trustee also reviews your plan to determine whether it meets the legal requirements for confirmation. Creditors may, but usually do not appear.

The Chapter 13 Debt Repayment Plan

The amount of your plan payment depends primarily upon the value of your assets, the amount of your disposable income and to some extent on the amount and type of your debt. A Chapter 13 debtor must work closely with his or her lawyer to formulate a plan which meets all legal requirements and is consistent with the debtor's abilities and goals.

A plan must pay most tax claims in full. Chapter 13 plans can also restructure car loans and other secured debts. A plan can also pay mortgage arrears over an extended period of time.

The Chapter 13 trustee or an unsecured creditor can object to your plan if it does not propose to pay all of your projected "disposable income" for at least 36 months. Disposable income is defined as all income in excess of your and your dependents' reasonable living expenses.

A plan which meets all legal requirements is "confirmed" by the bankruptcy court. A confirmed plan is binding on all listed creditors. You must continue to make your plan payments after your plan is confirmed. Failure to make your plan payments may result in the dismissal of your case. If your financial circumstances change (for better or for worse) during the life of your plan, your plan may be modified. You also may dismiss your case or convert your case to Chapter 7.

Chapter 13 Discharge

You are entitled to a discharge upon making all of your plan's required payments. All debts provided for by your plan are discharged except alimony, child support, student loans and criminal restitution debts. Certain long term obligations (e.g., home mortgage debt) are also not discharged.

Read more on our Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Information Center.

Contact Us

If you have any questions about Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or would like to speak with an experienced lawyer, contact us any time for a free initial consultation. Our office is wheelchair accessible.

We are a debt relief agency. We help people file for bankruptcy relief under the Bankruptcy Code.

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LLS | The Law Office of Lawrence L. Szabo

Lawrence L. Szabo
3608 Grand Ave. STE 1
Oakland, California 94610
Phone- 510-922-0565
Fax- 510-834-9220