Any individual, even if self-employed or operating an unincorporated business, is eligible for chapter 13 relief as long as the individual's unsecured debts are less than $336,900 and secured debts are less than $1,010,650. 11 U.S.C. § 109(e). These amounts are adjusted periodically to reflect changes in the consumer price index. A corporation or partnership may not be a chapter 13 debtor. Id.
An individual cannot file under chapter 13 or any other chapter if, during the preceding 180 days, a prior bankruptcy petition was dismissed due to the debtor's willful failure to appear before the court or comply with orders of the court or was voluntarily dismissed after creditors sought relief from the bankruptcy court to recover property upon which they hold liens. 11 U.S.C. §§ 109(g), 362(d) and (e). In addition, no individual may be a debtor under chapter 13 or any chapter of the Bankruptcy Code unless he or she has, within 180 days before filing, received credit counseling from an approved credit counseling agency either in an individual or group briefing. 11 U.S.C. §§ 109, 111. There are exceptions in emergency situations or where the U.S. trustee (or bankruptcy administrator) has determined that there are insufficient approved agencies to provide the required counseling. If a debt management plan is developed during required credit counseling, it must be filed with the court.
Mohammad Faruqui is an attorney in Fort Lauderdale, FL, serving consumer and corporate bankruptcy clients throughout Florida, including the Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. Mr. Faruqui is a member of the National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys and a member of the South Florida Bankruptcy Bar Association. Mr. Faruqui has been licensed to practice law in Florida since 2006, and graduated from Nova-Southeastern University Shepard Broad Law Center in 2005.
For bankruptcy matters, Mr. Faruqui can be contacted at Mohammad@Faruquilawfirm.com or at (954) 769-0745.