Over 757 thousand bankruptcy petitions were filed in the United States in 2020 alone, with the majority of them being personal (non-business) filings. Many of these petitions result from job loss, medical expenses, or financial difficulties aggravated by the nationwide lockdowns following the pandemic.

If you are struggling with debt, you may be looking for options to help you get back on track financially, and may be considering if filing a Chapter 13 bankruptcy petition is right for you. Our bankruptcy law firm assists countless clients in the same situation. Here are some basics about Chapter 13 as well as common mistakes to avoid

There are many mistakes that must be avoided by debtors filing for Chapter 13, but the top 3 worst mistakes are without a doubt, missing payments, collecting new debt and hiding assets. Filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy is not something to be taken lightly. Missing a Chapter 13 payment can quickly result in undue headaches such as creditors obtaining permission to foreclose on your house or repossess your vehicle. It is best to avoid missing a payment, and if you do, you need to make up for it as soon as possible.

Collecting new debts shortly before filing for Chapter 13 is usually frowned upon by the courts, and may result in the court denying your bankruptcy filing or not allowing the newly-accrued debt to be discharged. If your bankruptcy filing is approved, you may find yourself paying both the new debt as well as your bankruptcy payments, on top of all your regular living expenses. Last, there is no reason to hide any assets when filing for Chapter 13.

Not only is it considered legal deception, but it can also hurt your chances of having your case accepted by the court. It is also unnecessary, because the objective of using Chapter 13 is to protect your assets from creditors – trying to hide them or transfer them to family and friends may be considered fraud and will only harm your case, possibly even costing you a discharge.


Filing for bankruptcy is a serious step and should only be considered after you have exhausted all other avenues and still find yourself buried in unmanageable debt. If bankruptcy is your last resort, recruiting the help of a seasoned bankruptcy attorney is fundamental. While you are legally allowed to file for bankruptcy without an attorney, you might be harming your chances of successfully receiving approval for a payment plan, and it may end up costing you more in the long run.

Not only can an attorney help you navigate important decisions (such as ‘should you file for Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?’), but they can also be instrumental throughout the process by carrying out tasks such as applying the means test, valuing your property, applying exemption rules and determining which debts will be eliminated (discharged) and which will remain.

Statistically speaking, less than 2% of Chapter 13 filers who represented themselves were able to secure a payment plan, according to a report by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California (the busiest bankruptcy court in the country)–represented filers were 23 times more likely to have their Chapter 13 plan confirmed! If you are considering filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the attorneys at Israel & Gerity, PLLC, are here to assist you. Contact us for a free consultation to learn more.