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How long does it take to pay off a Chapter 13 bankruptcy?

Filing for bankruptcy carries a popular stigma that the filer was irresponsible with his or her finances. For this reason, many people do not want to be in bankruptcy any longer than they have to. Once bankruptcy is over with, they want to rebuild their credit as soon as possible. Anyone in Georgia who is considering filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy should have a good idea of how long they will need to take to pay off their debts. gives a general time period of three to five years for paying off Chapter 13. The actual time period for paying off your debts will be determined by the current state of your assets and income as well as your regular expenses per month. You will not be paying off all your debt, only a certain amount determined by your financial status. Once an amount is determined, you will then make payments on a regular timetable until the amount is paid.

At times, people experience a drastic change in their finances, perhaps due to a job promotion, being hired for a new job, gaining an inheritance or receiving a substantial financial gift. After a sudden infusion of cash, some people may want to pay off their debts early and get out of bankruptcy as soon as possible. However, doing so can cause problems.

Remember that you are paying off a portion of what you owe your creditors, with the remaining amount to be discharged at the end of the bankruptcy. But if you are in the middle of your bankruptcy, you have not formally discharged your remaining debt. That means to get out of bankruptcy early, your creditors will likely insist on the full debt before your obligation is concluded, which means you may end up paying more than your original payment schedule had dictated.

It is possible that your local bankruptcy law does permit lump sum payments of your debt while also allowing a discharge of a part of the debt. However, this will require your attorney or your bankruptcy trustee to research the law to find out. If you are not allowed to retain your discharge, it is likely better to maintain your Chapter 13 payments until you have completed the payment schedule.

This article is intended to inform readers about Chapter 13 bankruptcy and is not to be taken as legal advice.