Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Florida: What Happens If I Can’t Afford Debt Payments?

A while back, one of our clients needed help getting his finances in order. We ended up helping him file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy Florida so that he wouldn’t have to liquidate his real estate properties. You see, a few of the properties had been in his family for a while, and he didn’t want to lose them because of their sentimental value. Since Chapter 13 isn’t a liquidation bankruptcy like Chapter 7, we were able to make sure that these properties would remain in his family for the next generation. Once he finished his debt repayment plan, his debt was gone, and he could still enjoy sharing his memories with his family.

But what would have happened if he hadn’t been able to make the required payments? It’s not uncommon for people’s financial situations to change over the course of five years. Losing a job, undergoing major surgery—these are not at all uncommon experiences for the average American.

Luckily, you have options. If you have declared Chapter 13 bankruptcy and can’t afford your payments, try these three things:

Request a Payment Suspension


If you come on hard times while you are repaying your debt under Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Florida, the first thing you should do is ask the court to suspend your payments. It’s not a permanent fix by any means—you won’t be able to suspend your payment for too long, usually only one or two months.

But maybe all you need is one or two months of respite. If you can convince the court and the trustee to agree to the suspension, you’ll get what you need. Just be aware that if you are granted the payment suspension, your remaining payments might increase slightly. If you can manage the extra burden, this might be the answer you’re looking for.

Explore Chapter 7


Fortunately, our client above never had to resort to this option. However, if you own property or assets that could relieve your burden a little and help to pay down your debt, you might want to consider whether Chapter 7 bankruptcy might be a better choice. Converting your bankruptcy from Chapter 13 to Chapter 7 is a complicated process, so be sure to talk to an attorney.

Ask for a Debt Modification


Another option that you can try if you are having trouble making your payments is to seek a debt modification through the court. Just as you have to with a suspension, you will have to prove that you need a lower monthly payment in order to get a modification. For instance, perhaps you no longer make as much money as when you filed for Chapter 13 bankruptcy Florida. Since you will be asked to submit a new budget in order to be approved, it’s important that you talk with a qualified bankruptcy lawyer before trying this option.

Bankruptcy is a complex and often intimidating process. If you’re having trouble making your payments, get in touch with the bankruptcy experts at AM Law. With us by your side at every turn, you can rest assured that you are making the right decisions.  Learn more about Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Florida.