Personal Finance Management and Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Keeping track of spending habits and taking steps to control your finances could make a difference in how you cope with emergencies such as income reduction. When unforeseen and overwhelming circumstances arise, you might also consider obtaining relief through a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

If you reside in Wisconsin, you’re probably spending more on bills than average households in 29 other states. Careful budgeting, however, may help avoid a crisis when the unexpected occurs. It can also help you obtain court-appointed relief if needed.

Find a System That Works

The first step is determining which expenses can be eliminated or reduced to make improvements in your income allocation. You can find resources to assist you in recreating your household budget on the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Financial Education website. Financial planning and bankruptcy topics in the UW-Madison program can be found here, and this link provides a contact list of no-fee financial educators.

Determine Your Legal Protection

If you continue to struggle with financial issues, especially if you’re facing foreclosure, you may consider Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection as your next step. When you file, the court grants an automatic stay, which may cease further actions by your creditors. You will be required to complete a Credit Counseling and Debtor Education program as part of the process. This U.S. DOJ link provides FAQs and approved counseling agencies.

Create a Repayment Plan

If your income falls below Wisconsin’s household average, the court may approve a workable three-year repayment plan. For incomes higher than the state average, the plan lasts five years. When you successfully complete the plan, the court may discharge your remaining consumer debts. If your circumstances change, you and your attorney may need to work out a new arrangement with the court.

Careful Consideration and Knowledgeable Filing Preparation

A Chapter 13 filing involves careful consideration of how you will manage your payment plan. A significant factor in the success of your bankruptcy may rest in your choice of an attorney. Learn more about how the right bankruptcy representation can make a difference by scheduling a consultation with an experienced attorney at the firm of Steinhilber Swanson LLP.