Facing immense debt can leave anyone feeling frustrated and unsure of their financial future. This is true whether you live here in Milwaukee or elsewhere in Wisconsin. There are options though to escape the burden of debt. A person simply needs to know what these options are and who to turn to for help.

One option certain Wisconsin residents may have is filing for Chapter 13 bankruptcy. Oftentimes referred to as the wage earner’s plan, Chapter 13 allows an individual to repay back their debt over the course of three to five years. Though the discharging of debts does not work the same way as Chapter 7 bankruptcy, Chapter 13 does offer debtors the chance to prevent repossession of property and even foreclosure on their home, which are not options generally provided to Chapter 7 filers.

So who is eligible for Chapter 13 here in Wisconsin?

According to federal law, anyone who is currently receiving a steady income, has less than $383,175 in unsecured debts, and has less than $1,149,525 in secured debts is eligible for Chapter 13 relief. It’s important to note, however, that these amounts do fluctuate depending on the consumer price index. Debtors are encouraged to stay up to date on these amounts so that they know whether they are eligible for relief or not during a specific year.

It’s also important to note that not everyone will be eligible for Chapter 13 relief. For example, partnerships and corporations are not eligible and must instead find alternate debt relief options. Also, people who have previously filed for bankruptcy within 180 days are not eligible for a repayment plan under Chapter 13.

Because of the eligibility requirements, and because of the complexity of the law, debtors in Milwaukee and across Wisconsin are encouraged to obtain legal counsel before filing for any form of bankruptcy. With a lawyer’s help, debtors can avoid making mistakes on their bankruptcy petition that could cost them their chance at relieving their debt burden.