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Frequently Asked Questions About Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Queens

Understanding how Chapter 13 can help you get out from under debt

At Mark E. Cohen, Esq., I believe bankruptcies go the smoothest for clients who understand their situation and the process for climbing out of it. I strive to answer every question. The following questions are just a few of the most common ones I hear. Since each case is unique, these answers should not be a substitute for a detailed analysis of your own situation. I am happy to discuss the specifics of your case at length.

To ease the stress of overwhelming debt, call a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney in Queens

All too often, good people find themselves in financial trouble that quickly spirals out of control. For more than 30 years, I have helped people like you understand the available options, make informed decisions and navigate through the complex process of filing for bankruptcy.

Located on Old Country Road in Westbury, I offer a wide range of services to individuals and families suffering from the weight of debt. Call Mark E. Cohen, Esq. at 718-223-5492 or contact me online to schedule a free consultation.

When does filing for Chapter 13 make sense?

If you need some breathing room to pay your debts, Chapter 13 could be your best bankruptcy option, especially if you:

  • Are behind on your mortgage payments
  • Are only paying the minimum on your bills
  • Are in foreclosure on your home
  • Owe the IRS
  • Do not qualify for Chapter 7

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How do I file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy in Queens?

If filing for bankruptcy is the appropriate solution to your financial problems, it is important for you to understand how your case will proceed. Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy follow similar same steps:

  • After reviewing your documentation and situation and determining that Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the proper course for you, I prepare the bankruptcy petition and supporting documents and file the petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court.
  • After the court accepts your bankruptcy petition, your creditors are notified. A creditors’ meeting is scheduled. At this meeting, the court-appointed trustee and some or all of your creditors may question you about your debt, your assets and your financial condition. I represent you at this meeting.
  • You will be required to attend credit counseling before your bankruptcy case can be closed.
  • Once the trustee is satisfied with your repayment plan, I appear at a confirmation hearing at which a judge approves the plan. Then you will begin making payments according to your plan.

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What do I need to do to begin the Chapter 13 bankruptcy process?

Your first step is to inventory your past and present debts. You will also need a list of your assets to include in your petition in the bankruptcy filing. The petition I file with the bankruptcy court, accompanied by your filing fee, includes schedules of assets and liabilities along with a statement of your financial affairs. As a Queens Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney, I help you inventory your debts and prepare your petition to the bankruptcy court.

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If I file Chapter 13, what are my creditors’ rights and responsibilities?

When you file, you must include your proposed plan to pay all priority claims against you, including taxes, in full. Once the bankruptcy court appoints a trustee, who approves your plan, your creditors receive and have the right to accept or reject it. If approved, you make monthly payments to the bankruptcy trustee who then distributes the funds to your creditors according to your plan. At this point, your creditors must no longer bother you as long as you make the agreed-upon payments.

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What if I cannot make the payments I agreed to?

If you fall behind in payments, you essentially return to the situation you were in before filing — with creditors trying to collect and threatening to take your home, car and other assets. If that happens and if you qualify, you could file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy at this point. But that shouldn’t happen if I draft a Chapter 13 repayment plan that is feasible for you.

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