Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Filing for bankruptcy due to financial challenges can be stressful. It's easy to feel overwhelmed and isolated, thinking that it's a mark of personal failure. However, bankruptcy is instead a useful legal tool that is designed to help those struggling with overwhelming debt, providing them with a way to repay or legally discharge all or part of their debts. 

The decision to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy should be approached with a clear understanding of its implications and benefits. This is where we come in. At Hoke Law Firm, our experienced bankruptcy attorney will guide you through the bankruptcy process, help you make informed decisions, and work with you to set up a repayment plan that best fits your unique circumstances. 

If you or a loved one is dealing with unmanageable debt, reach out to us to schedule a free consultation. Located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, we proudly serve clients throughout the neighboring areas of New Orleans and Lafayette. 

Our Commitment to You

When it comes to dealing with personal financial matters, we understand that each of our clients has a distinct set of circumstances and concerns. That's why we start our process by listening to you and constructing a personalized approach that puts your needs at the forefront.  

From the moment you step into our offices, you're not just another case number – you're a person who deserves support and respect. Therefore, we promise to: 

  • Provide honest and practical advice tailored to your case. 

  • Guide you through the process of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

  • Work to safeguard your interests and assets. 

  • Advocate for your long-term financial well-being and stability. 

With a strong reputation for excellence in personal financial law and an understanding of the unique challenges facing Louisianans, we're committed to helping you surmount your financial difficulties and achieve peace of mind. 

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What Is Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as the "wage earner's plan," allows individuals with a regular income to develop a plan to pay off all or part of their debts. Under this chapter, debtors propose a repayment plan to make installments to creditors over three to five years. While filing for Chapter 13 might sound overwhelming, it’s designed to be a structured and manageable way to relieve otherwise unmanageable debt.  

What Does Chapter 13 Do?

Unlike Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which liquidates your assets to pay off debts, Chapter 13 focuses on reorganization. It allows you to keep your property and assets, including your home and car, while proposing a feasible repayment plan to your creditors. This plan is based on your income, living expenses, and debt levels, thereby offering a customized solution that fits your financial situation. Some of the benefits of Chapter 13 include: 

  • Stops Foreclosure Proceedings: Immediately upon filing, Chapter 13 halts any ongoing foreclosure processes, allowing you to catch up on missed mortgage payments. 

  • Consolidates Debts: It combines various debts into a single repayment plan, making it easier to manage your finances and avoid the hassle of dealing with multiple creditors. 

  • Puts a Hold on Collection Activities: Once you file for Chapter 13, creditors are required to stop all collection activities, including calls, letters, and any legal actions to collect debts. 

  • Improves Credit Over Time: While a Chapter 13 bankruptcy will remain on your credit report for seven years, making regular payments can help improve your credit score throughout your repayment plan. 

  • Discharges Remaining Unsecured Debts: After completing the repayment plan, most of your remaining unsecured debts (credit cards, medical bills, etc.) will be discharged. 

What Does Chapter 13 Not Do?

While Chapter 13 bankruptcy offers significant advantages for those struggling with debt, it's also crucial to recognize its limitations. Understanding these limitations can help you set realistic expectations and make an informed decision about whether Chapter 13 bankruptcy aligns with your financial recovery goals: 

  • Does Not Discharge All Types of Debts: Certain debts, such as alimony, child support, most student loans, and some taxes, cannot be discharged through Chapter 13 bankruptcy. 

  • Requires Steady Income: Chapter 13 requires the debtor to make consistent payments throughout the repayment plan. If you cannot prove a reliable income source, Chapter 13 may not be viable for you. 

  • Limited Impact on Secured Debts: For secured debts, such as a mortgage or car loan, Chapter 13 can help you catch up on payments but won't eliminate your obligation to pay if you wish to retain the collateral. 

  • Does Not Protect Co-Signers: If you have debts that are co-signed or guaranteed by another individual, creditors are still legally allowed to pursue them for payment. 

  • Credit Limitations During the Repayment Plan: Obtaining new credit requires approval from the bankruptcy court. This can limit your ability to take out new loans or open new credit lines during the plan's term. 

At Hoke Law Firm, we provide you with a comprehensive understanding of both the powers and limitations of Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Together, we'll help you craft a repayment plan that not only complies with the federal and state requirements but also aligns with your long-term financial goals.  

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy vs. Chapter 7 Bankruptcy

One common question we receive is whether Chapter 13 or Chapter 7 bankruptcy is a better route. Determining the best option largely depends on the nature of your debts and your ability to make regular payments.  

Often regarded as 'straight' bankruptcy, Chapter 7 involves the liquidation of your non-exempt assets and a discharge of your debts, usually in a much shorter time frame. However, not all debts can be discharged under Chapter 7, such as certain types of tax debts, alimony and child support obligations, debts arising from willful and malicious injuries to another person or property, and most student loans. Additionally, debts for personal injury or death caused by driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs are also non-dischargeable.  

On the other hand, Chapter 13 offers a structured approach, allowing you to create a repayment plan and keep your property. Additionally, it can address certain debts that Chapter 7 may not discharge, allowing you to consolidate all or most of them into regularly scheduled payments. Chapter 13 tends to be more suitable for individuals with a regular source of income, while Chapter 7 is typically for those with limited income and few assets. 

Ultimately, the right choice depends on your financial circumstances. Our dedicated legal team can help you evaluate your situation and guide you toward the best possible course of action. 

How a Bankruptcy Lawyer Can Help

Dealing with bankruptcy can be challenging, with potential consequences that can impact your life and financial security. Engaging the services of an experienced bankruptcy attorney can significantly improve your case. A practiced attorney can: 

  • Guide you through the nuances of Chapter 13 rules and regulations 

  • Advise you on the best course of action to protect your assets and settle your debts 

  • Provide representation at bankruptcy court proceedings 

  • Prepare you for Chapter 13 trustee meetings and possible creditor challenges 

  • Offer practical strategies for your life after bankruptcy 

With the right legal counsel, you can approach your Chapter 13 proceedings with confidence and clarity, knowing that you have a professional on your side who is ready to champion your interests.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney in Baton Rouge, Louisiana

If you’re considering Chapter 13 bankruptcy, our dedicated bankruptcy attorney at Hoke Law Firm can discuss your financial standing, assess your eligibility, and help you decide on the best path forward. Don't let overwhelming debt control your life; contact us to schedule a free consultation. We serve clients throughout Louisiana, including New Orleans and Lafayette, and are ready to assist you with your Chapter 13 bankruptcy needs.