Myths and Truths About Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, Part III
Myth:  A debtor can only file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if they are trying to save a house from foreclosure or a car from repossession.
Truth:  There are several reasons why a person may file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  One reason is the debtor is over median.  There is a median income that is determined for each state depending on the household size.  If a debtor’s income is more than the median income, the debtor may be required to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy instead of Chapter 7.  The debtor would then pay back a certain amount to their unsecured creditors based on the disposable monthly income in the means test. 
A debtor may also need to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy if they have equity in their property.  This is referred to as the liquidation analysis.  If a debtor has unexempt equity, they may want to file a Chapter 13 and pay back their unsecured creditors an amount equal to their unexempt equity.  For example, if a debtor has a vehicle worth $10,000 without a loan against it and $3,000 is exempt under the vehicle exemption and $500 under the wildcard exemption in Missouri, there is $6,500 in unexempt equity.  In a Chapter 7, the trustee would be able to take the car and sell it to pay $6,500 to unsecured creditors.  The other option through a Chapter 13 is to pay the $6,500 to unsecured creditors.  In return, the trustee will allow the debtor to retain their property and keep the equity.  If the debtor is under median, they would pay back $6,500 to unsecured creditors, and the rest would be discharged.
Another reason to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy would be if the debtor is not eligible to file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy.  A person can only file a Chapter 7 bankruptcy every eight years, but they can file a Chapter 13 six years after filing a Chapter 7.  If they are being pursued by creditors, the Chapter 13 may be their best option if a Chapter 7 may not be completed at that time.
As you can see, there are many reasons for debtors to file a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.  If you would like more information about this, please contact a St. Louis or St. Charles bankruptcy attorney.