Immigration, bankruptcy and foreclosure issues

Offices: Fort Lauderdale – Orlando – Jacksonville

Chapter 13: Bankruptcy

Individual Reorganization Attorneys serving Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Weston, Orlando and surrounding areas

Chapter 13 Personal Bankruptcy Lawyers

If you are struggling to keep up with credit cards and other monthly payment obligations, find yourself with seemingly unmanageable debt, and are looking for a solution, chapter 13 bankruptcy may be right for you. We invite you to contact us for a free case evaluation. At Szabo Law Group we understand that each case is different and take the time to understand your personal financial situation and inform you on what options are available.

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a popular option for individuals that have the means to pay their bills but have recently fallen behind due to, illness, injury, loss of job, divorce, or any number of other reasons and need assistance from the bankruptcy courts to get back on track. Chapter 13 individual reorganization gives the filer the opportunity to pay back all (or part) of their debts over the course of 3 to 5 years with one manageable monthly payment. The Payment is payed to the court trustee that will intern pay your creditors.

Why Chapter 13 Bankruptcy may be right for you
  • Chapter 13 will allow you to protect assets that you otherwise could not under Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Unlike Chapter 7 Bankruptcy, Chapter 13 does not require a “means test”. Individuals that do not qualify for Chapter 7 may still qualify for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy
  • Chapter 13 gives homeowners more time to catch up on mortgage payments.
  • Some tax debts can be discharged through Chapter 13 bankruptcy that could not be otherwise discharged by a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.
  • Individuals that filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy within the past eight years are not eligible to file for Chapter 7 but may be eligible to file Chapter 13 bankruptcy.


Deciding which bankruptcy is right for you is an important decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Allow us Szabo Law group to walk you through this process. Aron Szabo personally meets with every client and spends time listening and understanding your particular circumstance. Szabo Law Group will take the time to review your particular financial circumstance and provide a solution either through Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 bankruptcy, or another form of resolution. To schedule consultation contact the Szabo Law Group today at (954)210-6054.

Frequently Asked Questions

Chapter 13

Can a Bankruptcy wipe out a judgment I have against me?

Most likely. It depends on the type of judgment entered against the Debtor and the assets that secure the judgment if a certified copy has been recorded. Yes, you can wipe out or reorganize most credit cards and medical bills.

Can a Bankruptcy wipe out taxes I owe to the IRS?

It depends on several factors including, the type of tax owed, the date the return was filed, if the return was filed on time, whether a lien has been recorded, and several other factors. Typically, federal income taxes that are at least 3 years old and were filed on time may be subject to the bankruptcy discharge.

Can I file a Bankruptcy to keep my home from being sold at a foreclosure sale?

In most instances, yes, you can file for bankruptcy protection to save your property from a foreclosure sale.

Can I give up (surrender) my car in Bankruptcy?


Can I lower my car payments in Bankruptcy?

If a Debtor wishes to keep their car, there are options that may lower the car payments or overall out-of-pocket expenses in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy. If it has been at least 910 days (2.5 years) since a vehicle loan was made before a bankruptcy is filed, the loan balance may be able to be reduced to the current value of the vehicle. This is called a cramdown. Cramdowns depend on several factors including the date the loan was taken, the terms of the original loan, the value of the vehicle, and the prime interest rate on the date of the bankruptcy filing. If the auto loan was taken less than 910 days prior to filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, there may be other options to lower the monthly loan payment or overall out of pocket expenses.

Can I wipe out my child support arrearages by filing bankruptcy?

No, but bankruptcy may eliminate other debt, which may make catching up on past-due child support easier. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, child support arrearages are repaid over a five-year plan term while potentially repaying only a small portion of other unsecured debt.

Do I need to attend Court hearings if I file Bankruptcy?

In most cases, Debtor(s) are only required to attend one Bankruptcy hearing called a 341 Meeting of the Creditors. This meeting usually takes place between 30-60 days after a Bankruptcy is filed and is held by the Chapter 13 Trustee. Generally, no judge is present at a 341 Meeting of Creditors.

Do I need to bring anything with me to the 341 Meeting of the Creditors?

Debtors are required to bring their original Driver’s License and Social Security Card for the Trustee to verify the Debtor’s identity. In a Chapter 13 case, the first payment is also required to be brought to that meeting or submitted to the trustee prior to the meeting.

