Chapter 13 Fighting For Your Rights

Fort Worth Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney

Restructuring Your Debt into Manageable Payments

About 30% of personal bankruptcies in Texas are filed under Chapter 13. Unlike Chapter 7, liquidating unexempt assets is not required in Chapter 13. Instead, debtors pay a portion of what they owe over time while keeping all their belongings.

Chapter 13 is typically used in the following situations:

  • The debtor makes too much income to qualify for Chapter 7 (fails the means test).
  • The debtor wants to protect assets that would have to be sold under Chapter 7.
  • The debtor wants to get caught up on the mortgage, equity loans, and other payments that couldn’t be discharged under Chapter 7.

Once you file for bankruptcy, an automatic stay goes into effect. All creditors must cease any collection efforts. The phone calls, emails, and letters will stop. If they do not, they are violating federal law.

Qualifying for Chapter 13 in Fort Worth

Not everyone qualifies for Chapter 13. The individual must have a regular income with less than $465,275 in unsecured debt and $1,395,875 in secured debt (effective for filings between April 1, 2022, and March 31, 2025). Secured debts are backed by property that is pledged as collateral. Unsecured debts are not backed by collateral.

Other eligibility requirements include the following:

  • The debtor is employed
  • The debtor has enough income to cover monthly payments
  • The debtor is up to date on tax filings for the previous four years
  • The debtor is an individual, not a business (although the individual can own a business)

If the person filing for Chapter 13 is married, the income and expenses of their spouse are also given to the court. Even if they are not jointly filing for bankruptcy, the court needs this information to evaluate the household’s financial status.

The following list illustrates sources of income you can use to fund your repayment plan:

  • Salary or regular wages
  • Income from gigs and part-time work
  • Commissions and bonuses
  • Child support
  • Alimony
  • Pension payments
  • Social Security benefits

Repaying Debt in a 3-to-5-Year Plan

All income, expenses, creditors, assets, and other financial information are disclosed in your bankruptcy filing. Within 14 days of the filing, the debtor proposes a repayment plan to the court. Payments are typically paid biweekly or monthly.

The plan must pay priority debt in full unless the creditor agrees to a lesser amount. Priority claims include the following:

  • Child support obligations
  • Spousal support obligations
  • Taxes owed to the government
  • Injury or death claims caused by an alcohol or drug-related motor vehicle or boat accident

Unsecured nonpriority claims do not need to be paid in full if the creditor receives as much as they would have received if the debtor’s assets were liquidated under Chapter 7.

If the court does not confirm the proposed plan, the debtor may submit a modified plan for consideration. Whether the plan should be 3 or 5 years depends on the debtor’s monthly income and the time needed to pay the required amount. Those earning less than the state’s median income usually adhere to a 3-year plan. The plan will last 5 years if the debtor makes above the state’s median income.

There are situations where someone who qualifies for the 3-year plan would still choose a payment plan that lasts for five years. Our Fort Worth bankruptcy attorneys can evaluate what is best in your specific case.

Discharge in Chapter 13

The remaining balance of any qualifying debt is discharged – erased – after the successful completion of the repayment plan.

Nonpriority unsecured debts discharged under Chapter 13 include the following:

  • Credit card balances
  • Medical bills
  • Personal loans
  • Utility bills

If circumstances change leaving the debtor unable to complete the repayment plan, they can ask the court for a “hardship discharge.” This type of discharge is generally only approved if the circumstances are beyond the debtor’s control and through no fault of their own. This discharge is also only granted when the creditor has received as much as they would have in a Chapter 7 bankruptcy and modifying the plan is not possible.

Bankruptcy Does Not Define the Person

At the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, we treat all our clients with respect and compassion. Being underwater financially is not where anyone wants to be. If you are being harassed by creditors, you do have rights. We will help you evaluate your options so you can make an informed decision about whether bankruptcy is the right solution.

Contact us today to discuss your bankruptcy options. Call (817) 497-8148 to schedule a consultation. We serve the counties of Tarrant, Parker, Johnson, Wise, Hood, Denton, Somervell, and Jack.

