You must be (1) an individual with (2) regular income and you or your spouse's debts are (3) below the applicable ceiling.
(1) You must be an individual. You and your spouse may file a joint Chapter 13 Bankruptcy petition. However, business entities like corporation, limited liability company, partnership cannot file for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy protection. Moreover, Stockbroker and Commodity Brokers are excluded from filing Chapter 13 Bankruptcy.
(2) Income can be from any source as long as it is sufficiently stable and regular in order to make the Chapter 13 Plan payments. Income need not come from wages, it could be income from self-employment, social security, pension, child support, alimony, unemployment benefits, royalties, rents, etc.
(3) As of April 1, 2016 the debt ceiling has increased to
$394,725 for unsecured debts
$1,184,200 for secured debts.
The debt limit will adjust again in 3 years.
The debt limit does NOT apply to debts that are unliquidated or contingent.
Unsecured portion of an undersecured debt counts toward Chapter 13 Bankruptcy eligibility. For example, if you own a car that is worth $10,000 but you owe the car lender $15,000, $5,000 counts towards the unsecured debt ceiling and $10,000 towards the secured debt ceiling. It does not matter if debtor initiated a lien avoidance or claim bifurcation proceedings. This is not so black and white when dealing with the first mortgage on your residence because bankruptcy courts throughout the nation are divided on whether to apply such division.
If you have a credit card company that sued you, received a judgment, and filed a lien on your house, the credit card debt is transformed from an unsecured debt to a secured debt. Some issue with tax debts and tax liens.
Additional requirement is that you must be current on your income tax filing with the Internal Revenue Service or IRS and Franchise Tax Board or other state tax return. These rules applies to ALL bankruptcy courts, including Sacramento Bankruptcy Court and Modesto Bankruptcy Court.
Call Sacramento Bankruptcy Attorney Muoi Chea with additional Offices in Stockton and Fairfield, CA.