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Filing for Chapter 13 Bankruptcy in Michigan

Starting Fresh with a Payment Plan

Chapter 13 of the U.S. bankruptcy code allows those going through financial hardship a road out by offering a payment plan over a period of three to five years. If you are struggling to cope or getting behind on your debt repayments and bills, bankruptcy can help you start over with a fresh outlook on your life and finances.

Very often a person is looking for a debt relief solution due to circumstances beyond their control - such as job loss, medical conditions, divorce, or the death of a spouse. While there are many alternatives to bankruptcy and it is not the best solution for everyone, learning more about the bankruptcy process from an experienced Michigan attorney can help you decide if a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is the smartest resolution for your specific situation.

Find out if filing for chapter 13 is the right answer to your financial issues. Reach out to Hensel Law Office, PLLC today at (888) 258-0651 to get started.

What is a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Chapter 13 bankruptcy, also known as a wage earner's plan or reorganization bankruptcy, allows debtors with a regular income to propose a 3 to 5 year repayment plan for all or part of their debts. Filing for chapter 13 can help debtors save their home from foreclosure, make up missed car payments to prevent a vehicle repossession, and more.

The amount to be repaid to creditors is determined as part of Michigan's Means Test. As long as the debtor can continue making payments under the repayment plan, any remaining dischargeable debt is discharged once the plan completes in 3 to 5 years.

Can I Keep My Assets in Chapter 13 Bankruptcy?

Unlike Chapter 7 where your non-exempt property may be liquidated, in a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, you keep your assets while a percentage of your future income goes towards paying off creditors in one combined payment. Your attorney works with you on your three to five-year plan, and then at a confirmation hearing, the court either approves or disapproves of the plan. The payment amount and time period depends on factors such as your income, property value, and your expenses.

Your payments will be made via a trustee who will oversee your bankruptcy case. In most cases, the trustee will allow you to set up an automatic bank draft from your bank account. Chapter 13 trustees do not check your monthly expenses or your expenditures that you make during your plan. This information would have already been noted at the time of filing, and the trustee can assume that these expenses will remain roughly the same unless you change your schedule.

Another added benefit to filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy is that many clients will experience relief from creditors contacting them regarding collection on a debt, as they will be barred from doing so. For many, this frees them from any sort of stress from creditor harassment and allows them the peace to think clearly about their lives again.

How is My Chapter 13 Payment Plan Calculated?

The amount of your plan payment during a Chapter 13 bankruptcy is dependent on several factors, including:

  • Your income
  • Your essential expenses and disposable income
  • Your debts
  • Where you live and own property

In determining the disposable income you have to pay off your debts, you will be able to deduct essential expenses for items such as:

  • Food
  • Housing
  • Utilities
  • Clothing
  • Taxes
  • Alimony and child support
  • Some education costs
  • Childcare
  • Healthcare

If your income is below Michigan's state median for your household size, you will not be required to calculate your monthly disposable income. Instead, you will create a repayment plan based on your budget.

Benefits of Filing Chapter 13 vs. Chapter 7

In addition to keeping your non-exempt property, Chapter 13 does have a number of benefits over Chapter 7.

If you have any personal loans with co-debtors, such as co-signers, creditors can typically seek to collect payments from them during a Chapter 7 bankruptcy. However, any co-debtors are protected from these collection efforts if you file for Chapter 13.

Additionally, while child and spousal support obligations cannot be fully discharged in any form of bankruptcy, they can be a part of the three to five-year plan with a Chapter 13 filing. This means you can pay these debts off over the duration of the plan.

Speak to a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Attorney in Michigan

Here at Hensel Law Office, PLLC, I understand that struggling with your finances can be very stressful. I handle every aspect of your case, rather than ushering you through an assembly line of different attorneys for each phase of the process. You won't have to worry about having to tell your story to a multitude of legal professionals. I believe in treating every client with personal, individualized attention and care, using my knowledge and experience to help you take the necessary steps to get back on your feet.

My bankruptcy firm serves clients in Sterling Heights, Warren and various other parts of Michigan. Call (888) 258-0651 now to get started.

Client Testimonials

  • He always responded quickly and intelligently.

    “Mr. Hensel made a difficult and uncomfortable situation as easy as possible for me. He always responded quickly and intelligently to my questions and never made me feel as if I were bothering him. He explained the unknown aspects of bankruptcy, the court system, and my options in clearly understandable terms. I felt confident that he was handling my case in the best possible manner and in my best possible interests. I feel lucky to have found the Hensel Law Office and I never hesitate to refer others who could use assistance - because I know they will get superior service and help.”


  • Sincerest thanks for all of your help in affording me what I consider a real "fresh start."

    “I wanted to give you my sincerest thanks for all of your help in affording me what I consider a real "fresh start". My divorce was unfortunate but definitely a needed change for the better. However, the financial side of things still seemed to keep that past linked, which makes this an enormous weight lifted. I just can't believe the impact it's made on my outlook with...everything.I will be sure to keep your business cards handy to distribute along with highly favorable words of recommendation should the needs arise.Thank you again for your time and professional guidance.”


  • Tom Hensel is definitely the right attorney to call!

    “I was referred to Tom Hensel by a friend. My first impression was not only was Tom professional but he's so kind and caring too. He helped my husband and I through an embarrassing, scary situation and definitely made it more positive one. He guided us through our options and helped us make the right decision for us which ended up being a chapter 7 bankruptcy. Tom was so knowledgeable and helped us throughout the whole process. He never once made us feel uncomfortable or dumb when we had questions. He was also very easy to get a hold of when questions would come up and would always return our calls and emails promptly. I strongly recommend Tom to anyone going through this kind of financial nightmare. Do yourselves a favor and call him right away. He will help you get on the right path again. Our only mistake was waiting so long to call him!! When we in court waiting our turn all the other attorneys referred to their clients as "The debtors" Tom on the other hand acknowledged us by our names. Little things mean a lot and that left a lasting impression with us. Tom Thank You again for all your help!!”

    Stacy S.

  • His knowledge and expertise made a very difficult time in our lives much easier.

    “From start to finish our experience with Mr. Hensel was great. He carefully and thoroughly explained the entire process to us and was always available for any questions or concerns we had. His knowledge and expertise made a very difficult time in our lives much easier. We are very thankful for his help in our situation.”

    Christine and John

  • Tom was the most professional.

    “I researched 3 attorneys before signing with the Hensel Law Office for my bankruptcy proceedings. Tom was the most professional and he explained all of my questions without trying to make a quick buck on me. I would recommend Hensel Law Office to my friends or family going through a similar difficult situation.”