Meet Our Team 

Dedicated Legal Professionals
  • Mark M. Childress
  • Desiree A. Hartwigsen
  • Sarah E. Robbins
  • Konnor N. Lee
  • Laura E. Richardson
  • Melissa S. Mozingo
  • Amie M. Wilson
  • Kristie M. Falbo
  • Rick J. Mitchell
  • Kelsie Connell
  • Mark M. Childress Mark M. Childress

    Founding Attorney

    Honors & Awards Top Young Lawyers in Texas Tarrant County's Top Attorney's Top Attorneys – Fort Worth Magazine - 2008 TO ...
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  • Desiree A. Hartwigsen Desiree A. Hartwigsen

    Managing Attorney

    Desiree A. Hartwigsen grew up in Stephenville, Texas where she graduated from Tarleton State University with a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. During her time at Tarleton, Desiree studied abroad in London, England at Queen Mary’s University where she studied Comparative Criminal Justice.
    Desiree A. Hartwigsen Photo
  • Sarah E. Robbins Sarah E. Robbins

    Senior Litigator

    Sarah E. Robbins is the newest member of the team at the Law Offices of Mark M. Childress, PLLC. She was born and raised in Colorado where she graduated from the University of Colorado with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and a minor in communications. After a visit to her uncle’s law office at the age of six, Sarah decided to follow in her uncle’s footsteps and become a lawyer.
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  • Konnor N. Lee Konnor N. Lee

    Supervising Attorney

    Konnor Lee was raised in Arlington, TX and attended the University of Arkansas , where she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts ...
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  • Laura E. Richardson Laura E. Richardson

    Senior Litigator

    Raised in Westchester County, New York, by two corporate attorneys, attending law school after graduating from Dartmouth was ...
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  • Melissa S. Mozingo Melissa S. Mozingo

    Lead Litigator

    After working as a legal assistant for a year, Melissa knew she wanted to pursue a career in law. Melissa graduated from the ...
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  • Amie M. Wilson Amie M. Wilson

    Senior Paralegal

    Amie began working in family law as a receptionist in a small private practice where she was tasked with answering the telephone, corresponding with clients and court staff and handling a multitude of other administrative duties. Amie’s ability to multitask and her attention to detail lead her to be tasked with handling an overflow of paralegal work.
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  • Kristie M. Falbo Kristie M. Falbo

    Lead Litigator

    Associate Attorney Kristie M. Falbo is a Houston native who worked as a prosecutor for nine years in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania ...
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  • Rick J. Mitchell Rick J. Mitchell

    Senior Litigator

    Rick Mitchell graduated from the University of Tulsa College of Law in 2001, where he was a two-time member of the Dean’s ...
  • Kelsie Connell Kelsie Connell

    Paralegal

    Kelsie grew up in Denton, Texas where she discovered her passion with helping others through law. Kelsie began as a legal ...
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Why Choose Us for Your Family Matters?

  • Direct Access To Your Attorney

    Our Attorneys personally handle each case themselves. You will have direct access to your attorney to be able to get the answers that you need. 

  • Transparency

    Honesty and transparency are critical in building trust with your attorney. You will always know what is going on with your case every step of the way.

  • Team Oriented

    At our firm you're not just a case number, our staff will always know the status of your case and help to make your situation more manageable.

  • Personalized Approach

    Our team understands that no two cases are the same. Your strategy will be tailored specifically to you and your family's goals.

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  • Top Attorney Award winner at Attorney.com
  • Martindale-Hubbell Client Champion Award
  • Top 3 Divorce Lawyers in Fort Worth - Three Best Rated
  • Top Attorneys
  • 360 West Top Attorneys
  • Best Divorce Lawyers in Fort Worth - Expertise 2020
  • Fort Worth Texas City Magazine - Top Attorneys
  • Rated by Super Lawyers - Rising Stars
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  • Top Attorneys 2020 - Rated by 360 West Magazine
  • Best Divorce Lawyers in Fort Worth- Expertise 2021