How Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Can Help Alleviate Financial Stress

Bankruptcy Lawyer St. PetersburgThe decision to file for bankruptcy can overwhelm anyone. Not only are you dealing with aggressive creditors and possible legal action, but you’re also trying to make the right financial decisions for you and your family’s future. In the thick of things, bankruptcy can feel like yet another impossible mountain to climb. However, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can actually help relieve your financial stress and reduce your anxiety.

Halt the Collection Process with Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

The biggest benefit of filing for bankruptcy is that your creditors are legally prohibited from pursuing you once you file, provided that you comply with the court’s requirements. This means that your creditors have to stop calling you and it puts any pending legal action (primarily lawsuits or garnishments) on hold.

Repay What You Owe 

Contrary to popular belief, most people who file for bankruptcy actually want to pay their debts. The problem is that they can’t, especially once the interest, late fees, and other penalties start to accrue. By filing for bankruptcy, you can stop those debts from growing, and work out a plan to repay your debts. Chapter 13 bankruptcy provides a viable, realistic plan for repaying your debts. Once they complete the payment plan, many people feel a deep sense of satisfaction. That’s from knowing that they have honored their obligations.

Reduce Your Payments

When you file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the court will want you to disclose all the debts you have, your monthly income, and any other financial obligations. Working with your attorney and the bankruptcy trustee, you will then propose a payment plan. Part of this process may include reducing your creditors’ claims against you. The ultimate objective of the plan is to repay your debts on terms that you can afford. You can take as long as five years to make payment in full. As a result, you will have much lower monthly payments than you have now.

Reduce the Number of People You Have to Pay

The Chapter 13 payment plan does not require you to negotiate with and then pay each of your creditors individually. Once the court approves the payment plan, you will then make your payments to the court. The court will then disburse payments to those creditors according to your payment plan. In the end, you wind up writing far fewer checks. That means that you don’t have to stay on top of multiple payment plans. As long as you stay current on your payments into the court.

Keep Your Property

Another benefit of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that you may keep your property, such as your house and your car. You will need to keep up with your payments and comply with the court’s requirements. If you do, you won’t lose these assets to repossession or foreclosure.


In addition to the Chapter 13 payment plan, the other objective of filing for bankruptcy is to obtain a discharge of your debts. If your creditors were properly notified of your bankruptcy, you are no longer personally liable for the debts that arose before you filed for bankruptcy.

Contact a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Attorney to Discuss Your Options

If you are facing multiple collection actions and considering filing for bankruptcy, an experienced bankruptcy attorney can help you understand your options. To schedule a free consultation with one of the lawyers at Berkowitz & Myer, call us at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

What Should Do if You Can’t Make Your Chapter 13 Payment?

chapter 13 paymentFiling for bankruptcy is a stressful process that directly impacts the lives of those who file. When you file for chapter 13 bankruptcy, you state that you, using your regular income, will follow chapter 13 payment plan to repay all or a part of your debts over three to five years. Chapter 13 bankruptcy filings are particularly attractive because filers may save their homes from foreclosure.

Filers are required to follow a chapter 13 repayment plan. By failing to remain up-to-date on your repayment plan, you run the risk of having your bankruptcy case dismissed by a trustee or creditor. Options exist for you to avoid negative consequences should you become aware that you will be unable to make a chapter 13 payment.

Work With Your Bankruptcy Trustee

You will be assigned a bankruptcy trustee in a chapter 13 bankruptcy case. The trustee will collect your timely payments and distribute them to the appropriate creditors. Your bankruptcy works as an intermediary between you and your creditors. It is advisable to inform your trustee that you will be unable to make a payment. The trustee may work with you in an informal capacity, especially if the reason for your missed payment is temporary or the result of an unforeseen financial emergency, such as the unexpected loss of a job. By informing their trustees, debtors may avoid the dismissal of their case, and debtors may be able to get caught up over the course of the following months.

Consider Modifying Your Chapter 13 payment Plan

Chapter 13 repayment plans may be modified. It is not always possible to follow a repayment plan as originally designed. Modifying a repayment plan may provide relief for debtors facing a sudden financial emergency such as a loss of employment. A debtor can petition the bankruptcy court to modify his or her repayment plan. The petition must delineate the change in circumstances. Requiring the modification as well as those specific changes the debtor wishes to make. The court will review the petition, applying the appropriate tests to determine whether a modification is appropriate.

