Forum Rules (Everyone Must Read!!!) (updated: 04/28/2015)

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Filing for Chapter 13

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  • Filing for Chapter 13

    So I have a few things I need clarifications on. I apologize on my grammar in advance. First thing is on Travel Pay Per Diem. I am filling for Chapter 13 because I made 79k this year. But I am also being told that I am going to have to include my Per Diem which if they try to take that then I wont have any where to stay Sunday through Thursday night every week for work. I would out of town Monday through Friday and I get per diem for lodging and meals. But now they are saying they are trying to include that in my means test, which means that if they do then how am I going to pay for my hotel and food every week.
    Second, I have 2 car payments. One is my name only and only 363 a month (16000 left on car), then the second has my name and my girlfriends name on it and is only 340 a month (16500 left on car). I was told by two different bankruptcy lawyers two different things. One said that I can only have one car note while doing a chapter 13 bankruptcy and the other said I could have both. So which is it and please explain if I can have both if they are separate from the repayment plan or if they are included in the repayment plan.
    I'm just a little confused on how this is all working I guess and feel kind of stupid asking the lawyers to explain it to me all over again. But if I read it I can depict it a lot easier to what it means.
    Also I do not own a home only rent and owe about 45k to 50k in debt
    Thank you in advance.

  • #2
    I had this exact issue. You have to appease the Trustee somehow, but it's easy to explain, for meals, that meals cost more on the road. What I did was backed out "some" of the meals but I also added the 5% Additional food and clothing expense and made a note that my food expense exceeded the normal allowances because I traveled. The Trustee was then okay with what I did. Be very careful and don't back out your entire allowance for a single person. I based mine on the allowance, not on what I was receiving in the per diem.

    As for two cars, it really depends. You can only have as many vehicles (generally) as drivers in your immediate family but the Means Test was clearly designed for 2 cars (I had four cars but one was for my mom and one for stepson). It could be difficult to prove that paying for a girlsfriend's car is necessary for your rehabilitation in a Chapter 13. Remember, they're trying to save you from debt!

    In Chapter 13, you technically can keep anything you want so long as you can afford it, and so long as the unsecured creditors get as much as they would have received in a liquidation (Chapter 7). Keeping things that you simply can't afford is always a bad idea anyhow, but a Chapter 13, so long as it is feasible and meets that best interest of creditors (Chapter 7 liquidation) test, then you can keep whatever you want. If it's really your girlfriend's car and you have no economic interest (you only cosigned), then she can continue to pay and "you" technically keep the car. However, you won't be able to include any car payments as an expense in your Chapter 13 (unless you pay the unsecured creditors at least as much as the value of the car... $16000... over the life of the plan).

    What do you intend to do? Are you the person that makes the payments for the second car?
    Chapter 7 (No Asset/Non-Consumer) Filed (Pro Se) 7/08 (converted from Chapter 13 - 2/10)
    Status: (Auto) Discharged and Closed! 5/10
    Visit My BKForum Blog: justbroke's Blog

    I am not an attorney. Any advice provided is not legal advice.


    • #3
      So the only reason you are filing a Ch 13 is due to not being able to pass the means test? And you only have 40 to 50K of debt? This doesn't seem worth spending 5 years in a Ch 13. You need to figure out how to pass the means test or an alternative to filing. I made more than that when I filed pro se and I passed the means test. I did have child support payments and live in an expensive state which helped. Also having a high car payment and high medical insurance and taxes all factored into it. Take a good look at that means test and do some more planning.


      • #4
        I agree that the OP should make sure he can't pass the means test. Don't accept "you make to much money" as an answer unless an attorney has looked at all of your living expenses first. That said, median income for one person in Florida, where the OP lives according to his profile, is $45,703. With $79K in income, plus a per diem, the means test may be hard to pass, especially for a renter.

        Paying $40K at 10% interest in 5 years would require monthly payments of abut $850. That is a lot, even if you make $79K a year. I bet the interest rates are higher than 10%.

        If you are behind on car payments at the time you file, the payments for that car will be part of the payment plan. Otherwise, whether the car payments are part of the payment plan or paid directly by you will vary by plan. It shouldn't make any financial difference because if you pay directly, then that is an expense when calculating your disposable income, making your plan payment lower than if the payment is included in the plan. While you may not be able to include both car payments to pass the Chap 7 means test, I've always thought that in a Chap 13, you are allowed to pay on all secured debt if you are keeping the collateral and, as JB points out, the unsecured creditor gets paid at least what they would if your non-exempt assets were liquidated in a Chap 7. But, this is not the first time I've heard of attorneys telling somebody they couldn't continue to pay on a secured debt. I would tell both attorneys that you have gotten conflicting opinions and ask for clarification.

        Don't feel stupid for asking attorneys to clarify and explain what they told you. If you get conflicting advice from two attorneys to whom you've given the same information, try consulting with another attorney or two.
        LadyInTheRed is in the black!
        Filed Chap 13 April 2010. Discharged May 2015.
        $143,000 in debt discharged for $36,500, including attorneys fees. Money well spent!


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