bankruptcy California


Chapter 13 Bankruptcy:

An Overview for Individuals and Sole Proprietors


Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a specific type of bankruptcy available to individuals (including sole proprietors) in the United States who are struggling with overwhelming debt but still have a regular source of income. It is part of the bankruptcy code outlined in Title 11 of the United States Code and is often referred to as a “wage earner’s plan” or a “reorganization bankruptcy.”

The primary goal of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is to provide debtors with a structured repayment plan, allowing them to reorganize their debts and pay them off over a period of three to five years. This process is designed to help debtors retain their assets, such as homes and vehicles, while catching up on missed payments and becoming financially stable once again.

Key aspects of Chapter 13 bankruptcy:

  • Eligibility: To qualify for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, an individual must have a regular income that exceeds their necessary living expenses. Additionally, the debtor’s unsecured debts must be below a certain limit, and their secured debts cannot exceed a specific threshold. These limits are adjusted periodically based on inflation.
  • Repayment Plan: The core of Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the creation of a repayment plan. The debtor, with the help of their bankruptcy attorney, proposes a plan to the court, outlining how they intend to repay their debts over the next three to five years. The plan must prioritize certain debts, such as priority tax obligations and secured loans like mortgages or car loans, while unsecured debts like credit cards may receive only partial payment.
  • Automatic Stay: Similar to other bankruptcy chapters, filing for Chapter 13 triggers an “automatic stay.” This legal protection prevents creditors from taking any collection actions against the debtor, including foreclosure, repossession, wage garnishment, or harassing phone calls.
  • Confirmation Hearing: Once the debtor submits their repayment plan, a confirmation hearing is held where the bankruptcy trustee and creditors can raise objections or suggest modifications. The court will review the plan for feasibility and fairness. If approved, the debtor can start making regular payments to the trustee as outlined in the plan.
  • Monthly Payments: Throughout the repayment period, the debtor makes fixed monthly payments to the appointed bankruptcy trustee, who then distributes the funds among the creditors according to the approved plan.
  • Discharge of Remaining Debts: After successfully completing the repayment plan and meeting all obligations, the debtor receives a discharge of any remaining qualifying debts. This discharge releases the debtor from personal liability for those debts and provides them with a fresh financial start.

It’s important to note that Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a complex legal process that requires careful consideration and planning. Debtors considering bankruptcy should consult with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to assess their situation, explore all available options, and determine whether Chapter 13 is the most suitable course of action for their particular circumstances.



Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers individuals facing significant financial challenges a viable path to regain control of their economic situation while retaining valuable assets and properties. Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which involves the liquidation of assets to pay off debts, Chapter 13 allows debtors to create a manageable repayment plan over three to five years. This “wage earner’s plan” enables debtors to catch up on missed payments and ultimately obtain a fresh start.

The benefits of Chapter 13 bankruptcy include the automatic stay, which provides immediate relief from creditor actions, allowing debtors some breathing room to reorganize their finances. Moreover, the structured repayment plan allows for the orderly payment of debts, with a focus on essential obligations and protection of certain assets.

While Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers significant advantages, it is crucial for individuals to approach the process with careful consideration and professional guidance. Seeking the counsel of an experienced bankruptcy attorney is essential to navigating the complexities of the legal system, ensuring the development of a feasible repayment plan, and increasing the likelihood of successfully obtaining a discharge of qualifying debts.

Ultimately, Chapter 13 bankruptcy can be a lifeline for those struggling with debt, offering an opportunity to rebuild financial stability and work towards a brighter financial future. By responsibly adhering to the terms of the repayment plan and gaining control over their finances, debtors can emerge from Chapter 13 with a renewed sense of financial freedom and the ability to move forward with greater confidence.


D Masin Consulting

D Masin Consulting LLC

Monrovia, CA 91016

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bankruptcy California

bankruptcy California