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Can a successful Chapter 13 discharge ease debt?

In troubled economic times, virtually no one is immune to financial difficulties. Even Maryland residents who have worked hard to amass a solid base of income and assets can be at risk of serious financial strain. For many, the most sure path back to financial stability lies within the Chapter 13 discharge process. Understanding the steps that come between filing and discharge can help make it easier for individuals and families to determine if this is the appropriate solution.

Chapter 13 bankruptcy is a legal process in which a court oversees the repayment of debt. Consumers who file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy protection do not have to sell their assets in order to repay their existing debt, and in most cases will retain their assets throughout the process. It is perhaps best thought of as a debt restructuring program.

Within The initial bankruptcy filing, the consumer lists all income, assets and debt. Information is also provided concerning the cost of living expenses. Then, the court uses a formula to take all of these factors into consideration before establishing a debt repayment process. Debts are extended for a period of time, giving the debtor the ability to repay those obligations. The end result is a completely new debt structure in which the debtor is able to cover both the cost of living and debt service payments.

For those in Maryland and elsewhere who are able to adhere to the payment schedule laid out by the courts, the bankruptcy process can be completed in three to five years. At that time, a Chapter 13 discharge comes into play, and certain remaining debts are eliminated. Financial counseling is required, which can give consumers the tools required to maintain financial stability in the years to come. While Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not for everyone, it is an excellent solution for many who have amassed a high level of debt but who wish to retain their assets.

Source: investorplace.com, "Should I File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?", Jessica Whitmore, Feb. 17, 2015

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