Generally, what is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, also phrased as a reorganization, is a legal process by which a Debtor can catch up on past due debts, reinstate mortgage, auto, and other secured loans, and/or if they qualify, repay a portion of their unsecured debt without the worry of losing any assets. Chapter 13 is also often an alternative bankruptcy option for a Debtor who is unable to qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. In a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Debtors are required to make monthly payments to the Chapter 13 Trustee for a period of 36-60 months. The amount of the monthly payment and number of monthly payments required depends on the Debtor’s specific circumstances.

Is Bankruptcy an option if I fall behind on my monthly mortgage, and/or homeowner’s association, and/or auto loan payments?

Bankruptcy is an excellent option for Debtors who are experiencing hardships that result in falling behind on monthly mortgage loan payment(s), homeowner’s association payments, auto loan payments and/or secured debts.

1. If a Debtor cannot afford to keep their property or does not want to keep their property, they may qualify for a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy and be able to Surrender the property and eliminate all their debts while eliminating the chance for the Bank to obtain a deficiency judgment after a foreclosure/repossession occurs. Debtors still must qualify to be able to file a Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. Debtors can also surrender their property in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.

2. If a Debtor wishes to keep their property and can afford to make payments sufficient to reinstate their loan(s) over a 60-month term, Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is a powerful tool. A Bankruptcy plan in which a mortgage is reinstated, consist of monthly mortgage payments plus the mortgage arrearage spread out over a 60-month period. Additionally, plan payments will include any other secured debt the Debtor wishes to reorganize, tax, child support arrearage, and other priority claims, trustee fees and often a pro-rata dividend to the allowed unsecured creditors.

Depending on certain factors, it may also be possible to cramdown (reduce) or entirely wipe out homeowner’s association arrearages, mortgages on investment properties, under-secured liens, certain auto loans, non-purchase money security debts, judicial liens, and various other secured debts.

What if I do not attend the 341 Meeting of the Creditors?

Unless the Debtor has extreme mitigating circumstances and has tendered their first payment to the trustee (in a Chapter 13 case), their case will likely be dismissed if they do not attend the 341 Meeting of Creditors.

What is a 341 Meeting of the Creditors?

The 341 Meeting of the Creditors takes place before the Bankruptcy Trustee and allows the Trustee and the Debtor’s Creditors the opportunity to meet with the Debtor(s) and their attorney and ask questions about the circumstances surrounding the Bankruptcy filing. Typically, if the Debtor is truthful when completing their paperwork, provides all necessary documentation to the Court, and no extenuating circumstances exist, then Creditors will rarely come to the 341 Meeting.

What is a Debtor?

A Debtor is a person or entity who owes a person or institution money. The person or institution that a Debtor owes money to is a Creditor. When you have a car loan you are the Debtor and your auto loan lender is the creditor. If you have credit card debt, mortgage debt, personal loans, or any other type of debt, even if you are current with your payments, you are a Debtor, as are more than 80% of Americans, who has a debt owed to a Creditor(s).

What will happen to my Credit Score when I file Bankruptcy?

After filing Bankruptcy, a Debtor’s Credit Score will likely decrease. Bankruptcy is a legal right to wipe the slate clean, eliminate debt, and get a fresh start on your credit. A Bankruptcy filing will start the clock ticking for removing negative items from your credit report and allow you to begin working on reestablishing good credit.

When can I apply for new Credit Cards after obtaining a Bankruptcy Discharge?

Results vary but we recommend opening a Secured Credit Card at a local Bank or Credit Union immediately after obtaining a discharge in Bankruptcy. Use it often to pay bills and make sure that the balances are paid on time. After 3-6 months, begin applying for regular unsecured Credit Cards. Using a credit card to pay normal living expenses and making payments on time will help to reestablish good credit.

When do I make payments in a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Debtor(s) must make their first payment 30 days after the Bankruptcy is filed and continue to make monthly payments until the plan is completed.


Szabo Law Group is committed to providing personalized legal help to those in need of immigration services in Ft. Lauderdale and throughout Florida and the continental US. As an immigrant from Hungary himself, our principal attorney- Aron T. Szabo- empathizes with fellow immigrants, and understands how troublesome it can be to face an unsure residency or work status. Our firm provides individualized counsel for all immigration needs. Szabo Law is a dedicated advocate for our friends and neighbors in the immigrant community.

Immigration, bankruptcy and foreclosure issues