Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney in Denver
A Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Denver, Colorado can be a very effective way to handle debt. The purpose of a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is to allow those who are honest, but have had a financial setback to get a fresh start by paying a portion of their debt and getting rid of (“discharging”) the remainder of their unsecured debt.
Chapter 13 has some distinct advantages over Chapter 7. First and foremost, there is no “liquidation” in Chapter 13, so generally speaking you will not be turning over assets which is a possibility in Chapter 7 (note, however, that most assets are protected, even in Chapter 7). In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy you retain your assets and propose a payment plan to the Court. If your plan is confirmed, you will then make a monthly payment for a period of usually 36-60 months. The advantage of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy over debt consolidation programs is that it is a court-approved and court-enforceable repayment plan. This means your Chapter 13 plan is binding on your creditors, as opposed to debt consolidation programs which are not enforceable against your creditors unless they all voluntarily agree to your consolidation. Another benefit of Chapter 13 is that while Chapter 7 has an income requirement in order to qualify, in Chapter 13 even individuals with above-average incomes can file a Chapter 13 in order to get their debts repaid on a more affordable basis.
Chapter 13 can also be a good way to handle tax debt. If you owe debt to the IRS or a state tax entity, you can pay the tax debt through a Chapter 13 plan. This means you can stop tax collection activities such as IRS garnishments and Colorado tax garnishments and instead force the IRS or state tax entities to accept payments through your Chapter 13 plan. You may be able to discharge some taxes in your Chapter 13 plan, and then will have 36-60 months to pay the rest of the non-discharged taxes. At the end of the plan you will have paid off your taxes, along with getting a discharge of the majority of your other unsecured debts.
The Chapter 13 process begins with a meeting with a Denver Bankruptcy lawyer. During the initial consult, we will discuss the big picture for you financially, and determine the best course of action. We will discuss both bankruptcy and non-bankruptcy options. If you choose to do a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Denver, Colorado, the next step is to establish a plan of action including when to file, and what things to do to prepare for filing so that your case goes as smoothly as possible. There are many actions that people take in normal life that can cause issues in a bankruptcy. I will advise you to help make sure you are aware of the “dos” and “don’ts” to protect your assets as much as possible and avoid getting entangled in difficult legal situations once your case is filed. Like any other area of the law, the bankruptcy code is complex. Chapter 13 is more complex than Chapter 7, and therefore, if you are considering Chapter 13, it is important to select a Denver Bankruptcy attorney who has substantial experience with Chapter 13 to make sure you can get rid of your debt, and protect your assets in the process.
Once we have planned when to file and gone over the “do’s” and “don’ts”, I will draft your Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Petition and your Chapter 13 Plan. I will then meet with you personally to review and sign the Petition and the Chapter 13 Plan. Most bankruptcy case filings range from about 50-90 pages, and then the plan itself is about 9 pages, so it is important to get them drafted correctly to avoid your case being rejected. I will then file your case with the Colorado Bankruptcy Court and ensure everything that needs to be filed is filed correctly and on time. On the date that you file your case, all collection efforts, including creditor phone calls, creditor letters, and even pending lawsuits, must immediately stop (with some very rare exceptions) because an “automatic stay” goes into effect immediately upon filing your case. The case will then proceed and any creditors may only communicate with you through your Denver Bankruptcy attorney.
You will attend a hearing called a “341 Meeting of Creditors”. I will be representing you at that hearing and will make sure that you know what to bring with you, what questions to expect and will make sure that you are otherwise prepared. A Bankruptcy “Trustee” will ask you questions and then after the hearing, I will work with the Trustee and file all additional documents necessary to get your plan confirmed. Once the court has confirmed your plan, you will continue making your monthly payments until your plan is complete. Once you have made your final payment, I will file additional documents to meet the legal requirements, and then you will receive an “Order of Discharge”, which is a federal court order telling your creditors that they can no longer attempt to collect debt from you (with some exceptions like student loans, some taxes and some other rare debts). At that point those debts are behind you and you will move on and begin building for the future.
Due to the complexity of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy it is highly recommended that you speak with a Denver, Colorado Bankruptcy Lawyer. If you believe that Chapter 13 might be right for you, please call me at 303-945-5822 and we can discuss your case in more detail.