Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases are much more involved than Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases. For one thing, your case must be confirmed. I know as a Blue Island bankruptcy attorney that oftentimes, on the first court date for the confirmation hearing, the plan is not confirmed. Very often it is put over to another date for the debtor’s attorney to make amendments on behalf of the debtor. Typically on the second or third confirmation hearing date, the judge will approve the plan as recommended by the Chapter 13 trustee.
From that date forward, once the Chapter 13 plan is confirmed, the case is what I call “solid.” What I mean by that is if the debtor continues to make their regular monthly payment to the Chapter 13 trustee, the case will complete at the end of the plan payment, which is typically anywhere from 36 to 60 months. The amount of the monthly payment is determined by the income and the expenses and of course the amount of debt that the debtor has. These are the bankruptcy facts that all of the parties must takes notice of and work with.
The plan payment is typically deducted out of a debtor’s income from employment. What I’m referring to is a “payroll control order.” Most debtors do not like to have the Chapter 13 trustee payment be paid out of their monthly or weekly paycheck; over my 20 years of being a bankruptcy attorney handling Chapter 13 cases, I have found that the best odds of success is when the monthly trustee payment is being decided out of the debtor’s wages. In many cases, a payroll control order is not possible because the debtor does not have wages. The debtor may be on Social Security. The debtor may have rental income. The debtor may have any other kind of income such as a pension, profit sharing or retirement account that does not allow for payroll control deduction. However, if the debtor is working and is employed, I demand and require that the debtor go on payroll control. As long as the debtor is on payroll control and as long as the debtor can stay employed, one aspect of the bankruptcy Chapter 13 case will be satisfied. What I mean by that is the Chapter 13 plan payment will consistently be made as long as the debtor continues to be employed.
Since Chapter 13 is a very complex case, I would not recommend that you try to file bankruptcy without the advice and assistance of local counsel. In the past, this attempt may have been possible. Today, under the current laws, it is not a wise choice to go it alone. I would only file through counsel and I would make sure that you are dealing with a Chapter 13 bankruptcy lawyer who has years of experience working the bankruptcy field.