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Requirements to file for Chapter 13 bankruptcy

If you're thinking about filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy, it's important to first look at the base requirements to see if you're eligible. A few key points are noted below:

1. You can't file for Chapter 13 as a business. You must be an individual. Married couples can also file. Businesses do have bankruptcy options, like Chapter 11, but they cannot use Chapter 13.

2. It must have been at least 180 days since a dismissed case. This is to keep people from filing over and over in a short time period. If your last case was thrown out, you must wait about six months to file again.

3. In Chapter 13 cases, you will be told to go to credit counseling first. You need to do this and provide proof no more than 15 days after filing.

4. Your debt level can't be too high. The level changes every three years, so make sure that you always check to see where it's currently set. Right now, though, you must have under $336,900 in unsecured debt and under $1,010,650 when looking at secured debt.

5. You can't file if you have neglected to file income tax returns. You'll have to show proof of your returns for the previous four years.

6. Finally, you need to have an income that will make a repayment plan possible. The whole idea of Chapter 13 is that you'll get an affordable plan to pay down the debt.

These are some of the key qualifications, but this list is not exhaustive, so be sure you look into all of the legal steps you need to take before filing in New Jersey.

Source: FindLaw, "Who Can File for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?," accessed April 15, 2016

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