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Does Chapter 13 discharge your debts?

Many people in Missouri struggle with debt. Mortgages, credit card bills, medical bills and other forms of debt can pile up and gather interest quickly, overwhelming your ability to pay them off. Once you're overwhelmed by debt, it can be nearly impossible to get out of it without seeking help from a debt relief professional.

Two of the most powerful ways to get out of debt are Chapter 7 and Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Of these two, Chapter 7 is the most common, the fastest and the farthest-reaching way to eliminate most types of debt. However, Chapter 13 can be a good choice for many people who have a steady income, but whose debts have got out of their control.

Essentially, Chapter 13 is a repayment plan. When you file for Chapter 13, you are protected from harassment by your creditors as you come up with a plan to repay your debts. Working with a lawyer and the bankruptcy court, you can develop a plan to pay off your creditors over 3-5 years. If you meet all your monthly payments during that time, the court will discharge most or all of your remaining debts at the end of the repayment period.

It's important to note that there are many hurdles to get over before you get to that point. First, you must qualify for Chapter 13. Next, you must spend time creating your reorganization and repayment plan, and the court must approve it. After that, of course, you will have to keep up with your payments. You will not be able to incur more debt during your repayment period, so you will not be able to take out a new loan for a car, a house or education.

However, many people are able to work with these requirements and restrictions and then see their remaining debt discharged at the end of the repayment period.

If you are feeling overwhelmed by your debt, talk to a lawyer with experience in personal bankruptcy about your options for debt relief.

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