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People find themselves in financial trouble for a variety of reasons. Maybe they got in over their heads. Perhaps they lost a job or had an unexpected illness take away their ability to make payments regularly. Whatever the reason, feeling overwhelmed by debt can be miserable. If that sounds like you, you may have pondered the idea of filing for bankruptcy. Bankruptcies used to have a negative stigma but these days it’s just another way to help you get a fresh start.

So how do you know if you’re eligible to file for a Chapter 13 bankruptcy? Here are some of the basic requirements:

  • You are an individual and not a business.
  • You haven’t filed for Chapter 7 in the previous four years or Chapter 13 in the last two years.
  • You have completed a credit counseling course and have the certificate to prove it.
  • Your debts are reasonable. By that, the courts mean unsecured debts of less than $336,900 and under $1,010,650 for secured debts.
  • You have filed tax returns for the last four years.
  • You have a plan to pay off some debts completely and others at least partially.
  • You have enough money coming in to pay down some of your debts and still take care of your normal expenses.

Even if you don’t meet these requirements, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy may still be available to you. If you have questions or concerns about filing, you may want to sit down with an experienced bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options.