Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney Knoxville TN
Knoxville, Tennessee Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Lawyer
Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a debt consolidation bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 all of your debts are consolidated into a monthly payment that is made to a Chapter 13 Trustee who then turns around and pays your creditors. In a Chapter 13 you propose a plan that lasts between three and five years and specifies how you are going to pay your creditors back.
Chapter 13 also stops garnishments, bank levies and harassing phone calls from creditors. Chapter 13 bankruptcy if filed quickly can stop a foreclosure on your home or can help you get a repossessed car back from the creditor as long as the vehicle has not been sold.
Your secured debt such as houses and vehicles are paid back differently that your unsecured debt such as credit cards, medical bills and personal loans. For instance, if you financed a vehicle more than two and a half years before you file a Chapter 13, then you can pay what the vehicle is worth, not what you owe on the vehicle. A debtor in bankruptcy can also propose to pay a lower interest rate to your secured creditor that what you contracted to pay. Chapter 13 bankruptcy also allows you to catch up on house or vehicle payments so you can still keep your property by avoiding foreclosure or repossession.
Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to pay part of what you owe to unsecured creditors such as credit cards and medical bills based on your disposable income or what you can afford to pay. Also, in most cases, the interest on credit cards and other unsecured debt stops. Chapter 13 bankruptcy allows you to pay taxes over time, catch up on child support or alimony and discharge some debts that would not ordinarily be discharged in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is for consumers and businesses that are not corporations.
If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you should schedule a free consultation with one of our Knoxville bankruptcy lawyers today!
Who is eligible to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?
Chapter 13 bankruptcy is for any person who has a steady source of income because a chapter 13 debtor must be able to make a monthly payment to your creditors. Income can be wages, social security, unemployment, child support and other kinds of income. To receive a discharge in a chapter 13, it must have been more than 4 years since receiving a discharge in a Chapter 7.
What to expect in a Chapter 13
When you and our attorneys make the decision that you need to file a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, we give you a list of the documents needed to prepare your bankruptcy petition. Our office will obtain a credit report to help verify all of your creditors are listed and receive notice of your bankruptcy. Our Knoxville location has extended hours from 8:00 am until 8:00 pm to make it convenient to meet with our attorneys and staff to prepare your petition. A person in Knoxville desiring to file a chapter 13 bankruptcy must take a required credit counseling class prior to filing the bankruptcy. Bond, Botes & Lawson facilitates the class to make it simple to complete this class. Most of our clients in Knoxville prefer to take this class by phone or internet as opposed to taking the class in person, however credit counseling companies offer the course at various locations in Knoxville and the surrounding area if you prefer to take the class in person. An attorney in our office will prepare your bankruptcy petition, review all documents and file them with the Bankruptcy Court.
Once your bankruptcy petition is filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, you are protected from your creditors by an automatic stay the prohibits the creditor from taking any further action to collect the debt without permission of the Bankruptcy Judge. You will attend a Meeting of Creditors in the Bankruptcy Court in Knoxville about a month after the bankruptcy is filed. Unlike some bankruptcy attorneys, you will meet with the attorney who is going to attend the Meeting of Creditors with you and the attorney will prepare you for the meeting of creditors. In a chapter 13 bankruptcy you will make payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee for a period of as short as 3 years and as long as 5 years. Once your plan is approved by the Bankruptcy Court, if there is a change in your situation such as a loss of income or an unexpected increase in expenses, it is possible to return to court to modify your plan. Upon completion of your chapter 13 plan, most vehicles are paid for and you will receive the title to your vehicle and our attorneys file a motion to declare your mortgage current. After you receive your discharge saying you do not owe your creditors anymore, our office drafts letters for you to send to the credit reporting agencies to begin the process of repairing your credit.
Role of the Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Trustee
A Chapter 13 Trustee is appointed by the U.S. Trustee in Washington, D.C. to review your bankruptcy petition and object your chapter 13 plan if the Trustee believes that the plan should not be approved by the Bankruptcy Judge. Your creditors also have the opportunity to object to your Chapter 13 plan and their treatment in the plan. In Knoxville, the Chapter 13 Trustee is the person who swears you in to testify under oath and will question you at your meeting of creditors. The Chapter 13 Trustee has a duty to review your assets to see if they are protected by Tennessee or the applicable exemption laws. The Trustee also has the duty of making sure you can afford your chapter 13 plan but also has a duty to make sure you are paying to your creditors all of your disposable income. It is the job of the Chapter 13 Trustee to receive your chapter 13 plan payments and to make sure your creditors are paid according to the plan approved by the Bankruptcy Judge. The Chapter 13 Trustee in Knoxville administers cases in the Eastern District of Tennessee which encompasses East of Sweetwater, West of Bristol, South of LaFollette and North of Athens, Tennessee.
What if you Change Your Mind After Filing a Chapter 13?
The wonderful thing about a chapter 13 is that the bankruptcy can be voluntarily dismissed at any time. Also if your situation changes and you cannot afford your chapter 13 plan payment anymore, you can convert or change your bankruptcy to a Chapter 7 as long as you have not previously filed a chapter 7 in the 8 years prior to filing the Chapter 13.
Also, if your income drops or expenses increase, but you wish to stay in your chapter 13 plan, you might be able to modify your chapter 13 plan to reduce your payment and continue forward in your chapter 13 bankruptcy.