Obtain a Hardship Discharge

Eligible debtors may receive a hardship discharge. In the event that a hardship discharge is granted, a debtor shall be relieved of his or her remaining payments. A court determines whether a hardship discharge is appropriate after reviewing the debtor’s financial situation and analyzing the best interests of the parties. It is important to note that certain debts may not be discharged. You should speak with an experienced attorney who can better explain the effect of your hardship discharge.

Perhaps bankruptcy isn’t right for you. Although filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy can provide financial relief and stability, your inability to continue making required payments may provide you with no benefit. Thus, debtors may consider dismissing their bankruptcy case and refiling.

Contact Us Today to Speak with a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Attorney

Alternatives exist should you be unable to make your chapter 13 payment. However, you should avoid navigating the complex options available alone. Our skilled and experienced bankruptcy attorneys at Berkowitz & Myer are committed to providing you with the legal counsel you require when faced with the complexities of chapter 13 bankruptcy. Schedule your initial consultation by calling us at (727) 344-0123 or by contacting us through our online contact form.

Four Chapter 13 Myths Debunked

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney | St. Petersburg | Berkowitz & MyerMany people are under the mistaken impression that filing for any type of bankruptcy basically constitutes financial ruin. This is certainly NOT the case, and thousands of people file every year—and are often significantly better off than they were prior to filing. Here is the truth about 4 persistent myths about Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Everyone Who Files for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Is Financially Irresponsible

Sadly, many people think that people who file for bankruptcy have somehow been financially irresponsible. This could not be further from the truth. Individuals file for chapter 13 bankruptcy for a variety of different reasons. An individual’s debts can spiral out of control for many reasons. Unexpected medical expenses or sudden and drastic change income are some. Because chapter 13 bankruptcy is designed to organize one’s debts in a manner that facilitates repayment over time, this option could be considered much more financially responsible than trying to pay debts that you can’t afford!

Individuals filing for chapter 13 bankruptcy develop a repayment plan. This plan is developed as the parties calculate a number of regular payments. Accumulated over a period of three to five years, in which the debtor can repay his or her outstanding debts. Thus, a debtor takes control of his or her finances and makes regular payments in order to repay his or her debts.

Your Payment Will Be Financially Difficult

A repayment plan, under chapter 13 bankruptcy, is designed in a way so that a debtor can meet his or her repayment obligations taking his or her income into consideration. When preparing a repayment plan, the parties evaluate the debtor’s overall outstanding debts. Also evaluating his or her current and steady income, and the availability of exemptions to reduce overall debt obligations.

A change to a debtor’s financial situation is manageable. Although debtors have a legal obligation to make timely payments under their repayment plan, it is understood that one’s financial situation may change. Debtors may lose their jobs or suffer an emergency which impacts their finances. Should this occur, a debtor need not fear that his or her case will be dismissed. In fact, many courts and bankruptcy trustees recognize that these events do occur. In the event that a debtor’s financial situation changes, alternatives for repaying those obligations in arrears can be made available to financially-troubled debtors.

You Will Never Get Credit Again

Many individuals are worried that, should they file for bankruptcy, they will be unable to secure a line of credit in the future. This is simply not true. Yes, credit does impact an individual’s credit in the short term. Many people who file for bankruptcy are able to obtain credit within a few months or years of filing. Furthermore, notice of a bankruptcy will remain on one’s credit for a maximum of 10 years. After, the individual’s credit report will be wiped clean of any bankruptcy.

Filing Without a Lawyer Is Easy

Filing for bankruptcy without a lawyer is permitted. Filing without an attorney is known as filing pro se. However, while filing for bankruptcy without a lawyer is possible, it will not always be done well. Instead, a debtor may find it difficult to prepare all of the necessary documents, identify potential exemptions, or even understand whether or not he or she qualifies for certain bankruptcy exceptions.

Call Us Today to Speak to a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Attorney

Here at Berkowitz & Myer, we are determined to help you in this difficult time. We will evaluate your property and help you prepare. Execute the chapter 13 bankruptcy filing that best suits your situation. Schedule your initial consultation by calling our office today at (727) 344-0123 or sending us an email through our online contact form.

Chapter 13 Terminology—Who’s Who in Bankruptcy?

Bankruptcy Attorney St. Petersburg

If you’re reading about bankruptcy online, there’s a good chance that you’re coming across a lot of terminology that’s new or unfamiliar. In particular, you may be coming across the names of various parties that are involved in bankruptcy and be confused as to exactly who they are. Below is some basic information about the main players in a bankruptcy case and their role. For more information, please call our office today to schedule a free consultation with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in St. Petersburg.

