As with any other bankruptcy option, Chapter 13 has its advantages and disadvantages, and you must carefully assess how they apply to your situation in order to maximize Chapter 13's benefits.
The primary difference between Chapter 13 and Chapter 7 bankruptcy is that you must continue to satisfy your financial obligations, such as back taxes and child support payments. If you file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you can be free of debts, but you will also forfeit your assets. However, if you would prefer to keep your property and other non-expendable assets, you should choose a Chapter 13 repayment plan, which allows you to honor your outstanding debts.
In addition, you may be able to negotiate a repayment plan for your back taxes that waives the penalties. Payment plans can also prevent creditors from harassing friends and family members who cosigned your loans, as they are now assured of receiving their money within a specified time frame. In addition, your debt may be substantially reduced when you draft the plan as part of Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceedings.
The disadvantage of this plan is that, unless your income increases, you will likely be on a strict budget for the next three to five years, the duration of your payment plan. This is a legal requirement, as the plan is the consequence of a Chapter 13 bankruptcy filing. Consequently, any unanticipated funds will likely be used to pay off debt.
Other disadvantages include the need for court approval to assume new liabilities and the loss of bankruptcy protection if you fail to make payments. It is a well-established fact that only about one-third of Chapter 13 bankruptcy repayment arrangements are successful.
As with any other financial decision, you must meticulously plan your finances in Chapter 13 bankruptcy with the assistance of a professional in order to discharge your financial obligations and become debt-free once more.""
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