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Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys in Allentown, Pennsylvania

Unfortunately, an emergency medical issue, job loss, or accumulating credit card bills can put you in massive debt or make it difficult to meet your financial needs. When going through financial hardship, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a promising solution to achieve debt relief. This requires proposing a feasible repayment plan to the creditor to pay back your debts using your potential earnings. 

If you are thinking about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in your area, consulting with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania bankruptcy attorney is paramount for proper guidance. At Rapa Law Office, P.C., we're committed to offering highly-personalized legal counsel and reliable advocacy to clients in bankruptcy-related matters. Our trusted attorneys can evaluate your financial situation, determine whether Chapter 13 is right for you, and help file your bankruptcy petition. 

Rapa Law Office, P.C. is proud to represent clients seeking financial relief across Allentown, Pennsylvania, and the surrounding areas, including Palmerton, Lehighton, Slatington, Walnutport, Jim Thorpe, Northampton, and Bethlehem. 

Overview of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as "wage earner's" or "repayment plan" bankruptcy, is a financial relief option available to individuals who earn a reasonable wage but have a huge debt burden.  

In addition, Chapter 13 requires the debtor or consumer to develop a feasible repayment plan—spread over three to five years—to make installment payments with their future income. However, some of your unsecured debts may be discharged at the end of the Chapter 13 repayment plan. 

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When Is Chapter 13 a Good Debt Relief Option?

Chapter 13 may be the right financial relief option if: 

  • most of your debts can't be discharged (including child support, alimony, tax obligations, and penalties and fines); 

  • you need more time to recover on past-due payments or repay your debts; 

  • you have a co-debtor on a personal or consumer debt; 

  • you have non-exempt assets that can be kept; and, 

  • you are late with your mortgage or car loan payments. 

A seasoned bankruptcy lawyer can help determine if Chapter 13 is right for you and enlighten you about how this bankruptcy option can assist you. 

What Can Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Do and NOT Do?

Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy can help you in the following ways: 

  • give you sufficient time to catch up on your debts and past-due payments 

  • allow you to keep all or most of your assets 

  • allow you to apply for new credit within a few years 

  • allow you to extend and reschedule your secured debts over your repayment plan's cycle 

  • activate an "automatic stay"—a court order that immediately stops all debt collection, wage garnishment, and creditor harassment 

  • afford you more time to pay back your debts through a repayment plan 

  • discharge some unsecured debts at the end of the repayment plan 

  • gradually rebuild your credit score over time 

  • activate an automatic stay order that prevents or delays an eviction, repossession, or foreclosure on your home. 

Chapter 13 can assist you in numerous ways, and these benefits can be life-changing. However, there are certain things that it can't do: 

  • It won't leave you with nothing. 

  • It won't relieve your domestic support obligations—child support and alimony payments. 

  • It won't wipe out your student loan debts, except in extreme situations. 

  • It won't wipe out any of your priority debts, such as criminal restitution, fines and penalties, local, state, and federal taxes, fraudulent debts, and liens. 

A practiced bankruptcy attorney can assess your financial situation and help you decide if you qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

Do You Qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

If you think Chapter 13 is the right option for you, it’s important you know if you qualify. Here are the eligibility requirements for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania: 

  • You must be up-to-date with your tax filings and payments. 

  • You must be within the debt limitations: your unsecured debts are less than $465,275, and your secured debts are less than $1,395,875 (for cases filed between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2025.) 

  • You are employed and have sufficient regular income to repay at least part of your debts. 

  • You must be filing as an individual and not as a business. 

However, debt limits for secured and unsecured debts in Chapter 13 bankruptcy often change periodically to reflect variations in the consumer price index and economic situation. In addition, you must complete some required courses before and after filing. 

The Chapter 13 Filing Process

Here are the steps involved in filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Pennsylvania: 

  1. Evaluate your unique financial situation and determine whether Chapter 13 is right for you. 

  1. Hire a bankruptcy attorney to enlighten and guide you through the process. 

  1. Complete a credit counseling course from an approved agency. 

  1. Prepare your bankruptcy petition and the proposed Chapter 13 repayment plan. 

  1. File your bankruptcy petition (including your proposed repayment plan))and submit other necessary documentation. 

  1. The bankruptcy court will appoint a trustee to oversee your bankruptcy case.  

  1. The automatic stay order will go into effect once you file your bankruptcy petition. 

  1. Make the first payment on your repayment plan. 

  1. Attend the meeting of creditors. 

  1. Attend your confirmation hearing. 

  1. File your proof of claim or object to the ones filed by the creditor. 

  1. Comply with the requirements and payments of your Chapter 13 repayment plan. 

  1. Complete a debtor education class. 

  1. Receive your bankruptcy discharge at the end of your repayment period. 

An experienced Pennsylvania Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney can walk you through every legal step involved, help prepare your repayment plan, and represent you at the confirmation hearing. 

Work With a Skilled Bankruptcy Attorney 

Filing for bankruptcy in Pennsylvania usually involves several complex procedures and legal paperwork. Determining your eligibility, completing the mandatory courses, proposing a repayment plan, and attending the meetings of creditors and confirmation hearings can make the whole process overwhelming. Therefore, when considering bankruptcy, you should speak with a highly-skilled bankruptcy attorney to explore your options and for detailed guidance. 

At Rapa Law Office, P.C., we are poised and ready to advise and guide consumers through the complexities of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Our trusted attorneys can educate you about your possible financial relief options and determine whether Chapter 13 is right for you. In addition, we can help file your petition, assist with the required documentation, and represent you in bankruptcy court. Our attorneys will work diligently to negotiate a feasible repayment with the creditor and guide you on the right path toward financial recovery.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorneys Serving Allentown, Pennsylvania

If you are considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, contact us at Rapa Law Office, P.C., today to schedule a simple consultation. Our legal team has the advocacy and comprehensive guidance you need to navigate complicated bankruptcy procedures. We proudly serve clients throughout Allentown, Palmerton, Lehighton, Slatington, Walnutport, Jim Thorpe, Northampton, and Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.