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Bankruptcy Basics
Bankruptcy Judges Division
Administrative Office of the United States Courts
APRIL 2006
Revised Third Edition
For cases filed on or after October 17, 2005

Contents

Introduction

The Discharge in Bankruptcy

Chapter 7. Liquidation Under the Bankruptcy Code

Chapter 13. Individual Debt Adjustment

Chapter 11. Reorganization Under the Bankruptcy Code

Chapter 12. Family Farmer Bankruptcy

Chapter 9. Municipality Bankruptcy

Chapter 15. Ancillary and Other Cross-Border Cases

SCRA. Servicemembers' Civil Relief Act

SIPA. Securities Investor Protection Act

Bankruptcy Terminology


Chapter 13
Individual Debt Adjustment

Background

A chapter 13 bankruptcy is also called a wage earner's plan. It enables individuals with regular income to develop a plan to repay all or part of their debts. Under this chapter, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. If the debtor's current monthly income is less than the applicable state median, the plan will be for three years unless the court approves a longer period "for cause."1  If the debtor's current monthly income is greater than the applicable state median, the plan generally must be for five years. In no case may a plan provide for payments over a period longer than five years. 11 U.S.C. 1322(d). During this time the law forbids creditors from starting or continuing collection efforts.

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, what may be included in chapter 13 repayment plan and how it is confirmed, making the plan work, and the special chapter 13 discharge.


Footnotes

1. The "current monthly income" received by the debtor is a defined term in the Bankruptcy Code and means the average monthly income received over the six calendar months before commencement of the bankruptcy case, including regular contributions to household expenses from nondebtors and including income from the debtor's spouse if the petition is a joint petition, but not including social security income or certain payments made because the debtor is the victim of certain crimes. 11 U.S.C. 101(10A).