Yes. According to U.S. Bankruptcy Court records, during the past two years the number of successful Wyoming chapter 13 cases filed without a lawyer was exactly zero. Chapter 13 cases are more complicated than chapter 7 and accounted for just over 10 percent of all bankruptcy cases filed in Wyoming during the past two years.
Even if you have a lawyer, chapter 13 is no walk in the park. For Wyoming cases filed with a lawyer between January 2014 and July 2015, there were 75 confirmed chapter 13 plans out of 130 cases, or 58%. These confirmed plan cases may still be dismissed, however, if the debtors fail to make all of their monthly payments over the respective plan periods (three to five years).
Chapter 13 may make sense for a debtor who has higher than median income (and is thus ineligible for chapter 7) or for a below median income debtor who wants to keep his house but is months behind on mortgage or car payments. Chapter 13 lets a debtor make up past due mortgage (or vehicle) payments over time, whereas chapter 7 does not. For example, if a debtor is three months behind on car payments and then files chapter 7, the debtor loses the car, but in a 13 the debtor can keep it (so long as all payments are made).
Chapter 13 also brings the interest rates on outstanding credit card balances down to zero. If the debtors cannot afford more and have few assets, the bankruptcy court may approve a chapter 13 plan that proposes to pay the credit card companies as little as 5 cents on the dollar. That’s a pretty good deal for the debtors.
© 2015 Clark Stith
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