Consolidating your loans under chapter 13

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(The Official Forms may be purchased at legal stationery stores or downloaded from the Internet at

The number of installments is limited to four, and the debtor must make the final installment no later than 120 days after filing the petition.

It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. During this time the law forbids creditors from starting or continuing collection efforts. The debtor must also file a certificate of credit counseling and a copy of any debt repayment plan developed through credit counseling; evidence of payment from employers, if any, received 60 days before filing; a statement of monthly net income and any anticipated increase in income or expenses after filing; and a record of any interest the debtor has in federal or state qualified education or tuition accounts.

Under this chapter, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. This chapter discusses six aspects of a chapter 13 proceeding: the advantages of choosing chapter 13, the chapter 13 eligibility requirements, how a chapter 13 proceeding works, making the plan work, and the special chapter 13 discharge. There are exceptions in emergency situations or where the U. trustee (or bankruptcy administrator) has determined that there are insufficient approved agencies to provide the required counseling.

DO NOT keep a credit card for “emergencies.” That could jeopardize your ability to obtain bankruptcy protection under the law, and moreover, you won’t be able to refile. Once you’ve done that, the key is to make your monthly payment as low as possible.