Chapter 13

At Schenck Price, Tanya Helfand provides individuals with help filing bankruptcy in Morris, Sussex, and Essex Counties. Our bankruptcy lawyers frequently handle Chapter 13 cases for clients in towns all over northern New Jersey including Rockaway and Lake Hopatcong.

The main purpose of Chapter 13 is to give the individual debtor greater options to deal with secured and unsecured debt and encourage repayment. In a Chapter 13, a person can save non-exempt assets that would otherwise be surrendered in a Chapter 7. If a home is in arrears, and you want to keep the home, the plan must provide for curing the arrears and paying the mortgage at the same time.

Benefits of filing Chapter 13:

  • Keep non-exempt assets. Every debtor is entitled to exemptions of personal property, home, cash in the bank, personal injury awards, and automobiles up to a certain level governed by USC 522(d). If you have more than you are allowed, you can keep this property rather than lose it by paying the non-exempt amount into the Bankruptcy Court to help pay off debt
  • “Cramdown” or “strip” claims based on value of underlying collateral. So, if your house is worth $200,000, your first mortgage has $250,000 outstanding and you have a second mortgage of $50,000, now fully unsecured, this can be stripped off in a Chapter 13.
  • For individuals in business, less expensive “reorganization” than Chapter 11.
  • Actions stayed against co-signers, not stayed in Chapter 7. Normally, a co-signer is sued immediately when the primary debtor defaults. Chapter 13 prevents this.
  • Can refinance or modify during Chapter 13 motion be filed? The Bankruptcy Court now has modification proceedings in Court which are working better than in the past.
  • More effective resolution of tax debt during Chapter 13 plan. A person who owes IRS debt can set up a plan, pay principal and interest. Penalties can be eliminated.


Only an individual can file Chapter 13. Individuals must have regular income and the plan must be feasible. Secured debt (mortgages, car loans, etc.) cannot exceed $1,081,400 and unsecured debt cannot exceed $360,475. (These figures periodically change.) If your debts exceed these amounts, Tanya Helfand can assist you with a Chapter 7 or Chapter 11 bankruptcy instead.

When you have debt problems, please come in to talk to us at Schenck Price. There are often options that you have not thought about or know about to make your life easier and to have a brighter future.

Chapter 13 is completely voluntary. A debtor may convert to Chapter 7 if he/she cannot complete the 13, as long as it is in good faith and not a previously converted case.

The filing of the Chapter 13 (as well as Chapters 7 and 11) causes the automatic stay to take effect, preventing new or continuation of judicial or administrative action or enforcement of judgment, lien or collection proceedings. The filing of bankruptcy does not stay a criminal action or divorce or collection of a domestic support obligation.

Chapter 13 gives debtors excellent relief from debt collection and foreclosure. At Schenck Price, our Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney can properly evaluate your case and advise you of your options to get a fresh start.

Give Tanya Helfand of Schenck Price a call at 973-539-1000 or contact us online for a consultation.