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4 key pieces of information a bankruptcy court needs

If you're declaring Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you're trying to set up a repayment plan that basically spreads most of your debt out and makes it more affordable for you. To do this, the court needs to see four key pieces of information:

-- Your sources of income. This includes how much you make and how often you're paid. The repayment plan will then be designed to fit within your means.

-- All of the living expenses that you face. This includes only things you must pay for, like food, rent, clothing, medicine, and the like. Taxes and utilities can be included as well. The court is just trying to figure out how much of your income has to go to these things so that the repayment plan leaves you enough money to make ends meet.

-- The creditors and the total amounts that you owe. This may be spread out over three to five years, but the court has to see what the total is to determine how long you'll need to make payments to take care of it.

-- A list of your personal property. Though you don't have to liquidate a lot of your assets with Chapter 13, like you do with Chapter 7, the court still needs to know what you own to get a better idea of your financial situation.

This process may seem rather straightforward, but it can get complex and it's very important to make sure you are given a repayment plan that is fair and that works with your finances. Be sure you know all of your options and what is expected of you.

Source: US Courts, "Chapter 13 - Bankruptcy Basics," accessed Dec. 12, 2016

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