One of the things that I like about being a North Aurora bankruptcy attorney is being able to change people’s lives almost overnight. It is a great feeling to have someone come into my office who is absolutely struggling, down and out, and turn that situation into a positive one. I have seen lives transformed in a matter of days. I have seen people who have had their bank accounts frozen and who are having their wages garnished, and I have seen those situations change to the point where the person was able to live again.
Filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy is the most common chapter of the Bankruptcy Code, and 75 percent of all bankruptcy cases are Chapter 7 cases. Twenty-five percent of all bankruptcy cases are Chapter 13 bankruptcy cases where someone is agreeing to repay either all or a portion of their debt over a three-to-five-year period. The amount of the repayment plan is determined by the person’s income, their expenses, their assets, their liabilities, and their total debt. If someone has $300.00 available per month after their reasonable expenses, then the Chapter 13 trustee is going to require that that $300.00 be paid into the bankruptcy Chapter 13 plan. If $300.00 per month is able to pay off the debt or a portion of the debt over the 3-to-5-year period, then the case may be confirmed by a bankruptcy judge.
Each bankruptcy judge is different; each bankruptcy court is a little bit different; each trustee is certainly different. As an experienced bankruptcy attorney, I have the knowledge and the expertise to understand which judge you are appearing before and with which Chapter 13 trustee you are appearing before. There’s one particular Chapter 13 trustee who makes life very difficult on clients. Now, you would think that the trustee would be more than willing to work with debtors since the debtors are agreeing to repay all or a portion of their debt over time. However, some trustees, and this one in particular, takes each Chapter 13 bankruptcy case as a somewhat adversarial situation. It’s almost like a tug-of-war, where the trustee is demanding that the debtor pay a certain amount per month, and the debtor is requesting that he pay an amount less than what the trustee is asking. The trustee will scrutinize the budget and question things such as utility bills, medical expenses, transportation costs and food costs. If the trustee does not agree to recommend the case for confirmation, then the matter has to come before a confirmation hearing in front of the bankruptcy judge as part of the bankruptcy process. If the case is not confirmed by the court, then the debtor needs to make amendments to his plan; otherwise the case can be dismissed. If the case is recommended for confirmation, then the debtor can begin making the regular monthly plan payment from that day forward in that set amount provided for in the plan.
As you can see, Chapter 13 can be quite difficult to handle. For that reason, I do not recommend that you file bankruptcy yourself. The odds of success are simply too small.