Chapter 7 or Chapter 13?


Your eligibility to file either a Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 is determined by your family's income, assets and family size. 

  • A filing under Chapter 7 customarily occurs if your family's income is below the median (average) income for your family size. Once you are under this threshold, your debt (and that of your spouse, if filed jointly) will be discharged
  • A filing under Chapter 13 typically occurs when your family's income exceeds the median income for your family size. 

See below for the most frequently asked questions. Then call or email schedule a free consultation to discuss your unique situation. 


Chapter 7: Frequently Asked Questions

Is this private?

Yes. Your bankruptcy status will not be published in the local paper or posted freely online. 

What happens to my Credit Score?

Most individuals considering filing for bankruptcy are facing maxed our credit cards and collections. Bankruptcy provides a fresh start! A discharge erases credit card balances, store cards and medical bills!

Within a year of discharge, and with good financial management, your credit score will be better than before you filed!

Will I lose everything?

There is zero truth that you will automatically lose your home or car. The average consumer retains his/her home, car and other possessions. We will discuss how to "exempt" (protect) your assets.

Can I discharge Student Loans?

Unfortunately, the vast majority of Student Loans are not dischargeable through bankruptcy. 

Visit to review the requirements for loan forgiveness and income based repayment options. 

When is my hearing?

Your hearing, formally known as a Meeting of Creditors, will be scheduled four (4) to six (6) weeks from the date we filed your Petition. While the term Meeting of Creditors sounds foreboding, you will be accompanied by Attorney Bach and the vast majority of hearings are not attended by any creditors. 


Your discharge from bankruptcy will occur on or about 60 days from the date of your Meeting of Creditors. 

Chapter 7 Forms

Is your spouse unable to attend the meeting? Have him/her review the Client Authorization form to allow you to act on their behalf. 

Chapter 13: Overview


When filing under Chapter 13, individuals make monthly interest free payments to a Trustee over three to five years to repay some or all of your debt. The amount of your repayment is based on your unique situation and financial ability.

Filing a Chapter 13 also allows families to save their home from foreclosure or vehicles from repossession. 

Chapter 13: Frequently Asked Questions

How do I monitor my Chapter 13 payments?

Please visit Select Charles DeHart. You can access only your case by entering your case number (Example:(yy-nnnnn)) as the user id & the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number as your password. 

Where should I mail my Chapter 13 payments?

Please mail Chapter 13 payments to:
Charles J. DeHart, III, Trustee
P.O. Box 7005
Lancaster, PA 17604  

Or pay electronically

I have not yet received a letter from the Chapter 13 Trustee, what should I do?

See below to download your case instructions from the Chapter 13 Trustee, Charles J. DeHart, III. 

I was not in arrears when I filed my case, why does my plan include a past due payment?

Depending on when your case is filed, your mortgage company and auto lien holder will file a Proof of Claim that factors in all payments up to the filing date. If they did not yet receive this month’s payment they will include an arrearage amount that must be factored in your chapter 13 plan. 


Congratulations! You've received your Discharge

Discharge from bankruptcy

After receiving your Order of Discharge, safeguard it as you would any other important document. 

  • Approximately 30 to 60 days after discharge, review your credit report. You can obtain a free copy of your credit report by visiting We suggest reviewing ONE report every four months to ensure your accounts are being properly recorded as discharged in bankruptcy. 

  • If you determine an account that should have been discharged still reflects a balance or marked as “in collection” etc. please initiate a Dispute. You can do so online via all three Bureaus (TransUnion, Experian and Equifax).  

Are you receiving letters from discharged creditors?


If a home or vehicle was surrendered in bankruptcy, you will continue to receive Notices regarding the disposition of the loan and/or physical property until the matter is concluded. While your financial obligation has ended, it may take time to finalize the surrender. 

If it's been longer than 60 days and you continue to receive credit card statements from store cards and/or medical bills. 

  1. Mail a copy of your Order of Discharge to the creditor
  2. Check your credit report to ensure this credit line was properly closed
  3. Contact our office so we can provide the you with a plan of action to deal with this creditor

My Credit Score


Contrary to popular belief, your credit score increases after discharge. 

Approximately thirty percent (30%) of your credit score is is determined by the amount of debt and utilization of credit lines. Upon discharge, your balances (minus Court obligations and Student Loans) are zeroed out and this percentage drops to zero!

You can monitor your credit score using various free and paid subscriptions. Keep in mind different lenders use different scoring models to determine your eligibility and interest rates.  

To keep your score trending upward:

  1. Pay your bills on time.  
  2. Spend no more than 30% of your credit limit
  3. Monitor your credit report