Filing for bankruptcy is a dark time in anyone's life, especially in the case of filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Chapter 13 is a process that takes three to five years to get through, and during that time you'll be forced to seriously reconsider how you handle your finances. That being said, there are some things you should know that can help you manage the proceedings as easily as possible, such as the following tips:
Understand Your Payment Plan And Live Within Your Budget
One of the biggest contributors to people having to file for bankruptcy is their poor use of finances. So if you've had poor financial management skills up until this point, bankruptcy can be an excellent time to get your life back on track. The reason for this is that the entirety of Chapter 13 revolves around reliably paying your scheduled payments on time.
Your payments, and whether or not you'll be able to afford them, are entirely dependent on your disposable income. Remember, you'll still have to pay for basic living expenses on your own, so treat your payments as just another one of these basic expenses. That way the money will be set aside each month and you won't be scraping money together when due dates come.
Of course, this can also make or break your ability to file for Chapter 13. Realize that this is a long-term commitment, so if your budget can't realistically handle the strain of payments then you should probably seek other options.
Stay in Constant Contact with the People Involved
Even if you already have been approved for a Chapter 13 plan you really shouldn't just throw caution to the wind and assume everything will be smooth sailing. A lot can happen in a few years and being in the know can help protect you from the unexpected. As such, that makes it a good idea to not ignore any mail or phone calls you may get that are related to your case.
Of course, this also means that it is an excellent idea to keep a file of any related documents and information you have on your case. This can help shield you from sudden changes in your case or show proof of claim in case one of your creditors decides to try to contest the issue.
It's also important to make sure your creditors know you have filed for Chapter 13 as this can get them off your back and stop unwanted collection calls or letters.
So hopefully, with a little foresight, you can make it through what is arguably one of the hardest financial decisions you could ever make.