The Debtor

The debtor is the person filing for bankruptcy (the person who owes debts). In Chapter 13, the debtor is always an individual (businesses cannot file for bankruptcy) and is seeking to restructure his or her personal debts. Married couples are able to file for Chapter 13, jointly, however, and will be referred to collectively as “debtors.”


In a bankruptcy case, creditors are the parties to whom debts are owed. Common examples of creditors listed in a Chapter 13 case include credit card companies, healthcare providers, mortgage lenders, utility companies, and banks.

Bankruptcy Trustee

In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the trustee is the individual who is assigned by the court to administer your case. Some of the responsibilities of the trustee include the following:

  • Look at your proposed repayment plan and determine whether it complies with the requirements set forth in the United States Bankruptcy Code.
  • Review any claims made by creditors and object to any that lack sufficient documentation or are improperly made.
  • Conduct the meeting of creditors, which you are required to attend. At this meeting, you will be placed under oath and asked questions regarding your assets, income, or other relevant information.
  • Receive bankruptcy plan payments and distribute them amongst creditors

U.S. Bankruptcy Court

Bankruptcies are filed in specialized federal courts known as United States Bankruptcy Courts. These courts only hear bankruptcy cases and have jurisdiction over your case from the moment it is filed to its conclusion.

Your Bankruptcy Attorney

Finally, if you are filing for bankruptcy, it is highly advisable that you do so with the assistance of an experienced lawyer. In fact, on the United States Courts official website, it states that “[i]ndividuals can file bankruptcy without an attorney, which is called filing pro se. However, seeking the advice of a qualified attorney is strongly recommended because bankruptcy has long-term financial and legal outcomes.”

An attorney can review your financial situation, collect any necessary paperwork, prepare the documents that you need to file with the court, represent you at the meeting of creditors, and generally protect your rights along every step of the way.

Call Berkowitz & Myer Today to Schedule a Free Case Evaluation

Financial problems can often be alleviated through Chapter 13 bankruptcy—particularly when you have regular income but have fallen behind on your payments. The lawyers of Berkowitz & Myer will review your financial situation at no cost to you and let you know whether we believe that you could benefit from pursuing bankruptcy. To schedule an appointment with one of our lawyers, call Berkowitz & Myer today at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

The Pros and Cons of Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Bankruptcy Attorney St. Petersburg

There are many misconceptions about bankruptcy. Some people are worried that filing means that they have failed in life and that they will be left penniless and unable to ever secure financing or a loan again. On the other hand, others fail to recognize that bankruptcy is a major decision and file without considering the fact that doing so will likely affect them for years to come.

Chapter 13 one type of bankruptcy that is often utilized by people who earn a steady paycheck but have fallen being on their bills. Here are some of the advantages and disadvantages associated with Chapter 13 bankruptcy. For more information, call our office today to speak with a St. Petersburg bankruptcy lawyer.

Chapter 13: The Upsides

One of the main benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy (as opposed to a Chapter 7 bankruptcy) is that it allows debtors to keep their assets. In Chapter 13, you enter into a court-approved payment plan that allows you to pay all or some of your debts over the course of three to five years. Homeowners can wrap any mortgage arrears into their payment plan, meaning as long as they stay current on their mortgage during the course of the plan, they will be able to stay in their home. In addition, at the conclusion of a Chapter 13 plan, most (if not all) of a debtor’s remaining debts will be discharged, which means that they are under no obligation to pay them.

Chapter 13: The Downsides

Filing for any bankruptcy is not without cost. The fact that you filed will remain on your credit report for years and negatively affect your credit score, making it more difficult to obtain financing and increase your interest rates if you do. In addition, filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy may make it more difficult to get a job, as employers who run credit checks may see a bankruptcy as a sign of irresponsibility. In addition, in some cases, filing for Chapter 7 may be able to eliminate more debt than filing for Chapter 13.

So, Should You File for Chapter 13?

The decision to file for Chapter 13 is should be carefully considered. Some of the factors that can determine whether Chapter 13 is right for you to include your total debt load, the types of debt you have, your income, and the kinds of assets that you have. The best way to determine whether it is right for you is to consult with an attorney who is familiar with bankruptcy law and will explore all of the options available to you.

Call Berkowitz & Myer Today to Speak to a St. Petersburg Bankruptcy Lawyer

The lawyers of Berkowitz & Myer will review your financial situation at no cost and let you know whether we believe that filing for bankruptcy would benefit you. To schedule a consultation with a bankruptcy attorney in St. Petersburg, call our office today at (727) 344-0123 or send us an email through our online contact form.

no-cost consultation: (727) 344-0123