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Important deadlines for Chapter 13 bankruptcy

Realizing that you need to file for bankruptcy can be an overwhelming experience. You already know that you must make your initial filing and that at the end of the process your unsecured debt will be discharged, but what happens in the middle? Although it may seem complicated at first, the process for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is easy enough to follow. However, you should be aware of certain dates and deadlines that you must adhere to. 

Your path toward debt relief will usually start around six months before you actually make your filing. You must undergo credit counseling with a court-approved agency 180 days before you actually file for bankruptcy. Undergoing credit counseling as soon as you realize that you need debt relief is a good idea, as waiting can delay your ability to seek bankruptcy in a timely manner. If you plan on filing in Florida, you must be a state resident for at least 90 days prior to your filing. 

After meeting these deadlines, you can file a petition for Chapter 13. Once you file, creditors and collection agencies will have to stop seeking repayment. Any lawsuits or other collection efforts against you will also stop. If you are in the middle of a foreclosure, your filing will delay it. 

Unlike a Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 requires that you create a repayment plan that will last anywhere from three to five years. It requires court approval before it becomes effective. Any unsecured debt that is left after this time period will be successfully discharged. However, you must make your first payment on this plan 30 days after you file for bankruptcy, so you will need to begin working on your repayment system as soon as possible. 

You will still have obligations that come up anywhere from six weeks to six months after your filing, most of which are informal court meetings. At the end of Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings, you will need to undergo a final financial management course. If your current debts are overwhelming you, be sure to consult with an experienced Florida attorney who can help you adhere to any and all bankruptcy deadlines. 

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Paul Urich
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